The accidental or hostile exposure of individuals to ionizing irradiation is of great public and military concern. Radiation sickness (acute radiation syndrome, or ARS) occurs when the body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation within a short period of time. Systemic infection is one of the serious consequences of ARS. There is a direct relation between the magnitude of radiation exposure and the risk of developing infection. The risk of systemic infection is higher whenever there is a combined injury such as burn or trauma. Ionizing radiation enhances infection by allowing translocation of oral and gastrointestinal flora, and reducing the threshold of sepsis due to endogenous and exogenous microorganisms. The potential for concomitant accidental or terrorism-related exposure to bio-terrorism agents such as anthrax and radiation also exists.

This site is made of a home page that presents new developments and updates on the management of acute radiation syndrome including concomitant exposure to radiation and anthrax. Separate pages are dedicated to the treatment modalities.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Japan lifted the 2011 evacuation of Naraha that followed the crippling of Fukushima nuclear plant

The Japanese town of Naraha has lifted a 2011 evacuation order that sent all its 7,400 residents away after the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant was crippled by a tsunami that led to a meltdown and contamination.

Naraha was the first among seven municipalities forced to evacuate because of radiation contamination after the massive earthquake and tsunami that sent the reactors into meltdown.

The government says radiation levels in town have decreased to safe levels following decontamination efforts, and lifted the four-year-old evacuation order on September 5, 2015.
The town residents remain cautious amid lingering health concerns and a lack of infrastructure. Only about 100 of the nearly 2,600 households have returned since a trial period begun in April.

The town’s residents were given personal dosimeters to check their own radiation levels. To accommodate their concerns the town is also running a 24-hour monitoring at a water filtration plant, testing tap water for radioactive materials.

Friday, January 24, 2014

U.S. Navy personal report radiation related illness after Fukushima relief mission

Immediately following the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, a relief effort by the United States Navy provided humanitarian aid to those affected. The operation called “Operation Tomodachi” evolved 70,000 Department of Defense-affiliated personnel.  Three years later, some U.S. Navy personnel claim that they are experiencing mysterious symptoms, including hemorrhaging and cancer. In some cases, their doctors cannot provide diagnoses and therefore cannot determine if the illnesses are radiation-related. The U.S. government denied that radiation has caused these illnesses.

Convinced their illnesses were caused by radiation exposure, 71 of these sailors filed a lawsuit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company ( Tepco)  which operates the Fukushima power plant. Janis Sammartino, a federal judge in San Diego, dismissed the case because lack of authority to conclude whether the government of Japan collaborated with the utility to commit fraud against the U.S. However Charles Bonner the attorney for the 51 U.S. sailors who served aboard the USS Ronald Reagan during disaster relief operations intends to refill the lawsuit. The sailors asked for the creation of a one billion dollar fund to pay for their medical exams, monitoring and treatments, as well as reimbursement of lost wages and punitive damages, among other relief. According to the lawyer, Tepco and Japanese government officials claimed there was no danger of radiation to the USS Reagan or other ships in the fleet during the mission. However, many of the sailors claimed that they were exposed to environmental radiation levels that far exceeded the permissible ones.

Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan wash down the flight deck to remove potential radiation 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The impact of radiation from the Fukushima disaster on the Pacific Ocean.

Since the 2011 nuclear disaster, Fukushima has leaked a cumulative 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium into the Pacific Ocean. It is feared that the radiation from the Fukushima disaster is spreading on to the Pacific Ocean and is carried on by the ocean currents. There also growing fear that that radiation may reach the U.S. Pacific coast. There are models that attempt to estimate the amount of radiation that may eventually spread into the Pacific Ocean.  (see map below)

It is, however, important to remember that these estimates are not substantiated and there is no proof that they are real at present.

Radioactive water to be removed from underground tunnels of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Since the outbreak of the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, leakage of radiation-contaminated water has been the major threat to Japan’s population and environment, as well as to the international community.

On December 4 2013, the International Atomic Energy Agency, recommended that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant dump the toxic water into the ocean after lowering the level of radioactive materials to below the legal limit. Meanwhile, the plant could run out of storage space for contaminated water within two years. The report suggested covering the ground with asphalt to reduce the rain inflow and building giant tanks with more capacity, as well as installing special undersea filters to reduce the radioactivity of water that leaks into the sea. Currently, 400 metric tons of highly contaminated water is being produced at the site on a daily basis, much of it later flowing to the sea.

On December 21, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO),  detected a record 1.9 million becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances at No.2 reactor, the highest since the nuclear meltdown in March 2011. This occurred after high levels of radioactive cesium were detected in deeper groundwater at the No. 4 reactor. Previously, the highest level recorded was 1.8 million becquerels at the No. 1 reactor on December 2013. It’s believed that the radioactivity in the groundwater at reactor No. 2 has been increased since November.

On December 24,  2013, TEPCO reported it had found new leaks at the No. 1 reactor that released about 225 tons of radioactive water. The water in that area contained radioactive Strontium-90, that has a half-life of 28.8 years, at a level as high as 440 becquerels per liter.  A TEPCO representative feared the water may have already seeped into the ground.

TEPCO plans to start cleaning underground tunnels that are part of the sources of radioactive materials contaminating the groundwater. It will initially block the flow of tainted water between the damaged buildings and the tunnels. After instillation of pipes drainage of the contaminated water from the tunnels will start in April 2014.

Cleanup workers in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Radiation levels spike around water storage tanks at Fukushima nuclear plant

Radiation readings around tanks holding contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have spiked by more than 20%  to their highest levels. Radiation have spread to three holding areas for hundreds of tanks that store the water that flush the three melted reactors. The tanks sit on a hill above the Pacific Ocean at the Fukushima plant.

The rising radiation levels and leaks at the plant have prompted international alarm, and the Japanese government announced on September 2nd that  it would step in with almost $500 million of funding to fix the growing levels of contaminated water at the plant.The readings just above the ground showed radiation as high as 2,200 millisieverts (mSv). The previous high in areas holding the tanks was the 1,800 mSv recorded on August 31, 2013. Both levels can kill an unprotected individual within hours.

Tanks of radiation-contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A new 300-ton water leak from Japan nuclear plan

Japan's tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has leaked this week about 300 tons of highly radioactive water from one of the hundreds of storage tanks. Four other tanks of the same design have had similar leaks since last year.

It is believed that because the tank is about 330 feet from the coastline, the leak does not pose an immediate threat to the sea. However, it is unknown if the leakage will reach the sea through a drain gutter. The leaked water seeped into the ground after escaping piles of sandbags near the concrete barrier around the tank.

The leaked water's radiation level was about 100 millisieverts / hour — the maximum cumulative exposure allowed for plant workers over five years. The leak is considered to be a level 1 incident, the second-lowest on an International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale of eight.
The plant had multiple meltdowns after the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Hundreds of tanks were constructed around the plant to store the contaminated water coming from the three melted reactors, as well as underground water running into reactor and turbine basements.

Contaminated water continues to enter the Pacific Ocean at a rate of hundreds of tons per day. Much of that is ground water that has mixed with untreated radioactive water at the plant. To reduce leaks plant workers are using measures such as building chemical underground walls along the coastline, but have made little improvement so far.

Inspection the construction of the shore barrier designed  to  stop radioactive water from leaking into the sea

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Steam rising from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan

Steam was reported today to be rising from a destroyed building that houses a reactor at Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator of the plant. The levels of radioactivity around the plant had remained unchanged and the cause that triggered the emission is investigated. It is speculated that rain made its way through the reactor building and having fallen on the primary containment vessel, which is hot, evaporated creating steam.
Each reactor is surrounded by a primary containment vessel. This is made of strengthened steel four to eight inches thick. It provides the most critical line of defense against leaking radiation from the reactor.

This latest incident underscores the challenges facing the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, in trying to keep the ravaged plant under control. About a week ago a significant spike in radioactive cesium was detected in groundwater 25 meters from the sea. The operator has been flushing water over the damaged reactors to keep them cool for more than two years, but contaminated water has been building up at the rate of an Olympic-size swimming pool per week.

The # 3 crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The ASCO clinical practice guideline for antimicrobial prophylaxis and outpatient management of fever and neutropenia; Use in those exposed to ionized iradiation

The American Society of Clinical Oncology published their clinical practice guideline for antimicrobial prophylaxis and outpatient management of fever and neutropenia in adults treated for malignancy. The guidelines were based on 43 studies.

These were the recommendations: Antibacterial and antifungal prophylaxis are only recommended for patients expected to have < 100 neutrophils/μL for > 7 days, unless other factors increase risks for complications or mortality to similar levels. Inpatient treatment is standard to manage febrile neutropenic episodes, although carefully selected patients may be managed as outpatients after systematic assessment beginning with a validated risk index (eg, Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer [MASCC] score or Talcott's rules). Patients with MASCC scores ≥ 21 or in Talcott group 4, and without other risk factors, can be managed safely as outpatients. Febrile neutropenic patients should receive initial doses of empirical antibacterial therapy within an hour of triage and should either be monitored for at least 4 hours to determine suitability for outpatient management or be admitted to the hospital. An oral fluoroquinolone plus amoxicillin/clavulanate (or plus clindamycin if penicillin allergic) is recommended as empiric therapy, unless fluoroquinolone prophylaxis was used before fever developed.

Even though the principles behind these guidelines are similar to the ones used for the treatment of individuals who developed neutropenia after exposure to ionized radiation, caution should be used in implementing these guidelines for those who were irradiated. There is a risk in using antimicrobials effective against anaerobic bacteria (amoxicillin/clavulanate or clindamycin) in individuals exposed to ionizing radiation as studies in rodents illustrated the developmentof early sepsis in those treated with such agents. 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Nuclear Storage Tank In Washington StateIs Leaking Radioactive Waste

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state reported on February 15 that a tank storing radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is leaking liquids about 150 to 300 gallons per year. The governor stressed that the leak poses no immediate public health.

The tank was built in the 1940s and holds about 447,000 gallons of sludge. The Hanford site houses 177 tanks, 149 of which are single-shell tanks. Twenty- eight of those tanks have double walls, allowing the Energy Department to pump waste from leaking single-shell tanks into them. However, there is very little space left in those double-shell tanks today. The leaking tank is believed to be the first to lose liquids since 2005.

The Hanford site is a 586-square-mile area that once played a major part in U.S. plutonium production. The federal government created Hanford at the height of the second World War in the remote sagebrush of eastern Washington State as part of a secret project to build the atomic bomb. The site ultimately produced plutonium for the world's first atomic blast and for one of two atomic bombs dropped on Japan, effectively ending the war. The site is now home to one of the largest nuclear cleanup efforts in the world.
Plutonium production continued there through the Cold War. Currently, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the US. Cleanup will cost billions of dollars and last decades.

The Hanford Storage site

Friday, January 4, 2013

Radiation exposure to workers at Fukushima

The Japanese Association for Acute Medicine Emergency Task Force on the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident recently released an article in Emergency Medicine Journal Online First describing the initial medical response. 

A total of 261 patients were seen by the Task Force, eight of whom had external radiation contamination.  Six of these were workers whose exposure doses from March 2011 to February 2012 exceeded the annual dose limit of 250 mSv. The highest external exposure recorded was 110 mSv and the highest internal exposure (probably from iodine-131) was 590 mSv. Importantly, none of the patients developed symptoms associated with acute radiation syndrome/sickness (ARS). The threshold for the hematopoietic syndrome of ARS is considered to be 1 Gy (1000 mSv equivalent).

Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant workers

Early detection of radiation exposure

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are currently working on a new way of rapidly detection of radiation exposure. They have identified eight DNA-repair genes whose expression response to radiation changes in less than half of the time that detection was possible in the past. Since many genes alter their expression after radiation exposure to both radiation and inflammation, they looked carefully to see how the genetic response varies between these two causes. They compared their findings in samples taken from patients undergoing whole-body irradiation prior to bone marrow transplantation and the results confirmed their findings. More work is needed but the chances of finding a blood test that could be rapidly administered and analyzed in the field by emergency responders are improved.  This would be particularly helpful in patients with combined injury, whose care and prognosis differs from patients receiving burns or trauma alone, particularly at higher doses.

 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  in the San Fransisco Bay area in California

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Radioactive water leakage at Japan's damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power

Japan's damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is struggling to find room to store tens of thousands of gallons of highly contaminated water used to cool the broken reactors. Large volume of radioactive water, enough to fill more than 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools, are being stored in hundreds of large tanks built around the plant.

Operator Tokyo Electric Power Company has already cut down numerous trees to make room for more tanks and predicts the volume of water will be more than triple within three years. Dumping massive amounts of water into the melting reactors was the only way to avoid an even bigger catastrophe. The measures to keep the plant under control created another major problem for the utility: What to do with all that radioactive water that leaked out of the damaged reactors and collected in the basements of reactor buildings and nearby installations.

Even though the reactors are currently being cooled only with recycled water, the volume of contaminated water is still increasing, because ground water is seeping through cracks into the reactor and turbine basements.  The Power Company is setting up a treatment system that would make the water clean enough for reuse as a coolant thus reducing health risks for workers and environmental damage. There is, however, concern hat the radioactive water in the basements may get into the underground water system, where it could reach far beyond the plant through underground water channels, possibly in the ocean or public water supplies.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A study About The Radiation Exposure After the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Disaster

The first study in Japanese that reside near the Fukushima nuclear plant damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami found low levels of radiation exposure were found. The study was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The average radiation was "well under" under 1 millisiever, considered a safe dosage.
The study was conducted between September 2011 and March 2012, and the researchers measured levels of radioactive cesium in 8,066 adults and 1,432 children in Minamisoma, about 14 miles north of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. About a-third of the residents tested - 235 children and 3,051 adults - had detectable cesium radiation.
According to Roy Shore, the chief of research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan, the expected impact of the public health impact of the accident will be lower than that of Chernobyl.
. However, the radiation had affected at least one other species: butterflies. Investigator found that three generations of pale grass blue butterflies suffered genetic mutations as a result of Fukushima fallout.
Another report found that because of discriminatory attitudes against them, Tokyo Electric Power Co. employees at the Fukushima Daiichi plant and its nearby companion, Fukushima Daini, are suffering depression and other mental illnesses two times more than other Japanese.

Fukushima nuclear power workers

World Health organization releases Fukushima radiation report

The preliminary report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) report published on May 23, 2012 stats that radiation levels in most of Japan are lower than cancer-causing levels a year following the Fukushima plant accident. While two areas close to the plant have relatively higher levels of radiation, but radiation levels in surrounding countries are almost normal.
A different finding from a UN scientific committee stated that several workers at the Fukushima plant had been "irradiated after contamination of their skin". The statement issued as interim findings by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Radiation (UNSCEAR) was that "Six workers have died since the accident but none of the deaths were linked to irradiation".
Namie town and Itate village, that are close to the Fukushima plant in eastern Japan, are currently exposed to radiation levels of 10-50 millisieverts (mSv), while the radiation levels at the rest of Fukushima are 1-10 mSv, the WHO report said. Most of Japan has levels of 0.1-1 mSv, while neighbouring countries have less than 0.01 mSv.
These findings should be assessed taking into consideration that the single-year limit for occupational exposure of workers is 50 mSv. Most individuals are exposed on average to around 2 mSv of radiation a year from the natural environment.

Airial view of the Fukushima power plant

Friday, April 6, 2012

Kelp off Southern California was contaminated with radioisotopes after Japan’s Fukushima accident

Kelp off Southern California became contaminated with short-lived radioisotopes a month after Japan’s Fukushima accident, a sign that the spilled radiation reached the state’s coastline, according to a new study.

Scientists from California State University, Long Beach tested giant kelp collected in the ocean off Orange County and other locations after the March, 2011 accident, and detected radioactive iodine, which was released from the damaged nuclear reactor. The largest concentration was about 250-fold higher than levels found in kelp before the accident. The radioactivity had no known effects on the giant kelp, or on fish and other marine life, and it was undetectable a month later.

Spread in large, dense, brown forests across the ocean off California, Macrocystis pyrifera, known as giant kelp, is the largest of all algae and grows faster than virtually any other life on Earth. It accumulates iodine so Manley realized it would be a useful dosimeter to check how far radioactive material spreads. In addition, giant kelp concentrates radioactive iodine 10,000-fold – for every one molecule in the water there would be 10,000 in its tissues.

The level of radioactive iodine found there – 2.5 becquerel per gram of dry weight -- was well above levels sampled in kelps prior to the Fukushima release, according to the paper, published this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.The scientists estimated that the entire kelp tissue on the surface at Corona del Mar contained about one millicurie.


Water containing radioactive substances leaked again from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the ocean

Water containing radioactive substances may have leaked into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on April 5, 2012. The leakage was at a pipeline carrying concentrated radioactive water from a desalination device to a storage tank. The leak was contained after 30 minutes when valves were closed.
Tokyo electric Power Company (TEPCO) estimates roughly 12 tons of contaminated water may have escaped into the ocean. High levels of cesium 134 and 137 were confirmed at the point of the leak roughly 300 yards from the ocean, but no detectable amounts of radioactive contamination have been found in the sea water.
The company will further investigate the possible spread of contamination and its potential impact in the ocean, including the existence of beta radiation that could contain harmful strontium, company spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai said.
The amount of water reportedly released was tiny compared with the amount Tepco dumped into the ocean during the early weeks of the accident. The Japanese government alarmed neighboring countries in April last year when it approved the discharge of 10,000 tons of low-level radioactive water from the plant as Tepco ran out of space to store the water used to cool reactors.
A leakage incident near the desalination facility similar to the occurring on April 5, 2012 one was also reported March 26. Such problems have cast doubts about the plant's stability long after the government declared in late December the reactors had been brought under control.

New Leak at Japan Reactor Threatens Ocean 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Reheating concern in the Fukushima reactor in Japan

Concern is growing that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is no longer stable after temperature readings indicated that one of its damaged reactors was reheating.
The temperature inside No 2 reactor may have reached 82C on today.
Tepco increased the amount of cooling water injected into the reactor along with a boric acid solution, which is used to prevent the fuel from undergoing sustained nuclear reactions.
The reheating may force the government to reverse its declaration two months ago that the crippled plant was in a safe state known as cold shutdown.
Tepco stated that the cause of the t temperature rise is unkown, and might be due to problems with the supply of coolant or a faulty thermometer.
Tepco was previously forced to inject additional cooling water into the same reactor last week after the temperature started rising.

 Fukushima reactor in Japan before the earthquack 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Probe of the radiation leak and threat of Cesium continues in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

      Japan's nuclear agency has recently ordered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant operator to explain the cause of the latest leakage of radioactive water into the ocean, and what preventive measures will be taken in the future.The new leak was discovered only after 21 hours according to TEPCO. The contaminated water contained radioactive cesium and strontium according to TEPCO.  According to the utility it will take at least two weeks to analyze the strontium level in the water.
The continued leak is of great concern as information about cesium found in baby milk powder continues to be a threat. According to experts even though the dose is small it may be necessary to ban milk products from the effected area.

Despite protest from the milk industry and milk distributors in Japan, Chiyoda-ku, one of the 23 Special Wards in Tokyo, conducted the analysis of the food served in the school lunches at elementary schools, middle schools, kindergartens and nursery schools in the ward., 17.9 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected at one private nursery school.

      Japan's nuclear agency has recently ordered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant operator to explain the cause of the latest leakage of radioactive water into the ocean, and what preventive measures will be taken in the future.The new leak was discovered only after 21 hours according to TEPCO. The contaminated water contained radioactive cesium and strontium according to TEPCO.  According to the utility it will take at least two weeks to analyze the strontium level in the water.

The continued leak is of great concern as information about cesium found in baby milk powder continues to be a threat. According to experts even though the dose is small it may be necessary to ban milk products from the effected area. The Japanese milk powder maker Meiji has recalled its baby formula after discovering radioactive cesium in the product. 

Despite protest from the milk industry and milk distributors in Japan, Chiyoda-ku, one of the 23 Special Wards in Tokyo, conducted the analysis of the food served in the school lunches at elementary schools, middle schools, kindergartens and nursery schools in the ward., 17.9 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected at one private nursery school.

The recalled baby formula

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Survey Shows Radiation Spread Over a Wide Area

The first thorough soil survey from areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant found extensive ground contamination. Another evaluation warned of the continued threat to Japan's food chain, underscoring the major challenges Japan still faces in its radioactive cleanup efforts.
Half a year after the nuclear accident, the country’s education ministry released the first comprehensive survey of soil contamination within a 62-mile radius, showing that more than 30 locations extending over a wide area have been contaminated with long-lasting radioactive cesium.
The extent of reported contamination raises concerns about how quickly can these locations can be cleaned up, and the dangers of radioactive materials spreading to a wider area through wind or rain as well as the food chain..

A worker from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency measures radiation levels in Fukushima

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wildfire surrounds the nuclear lab in Los Alamos, New Mexico

The wildfire that surrounds the nuclear lab in Los Alamos, N.M., has increased to at least 61,000 acres amid growing concerns about radiation spread from nuclear waste that is stored at the facilityty. Most of Los Alamos 12,000 residents were evacuated.
The Los Alamos facility which is the birthplace of the atomic bomb contains approximately 20,000 barrels of nuclear waste which is not contained within a concrete, brick-and-mortar-type building, but are stored in a  fabric-type building that a fire could easily consume.
The fear of radiation spread has prompted fire crews to set their own fires along the perimeter of the lab. So far, the strategy is working as the first air samples show lots of smoke, but no signs of elevated radiation.

 Los Alamos, New Mexico fire

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Attempts to prevent further explosions at Japan nuclear plants

After stopping highly radioactive water from flowing into the Pacific Ocean, workers at Japan's nuclear power complex are attempting to prevent more hydrogen explosions. Workers are cooling down the plant's reactors, which have been overheating since March 11. Because they are unable to restore normal cooling systems workers have resorted to pumping water into the reactors and letting it gush wherever it can. Technicians were expected to start pumping nitrogen into an area around one of the plant's six reactors to counteract the hydrogen. The injection could release radioactive vapor into the environment. They want to prevent hydrogen explosions at all costs because they could spew radiation and damage the reactors.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Nuclear Crisis in japan is still Unresolved

After almost three weeks after the earthquake and tsunami slammed and engulfed the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, knocking out cooling systems that keep nuclear fuel rods from overheating, Tokyo Electric Power Co. is still struggling to bring the facility under control.
Setbacks continue to occur today in the crisis over Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear facility, as nearby seawater testing are at their highest radiation levels yet.
Leaking radiation has seeped into the soil and seawater nearby and made its way into produce, raw milk and even tap water as far as Tokyo, 140 miles to the south.

A man is tested for radiation exposure

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Three of Fukushima workers sustained radiation burns

Three of the workers who ere attempting to save Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant were taken sustained radiation burns and were taken to the  hospital.  The three men suffered serious leg injuries while wading through contaminated water to lay power cables to the plant. 
Officials said the workers, two in their twenties and one in his thirties, were exposed to irradiated water in the number 3 reactor when it seeped through their protective gear, causing them to be contaminated with a level of radiation almost twice as high as the "safe" limit.  They were diagnosed as having sustained burn injuries at a
Fukushima hospital, and will be sent to the National Institute of Radiological for further treatment.  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

High radiation levels detected in spinach and milk

 Radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear complex exceeded government safety limits, as emergency teams scrambled today to restore power to the plant so it could cool dangerously overheated fuel. This was reported by AP News.
The food was taken from farms as far as 65 miles away from the stricken plants, suggesting a wide area of nuclear contamination.While the radiation levels exceeded the limits allowed by the government, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano insisted the products "pose no immediate health risk."
Firefighters also pumped water directly from the ocean into one of the most troubled areas of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex — the cooling pool for used fuel rods at the plant's Unit 3. The rods are at risk of burning up and sending radioactive material into the environment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nuclear crisis in Japan out of control

Japan's nuclear crisis appeared to be spinning out of control on Wednesday according Reuter News after workers withdrew from a damaged  power plant because of increasing radiation levels and a helicopter could not drop water on the most effected reactor.
In a sign of desperation, the police will try to cool spent nuclear fuel at one of the facility's reactors with water cannon, which is normally used to quell riots.
Early another fire broke out at the earthquake-crippled facility, which has sent low levels of radiation that drifted to Tokyo in the past 24 hours, triggering fear in the capital and international alarm.
Japan's government announced that radiation levels outside the plant were stable but, appealed to private companies to help deliver supplies to tens of thousands of people evacuated from around the complex.
About 140,000 people inside the zone have been told to stay indoors.
Workers were trying to clear debris to build a road so fire trucks could reach reactor No. 4 at the Daiichi complex in Fukushima, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo. Flames were no longer seen at the building housing the reactor.

A man is scanned for nuclear exposure close to the damaged Daiichi reactors

High radiation levels prevented a helicopter from flying to the site to drop water into the No. 3 reactor -- whose roof was damaged by an earlier explosion and where steam was seen rising earlier in the day -- to try to cool its fuel rods.
The plant operator described No. 3 as the "priority." No more information was available, but that reactor is the only one at Daiichi which uses plutonium in its fuel mix.
According to U.S. government research, plutonium is very toxic to humans and once absorbed in the bloodstream can linger for years in bone marrow or liver and can lead to cancer
The situation at No. 4 reactor, where the fire broke out, was "not so good," the plant operator added, while water was being poured into reactors No. 5 and 6, indicating the entire six-reactor facility was now at risk of overheating.
Nuclear experts said the solutions being proposed to quell radiation leaks at the complex were last-ditch efforts to stem what could well be remembered as one of the world's worst industrial disasters.
"This is a slow-moving nightmare," said Dr Thomas Neff, a physicist and uranium-industry analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At the Fukushima plant, authorities have spent days desperately trying to prevent water which is designed to cool the radioactive cores of the reactors from evaporating, which would lead to overheating and possibly a dangerous meltdown.

smoke ascends 

Smoke comes out of reactor 3 after an explosion on march 14, 2011

Until the heightened alarm about No.3 reactor, concern had centered on damage to a part of the No.4 reactor building where spent rods were being stored in pools of water, and also to part of the No.2 reactor that helps to cool and trap the majority of cesium, iodine and strontium in its water.
Japanese officials said they were talking to the U.S. military about possible help at the plant.
Concern has mounted that the skeleton crews dealing with the crisis might not be big enough or were exhausted after working for days since the earthquake damaged the facility. Authorities withdrew 750 workers on Tuesday, leaving only 50.
All those remaining were pulled out for almost an hour on Wednesday because radiation levels were too high, but they were later allowed to return.
Nuclear radiation is an especially sensitive issue for Japanese following the country's worst human catastrophe -- the U.S. atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.