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.

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

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