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.

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.

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