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.