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Science

Submission + - MIT Study: Prolonged Low-level Radiation Damage Heals (mit.edu)

JSBiff writes: A new study from MIT scientists suggests that the guidelines governments use to determine when to evacuate people following a nuclear accident may be too conservative.

The study, led by Bevin Engelward and Jacquelyn Yanch and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that when mice were exposed to radiation doses about 400 times greater than background levels for five weeks, no DNA damage could be detected.

Comment The Fukushima Argument (Score 1) 140

We've heard it many times since the Fukushima failure:

"Most citizens of this planet will experience, on average, less exposure to radiation, from the Fukushima facility, than they would from exposure to 1 or 2 x-ray examinations."

Of course, during an x-ray examination there exists no chance of sucking down a radioactive isotope of cesium- of which Fukushima released, into the atmosphere, a volume on the order of peta becquerels. Little research exists examining the long term effects of low dose internal radiation exposure - the type of exposure that results from the inhalation or ingestion of a radioactive isotope. Radioactive isotopes circulated systemically through the body will continue to release alpha,beta, and gamma radiation directly to internal organs. This presents an obvious contradiction to calculations of external dose to which the internal organs are shielded by clothes and skin.

Comment Re:Nuclear "civil" industry (Score 2) 113

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not very good models to use when comparing to a BWR meltdown. The physics of the contamination dispersion are completely different. Much of the fallout from an atomic bomb is mixed with soil substrates and falls-out relatively close to the bomb impact - leading to a smaller contamination area. In the case of BWR meltdowns, in contrast to an atomic warhead, a much larger portion of deposition takes place 10's,190's and even 1000's of miles from the accident as the contaminates are released as vapors and carried readily in atmospheric jet streams. As for predicting the number of cancers from chernobyl, hiroshima, nagasaki etc, the real tragedy lies in the fact that we do not accurately record the actions of individuals following the event - because exposure boils down to an individuals personal behaviors. It would be like asking all the inhabitants of Northern Japan how much milk they have consumed since Fukushima failure - or more specifically how much milk was consumed, and where was the milk from, between march 11-13, 14,16, 23-24 etc. Without such detailed information we cannot accurately project any one individuals personal risk.

Comment Re:Surprising? Not Really... (Score 1) 113

I can't be sure what the biological consequences result from radon inhalation or ingestion. I'm fairly certain US GO's maintain that radon has negligible effects on the human body. It has been shown that even minuscule amounts (maybe even a few atoms) of plutonium inhaled, or ingested, and bound in a particularly vulnerable location within the body can have dire biological consequences.

Comment Re:They should have worked out... (Score 1) 113

Unlimited time and funding would not fix the inherent flaws in statistical modelling. The fact remains, we do not know what we don't know and we can not predict the future - no matter how many variables your model accepts. Lets not forget that a Core melt, not to mention a melt-through, were perceived as a physical impossibility by just about every engineer in the Nuc Eng field. The undeniable lesson here is you don't build shit that can, if things go wrong, destroy the Earth.

Comment Surprising? Not Really... (Score 1) 113

I suspect if Engineers could think of everything we wouldn't build BWRs in the first place. Engineers do not know what they don't know - but most think they know everything. The problem arises when we base critical decisions on complex models and algorithms - which obviously do not and can not account for the unknown. Does it surprise anyone that information has and continues to be withheld? At the time of the accident essential data and information was extensively withheld from the organizations and individuals who needed it the most. In fact, There exists mountains of data and reports that remain undisclosed. For Example, I just came across an Atmospheric Model, of plutonium dispersion, utilizing recently leaked Tepco estimates of total Plutonium and Neptunium vaporization: http://www.datapoke.org/blog/89/study-modeling-fukushima-npp-p-239-and-np-239-atmospheric-dispersion/ http://datapoke.org/partmom/a=114 If this model is accurate, it is very disturbing as it indicates plutonium has been dispersed across the Northern Hemisphere... -P&D

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