Shameful Reporting From the New York Times

April 12th, 2011
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I’ve seen some bad reporting in my day – some downright horrible reporting. However, this might just take the cake. It’s made even worse by the fact that this shameful article was in the New York Times, a once respectable mainstream news source.

It is so blatantly anti-nuclear and anti-corporate that it resorts to the most odious of lies in a very thinly veiled attempt to paint the entire nuclear industry as being a horribly socially irresponsible monster. The reporter obviously an ax to grind, but reports this as news, not opinion.

I think TEPCO should sue them for slander, but that probably would do more harm than good.

Japanese Workers Braved Radiation for a Temp Job

Mr. Ishizawa, who was finally allowed to leave, is not a nuclear specialist; he is not even an employee of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the crippled plant. He is one of thousands of untrained, itinerant, temporary laborers who handle the bulk of the dangerous work at nuclear power plants here and in other countries, lured by the higher wages offered for working with radiation.

They do not do “most of the dangerous work.” They do most of the work period. A nuclear plant is like just about any other industrial site. There are some jobs that require a great deal of skill and/or education, but there are a lot of unskilled jobs that range from sweeping floors to moving boxes to tightening bolts.

If you don’t believe me, go to any construction site. You will see some skilled, experienced and educated individuals, such as the foreman, inspectors and welders. However, you’ll also see a lot of laborers whose primary jobs include digging, cleaning up, moving around lumber, installing drywall and so on.

Yes, people are drawn to the nuclear industry because it pays highly. It’s not simply because they are “working with radiation.” The industry tends to offer good wages and benefits and working conditions that are at least as good as any industry and often much better.

Collectively, these contractors were exposed to levels of radiation about 16 times as high as the levels faced by Tokyo Electric employees last year, according to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which regulates the industry.

Which, by the way, is still well within extremely conservative limits. Contractors do a lot of the maintenance work and laborers do the majority of the actual physical labor at the plant. Naturally they are exposed to more radiation than the executives and engineers who sit in offices. Unless, of course, an executive happens to do a lot of business travel by plant, but that doesn’t generally count because only radiation at the plant is counted as workplace exposure, and most business travelers don’t wear dosimeters.

They are emblematic of Japan’s two-tiered work force, with an elite class of highly paid employees at top companies and a subclass of laborers who work for less pay, have less job security and receive fewer benefits.

No, it’s emblematic of how the world works. If you have an education or special skills, you can work as a professional in a white-collar office job. If you don’t, you end up doing more physical tasks, but if you’re lucky you get to do those in a nuclear plant and not a coal mine.

Such labor practices have both endangered the health of these workers and undermined safety at Japan’s 55 nuclear reactors, critics charge.

Evidence?

“This is the hidden world of nuclear power,†said Yuko Fujita, a former physics professor at Keio University in Tokyo and a longtime campaigner for improved labor conditions in the nuclear industry. “Wherever there are hazardous conditions, these laborers are told to go. It is dangerous for them, and it is dangerous for nuclear safety.â€

Again, no evidence to this effect is presented. Also, I have no idea how a former university physics professor is qualified to describe how things are within the nuclear industry,

Interviews with about a half-dozen past and current workers at Fukushima Daiichi and other plants paint a bleak picture of workers on the nuclear circuit: battling intense heat as they clean off radiation from the reactors’ drywells and spent-fuel pools using mops and rags, clearing the way for inspectors, technicians and Tokyo Electric employees, and working in the cold to fill drums with contaminated waste.

Okay, so it’s hard work. Lots of manual labor jobs are hard. Many are worse. Plenty of construction workers work in the hot sun all day. Coal miners are in tight filthy quarters. Janitors have to clean toilets. There are workers out there who have to crawl through sewers.

I’m not going to say that it isn’t unpleasant to clean out the inside of a drywell while wearing a respirator and plastic coveralls. I’m sure it’s a tough, sweaty job that leaves the mask sticking to your face and the coveralls filled with sweat. But that is why it pays well.

It would be one thing if the employer actually violated basic worker safety regulations or exposed the workers to unnecessary dangers, but no evidence of that is presented.

In the most dangerous places, current and former workers said, radiation levels would be so high that workers would take turns approaching a valve just to open it, turning it for a few seconds before a supervisor with a stopwatch ordered the job to be handed off to the next person. Similar work would be required at the Fukushima Daiichi plant now, where the three reactors in operation at the time of the earthquake shut down automatically, workers say.

So what exactly is the problem here? The radiation levels are higher than background so the employees are given only a short time in close proximity to minimize exposure. This is actually not an unusual procedure. The total exposure is low, but standards for exposure are very conservative, so rotating workers assures none ever get exposed to any significant cumulative dose.

It would be cheaper to just have one worker do it, and doing so would not expose the worker to enough radiation to cause acute sickness, but rotation is done for safety.

“Your first priority is to avoid pan-ku,†said one current worker at the Fukushima Daini plant, using a Japanese expression based on the English word puncture. Workers use the term to describe their dosimeter, which measures radiation exposure, from reaching the daily cumulative limit of 50 millisieverts. “Once you reach the limit, there is no more work,†said the worker, who did not want to give his name for fear of being fired by his employer.

Again, I fail to see the problem here. The employer is strictly enforcing radiation exposure limits. If you exceed the extremely low limits, you are not allowed to do any more work that may cause additional exposure.

This is actually a problem beyond the nuclear industry, however. Day laborers may be prohibited from working after being injured or from working without safety equipment, but it can be difficult to prevent low level workers from cutting corners. It’s actually a huge problem, especially when they could potentially earn a little more money by disregarding safety requirements.

Would the critics be happier if TEPCO encouraged workers to work beyond the exposure limits? It seems they are doing the opposite.

Takeshi Kawakami, 64, remembers climbing into the spent-fuel pool of the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant during an annual maintenance shutdown in the 1980s to scrub the walls clean of radiation with brushes and rags. All workers carried dosimeters set to sound an alarm if exposure levels hit a cumulative dose limit; Mr. Kawakami said he usually did not last 20 minutes.

“It was unbearable, and you had your mask on, and it was so tight,†Mr. Kawakami said. “I started feeling dizzy. I could not even see what I was doing. I thought I would drown in my own sweat.â€

Again, I don’t see the problem. Yes, the work is strenuous. That is why it pays so well. No, Mr. Kawakami did not become dizzy from radiation poisoning, but only because he was doing strenuous physical work. The masks and protective clothing may have made things more difficult or made the process take longer, but they were there for the protection of the workers.

If the company didn’t enforce such safety regulations, workers could have been sent down without protective clothing and they’d have gotten the job done quicker, but it would have put them in some danger. If workers had been allowed to work for more than 20 minutes without being swapped out, it would have made the process faster and cheaper. Again, safety regulations are clearly being enforced.

Since the mid-1970s, about 50 former workers have received workers’ compensation after developing leukemia and other forms of cancer. Health experts say that though many former workers are experiencing health problems that may be a result of their nuclear work, it is often difficult to prove a direct link. Mr. Kawakami has received a diagnosis of stomach and intestinal cancer.

There are different schools of thought on offering compensation to those who suffer from cancer after working in the nuclear industry. One is that they deserve it since there is always the off chance that they may have gotten cancer as a result of their work. However, despite what these unnamed “experts” say, the level of radiation that a worker is exposed to is very very unlikely to cause even the most minor health problems.

Upwards of one third of the population will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Aside from heart disease and stroke, it is the number one killer in the industrial world. It’s not exactly an unusual thing for a man in his 60′s to be diagnosed with cancer, and stomach and intestinal cancer has not been shown to be especially radiation-related (unlike leukemia or thyroid cancer). Within this context, having 50 workers out of a pool of tens of thousands, develop cancer that might be (but probably was not) job-related is not exactly compelling.

News of workers’ mishaps turns up periodically in safety reports: one submitted by Tokyo Electric to the government of Fukushima Prefecture in October 2010 outlines an accident during which a contract worker who had been wiping down a turbine building was exposed to harmful levels of radiation after accidentally using one of the towels on his face. In response, the company said in the report that it would provide special towels for workers to wipe their sweat.

So? All industries have accidents. Nuclear industry workers also fall and scrap their knee or get dehydrated when working outside on a hot day. Most accidents in most industries never show up in the media.

A worker wiping sweat with a towel that had come in contact with pieces of equipment in the turbine building of a BWR is not exactly a dangerous situation. It’s possible the towel may have been slightly above background. Small amounts of fission fragments may be deposited on turbines and its possible that somehow a leak or maintenance work could transfer some of that minute amount to other parts of the building.

The worker was not hurt. The only reason this was noticed at all is that regulations require any accidental exposure to radioactive substances from a reactor to be reported. Wiping sweat with a towel that has come in contact with a BWR reactor turbine is not going to cause radiation poisoning or any serious health consequences.

And really, does a company really need to provide “special” towels for workers to wipe their sweat with? Don’t they have a paper towel dispenser in the lavatory?

Day laborers are being lured back to the plant by wages that have increased along with the risks of working there. Mr. Ishizawa, whose home is about a mile from the plant and who evacuated with the town’s other residents the day after the quake, said he had been called last week by a former employer who offered daily wages of about $350 for just two hours of work at the Fukushima Daiichi plant — more than twice his previous pay. Some of the former members of his team have been offered nearly $1,000 a day. Offers have fluctuated depending on the progress at the plant and the perceived radiation risks that day. So far, Mr. Ishizawa has refused to return.

Well, yeah, I’d imagine they’d be paid more. They have to work in the horrible conditions of an area that has been decimated by a tsunami. Still, that’s not exactly bad pay for unskilled labor.

Tetsuen Nakajima, chief priest of the 1,200-year-old Myotsuji Temple in the city of Obama near the Sea of Japan, has campaigned for workers’ rights since the 1970s, when the local utility started building reactors along the coast; today there are 15 of them. In the early 1980s, he helped found the country’s first union for day workers at nuclear plants.

The union, he said, made 19 demands of plant operators, including urging operators not to forge radiation exposure records and not to force workers to lie to government inspectors about safety procedures. Although more than 180 workers belonged to the union at its peak, its leaders were soon visited by thugs who kicked down their doors and threatened to harm their families, he said.

Call me skeptical, but I’ve heard this song and dance before. Most big companies would never expose themselves to the liability presented by such tactics, which would be their end if ever discovered. 180 workers is not exactly a lot either, so it strikes me as a bit strange that a big nuclear company would really be afraid of the power of such a tiny group.

Despite what you may have seen in movies, using thugs to break down doors and threaten families is just not how things work in the corporate world, even in the corrupt corporate world. It’s too difficult to keep wraps on, it requires dabbling in areas that could completely destroy a company and there’s too much risk that one of those thugs might turn state’s evidence. If a corrupt company wants silence, they will usually buy it, sometimes by getting workers to sign confidentiality agreements for a big fat check. If that does not work, they may resort to lawyers and legal intimidation or they may even try to publicly discredit you.

I’ve heard of groups fabricating these kind of intimidation tactics to gain attention. I’d be very interested to see the police reports of these supposed incidents.

Last week, conversations among Fukushima Daiichi workers at a smoking area at the evacuees’ center focused on whether to stay or go back to the plant. Some said construction jobs still seemed safer, if they could be found. “You can see a hole in the ground, but you can’t see radiation,†one worker said.

(my bolding, not theirs)
Am I the only one who sees extreme irony here?

Look, if you want to smoke tobacco, then that’s your deal and you can do it. Far be it from me to object to your free will to destroying your own health. However, it takes a special kind of idiot to claim that they are afraid of the long term dangers of low-level radiation exposure (namely cancer) while they stand around sucking down smoke that is proven to increase the probability of cancer more than any other environmental factor!

By the way, you can’t see radiation but you can actually detect it at levels well bellow harmful. That’s why they have dosimeters and other equipment for assuring that dose limits are not exceeded.

It’s pretty clear that the guys being interviewed here are nothing more than grunt workers who clean, move boxes or do other non-skilled work, because, to put it bluntly, they know nothing about radiation and don’t seem to be that bright either.

Mr. Ishizawa, the only one who allowed his name to be used, said, “I might go back to a nuclear plant one day, but I’d have to be starving.†In addition to his jobs at Daiichi, he has worked at thermal power plants and on highway construction sites in the region. For now, he said, he will stay away from the nuclear industry.

“I need a job,†he said, “but I need a safe job.â€

Working at a thermal power plant (in this context meaning a fossil fuel plant) is most certainly not safer than working in a nuclear power plant. Working on highway construction sites is much much less safe.

This guy is no loss to the nuclear power industry.

In my own experience I’ve spoken with many people who have worked in the nuclear power industry, though most were in the US. In general, most seem to find the industry to be a very good place to work at all levels. Even for unskilled laborers, the workplace conditions and compensation are significantly better than most industries. General workplace safety tends to be quite good. Wages are also quite good. If you live in a community with a nuclear plant you’ll normally find it is very highly supported by locals who have friends and family working there.

Of course, there will always be former employees who can be found with an ax to grind. It may not be about anything about the operations of the nuclear plant itself, but there will always be workers who hold a grudge about their pension plan, being fired or denied a promotion. If you look for them, you can find them and they’ll always have plenty of negative things to say. The safety record, however, speaks for itself.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 at 10:44 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Enviornment, media, Nuclear, Obfuscation, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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43 Responses to “Shameful Reporting From the New York Times”

  1. 1
    DV82XL Says:

    Anyone working in a Canadian nuclear industry at any level, got there after a rough competitive examinations and generally after having tried several times. 30-35 CDN/hr for an experienced non-licensed plant operator is good money, and it only goes up from there. Yet a skills shortage looms in nuclear industry as Ontario gears up an ambitious plan for expansion of nuclear generation.


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  2. 2
    Franck Says:

    Yes, safety can be a bitch!

    When I was doing software development for a X-ray imaging device, I had to spend days in fire and electrical hazard courses and wear safety shoes and eyesheild, plus occasionly gloves and/or leaded apron when doing tests. A total waste of time and money as the only injury I got there in two years was a paper cut at may desk…
    On two occasions, I also was the guy with one hand on the emergency shutdown button behind an electrician working on a live high tension power supply, totally hated that part of the job.


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  3. 3
    BMS Says:

    It’s well known that the Japanese population has higher rates of stomach cancer than other countries.

    The OSHA records show that, in the US, the nuclear industry is one of the safest sectors in which to work. They have lower rates of injury than other sectors that consist of only office work. This results from a safety culture that is proactive at preventing injuries.

    Aside from a couple of (isolated) mishaps, the examples cited by The New York Times really hint that the Japanese nuclear industry takes its safety regulations seriously, particularly with respect to radiation exposure. Unfortunately, however, most of the readers of the Times are too ignorant to realize this.


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  4. 4
    Juums Says:

    Two thoughts immediately occurred upon seeing the headline “Shameful Reporting from the New York Times“:
    1) It’s the NYT. What were you expecting, exactly? The Times threw its lot in with the eco-primitivists long ago.

    2) The old adage about the Times‘s reporting of those who don’t tow its ideological line came to time: “Shameful Reporting from the New York Times: Women and Minorities Hardest Hit”


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  5. 5
    Mimi Says:

    The lack of basic knowledge of radiation demonstrated by the interviewees brings to mind the Tokai-Mura accident. Weren’t those workers unaware of criticality safety principles, leading them to mix “chemicals” in a bigger bucket to save time? I know next to nothing about the US nuclear power industry, but I’ve been working in DOE research facilities and everyone who wears a dosimeter is required to know some basics about radiation and radiation safety principles.


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  6. 6
    drbuzz0 Says:

    As I understand it, the Tokai-Mura accident did involve some genuine negledgance. Basically there was a set procedure for mixing uranium oxides and the aquious nitric acid solution, but it had been modified in a manner that would make it quicker by cutting out some safety steps. This was done by the plant managers without actually validating it from the engineers or submitting it to the regulatory agencies. So basically, they were cutting corners.

    This all worked fine for years without incident, but it was dangerous. Then some workers made a slightly larger than normal batch and it hit criticality.

    I’ll be the first to say that this is intolerable. All industries experience human error and circumventing of safety mechanisms, but just the same, it is never acceptable when it does happen and needs to be delt with harshly. In this case, of course, it was. Even if perfection is not obtainable, it should still be strived for. That is what the culture of safety is all about.

    I also got the impression that the Tokai-Mura facility may not have gotten the same level of scrutany and oversight because it was a fuel fabrication site and not a nuclear plant. This kind of thing exists in the US too. There is an enormous amount of oversight of nuclear power plants, but when it comes to industrial radiography, medicine and other NRC licensees, there is a disproportiontely low amount of regulation and oversight.


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  7. 7
    G.R.L. Cowan, hydrogen energy fan until ~1996 Says:

    … I also got the impression that the Tokai-Mura facility may not have gotten the same level of scrutany and oversight because it was a fuel fabrication site and not a nuclear plant …

    Moreover, the uranium in the bucket was of unusually high enrichment, 18 percent as I recall, because it was for fuel rods for a test reactor, which is to say, one with no attached heat engine-dynamo powertrain.

    That means it would deprive the Japanese government of no fossil fuel tax revenue.

    That is what attracts scrutiny and oversight. Aggressive scrutiny and oversight.


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  8. 8
    Eric S. Smith Says:

    Okay, you’re definitely over-reaching with that wide-eyed “oh, my, no Wonderful Company would ever engage in union busting!” stuff.


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  9. 9
    Matthew Says:

            Eric S. Smith said:

    Okay, you’re definitely over-reaching with that wide-eyed “oh, my, no Wonderful Company would ever engage in union busting!” stuff.

    Union busting these days is far more likely to be on the legal battlefield, not the “rough stuff,” as it were. This is mostly because any large company has far more to lose than it could possibly gain by doing so.

    Take look at violent tactics in these fights for the last couple of decades – you’ll see it almost entirely on the union side.


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  10. 10
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Eric S. Smith said:

    Okay, you’re definitely over-reaching with that wide-eyed “oh, my, no Wonderful Company would ever engage in union busting!” stuff.

    No, they do. However, they don’t generally break down doors and send out thugs to do their dirty work by threatening union officials. That’s just not a very effective tactic and it’s too high risk.

    You have to look at it from the corporate angle. They want to shut someone up, what are they going to do? Send the executives out to the back ally to try to find some thugs they can send? Doing that introduces way too many problems. For one thing, breaking down a door leaves… a broken door, which is pretty good evidence that a union boss can then show to the press.

    Lets say that some thugs come to your house one night, break down your door, slam you against the wall and tell you to be quiet. Chances are that won’t actually make you quiet. Not only that, but it’s likely you have some good evidence that it happend. Your neighbors saw the thugs stop by and heard the comotion. They police come and find the door broken and you injured. This actually helps you, because now you can show you have been intimidated and they will not come back and kill you, not if the press is all over it and it’s been made public.

    But it’s worse. Lets say your neighbor calls the police and they come and catch the thugs. Or lets say someone got their license plate. This will not simply mean they get arrested, it will destroy the company.

    Yes, it’s been done a couple of times and that is what can happen. Some burglers were caught at the Watergate Hotel and office building. It took down the US presidency. That’s the risk you run when you do that.

    Not only that, you REALLY don’t want to get involved with people doing that kind of dirty work, because you generally can’t trust them. If TEPCO hires someone to go rough up a few of their enemies, then everyone they hired now has the ultimate blackmail opertunity against them. That’s a HUGE liability.

    I know people who have been intimidated by companies. It’s not pretty and it can be a whole lot more stressful than getting your door broken down. What offten happens is they start off with a stick and carrot. They offer you a sealed out-of-court settlement to shutup and put some thinly veiled threats if you don’t. If that does not work, they start with more and more sticks and fewer and fewer carrots. They’ll sue you and start filing every kind of injunction and ammendement you can think of. The goal is to make you call uncle by making the legal battle very expensive. It’s possible that they could try to undermine your other buisiness interests or even pressure others not to do buisiness with you. They may mount a PR campaign against you.

    Believe me, I’d love for a big wind farm operator to break down my door and threaten my life. Nothing could be better for my blog ratings or to help prove my point.


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  11. 11
    George Carty Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    As I understand it, the Tokai-Mura accident did involve some genuine negligence. Basically there was a set procedure for mixing uranium oxides and the aquious nitric acid solution, but it had been modified in a manner that would make it quicker by cutting out some safety steps. This was done by the plant managers without actually validating it from the engineers or submitting it to the regulatory agencies. So basically, they were cutting corners.

    Sounds a bit like the Hyatt Hotel disaster in Kansas City in 1981. The original design called for two walkways to be hung from the ceiling one above the other on continuous rods, but the building’s constructors viewed this as unbuildable and changed the design by hanging the top walkway from the ceiling and the lower walkway from the one above. This doubled the force on the top walkway’s supporting nuts and washers, which caused the walkways to collapse. The change in the design had never been checked by the engineers.


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  12. 12
    Doogas Says:

            Matthew said:

    Union busting these days is far more likely to be on the legal battlefield, not the “rough stuff,” as it were. This is mostly because any large company has far more to lose than it could possibly gain by doing so.

    Given the choice, I think I’d rather have corporate thugs break into my house and leave a horse head in my bed then have them serve me with an endless number of lawsuits and do other things to pull the strings to make my life hell.

    Hasn’t the Church of Scientology done a pretty good job of demonstrating that you can do a better job of making someones life miserable and shutting them up with legal threats than with direct violence?

            Matthew said:

    Take look at violent tactics in these fights for the last couple of decades – you’ll see it almost entirely on the union side.

    If you actually look at the incidents you’ll see that most of the time that there actually is violence or direct confrontation by unions like that it’s either a small union or some kind of localized chapter or rogue low level members who are doing it. If you actually know anything about the “big” unions like the AFL/CIO or the Teamsters, they are just like a corporate bureaucracy. At the top they have their own legal departments and PR people and everything. Even their directors are professionals and are not actually workers in the fields they represent.

    I’m sure that unions pull off some questionable political and legal moves too and there may be corruption in some of them too, but they’re not like they were 30 years ago. Besides, everything leaves a paper trail now.


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  13. 13
    DV82XL Says:

    Oh ya, the two dead at the Tokai-Mura accident proves that nuclear energy is too dangerous for mere humans to control and every antinuke knows about it and will offer it up as proof. Yet in 1988 in Auburn, Indiana, improper mixing of chemicals killed four workers at a local electroplating plant in the worst confined-space industrial accident in U.S. history; a fifth victim died two days later. Almost nobody remembers, and the incident is not brought up continually as a reason to put an end to the metal finishing industry.

    http://www.multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/issues/1990/04/kinney.html


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  14. 14
    Anon Says:

    You’ll find thugs still used for union busting in the third world but I wouldn’t expect it to be done in Japan.

    A large part of the nuclear industry paying well probably does also have to do with the public fear of radiation, if people had a rational view of the risks at working at a nuclear power plant the unskilled labourers would probably only be able to make minimum wage working at one (or at least no more than they could make anywhere else doing the same type of work).

    That said, it does appear that they may not have communicated enough information on the effects of radiation to the workers.


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  15. 15
    DV82XL Says:

            Anon said:

    A large part of the nuclear industry paying well probably does also have to do with the public fear of radiation, if people had a rational view of the risks at working at a nuclear power plant the unskilled labourers would probably only be able to make minimum wage working at one (or at least no more than they could make anywhere else doing the same type of work).

    Not necessarily. A safety culture requires a better quality worker, and those don’t come cheap. While radiation fears are overstated at low doses, one must recognize that that this doesn’t hold at high levels. Indifferent workers, even those pushing a broom, can cause more trouble than any money saved on wages would offset.


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  16. 16
    Anon Says:

    Just to add to this:

    Of course, there will always be former employees who can be found with an ax to grind. It may not be about anything about the operations of the nuclear plant itself, but there will always be workers who hold a grudge about their pension plan, being fired or denied a promotion. If you look for them, you can find them and they’ll always have plenty of negative things to say.

    http://www.snpp.com/episodes/7G03.html gives a pretty good (albeit fictional) example.

            DV82XL said:

    Not necessarily. A safety culture requires a better quality worker, and those don’t come cheap.

    True, though whether society would expect the nuclear industry to pay extra (at least over what someone in a non-nuclear facility which requires high safety would earn) if people actually had a rational view of the risk of radiation (both low and high level) is another matter.


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  17. 17
    Sigivald Says:

    It’s made even worse by the fact that this shameful article was in the New York Times, a once respectable mainstream news source.

    To expand on what Juums said, I think the only reason the Times was “once respectable” is that it was a lot harder to double-check them in the past.

    Walter Duranty, anyone?


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  18. 18
    Gordon Says:

    I can’t say anything about the Japanese nuclear industry, but I have family at Bruce Power and it seems from everything they tell me that the working conditions are very good as far as industries go. I’d be interested to know what the real unbiased truth is about the Japanese using day laborers in nuclear plants, but I would not be surprised if there is some more to this or it’s not quite as common as painted here.

    There is some grain of truth in a few areas though. I ran this by some of those I know there. Because of regulations, liability, fines etc, it is not too unusual to restrict someone from doing certain work if they start to get a high dose of radiation relative to the regulations. If you approach the dose limit they will send you to do work in another part of the plant, but if no work is available they may send you home. I have no idea how this might effect pay and whether workers are given anything for time that they are not able to work a full day because of concerns over radiation.

    I also do know that on hot days when dealing with some activities there is a temptation to take off coveralls or other safety gear because it is uncomfortable. Apparently the temptation is also that you don’t really need it most of the time. I don’t know the extent of what is done to enforce it.


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  19. 19
    Matte Says:

    I have never seen anyone (contractor or regular staff) deviate from normal procedures while performing work in controlled or supervised spaces. I have heard of a few incidents where people have removed the top of the “yellow jump suit” on the wrong side of a line and been asked to leave the site (while being escorted to the gates), that is about it. Contractors turning up drunk to their shifts never gets through the front gates (yes it happens) and their contracts are usually cancelled on the spot!

    Funny thing is, when things get uncomfortable during a mucky job, I never consider removing PPE no matter how hot and sticky I get. I have stopped working a few times to go and get a breather and a drink of water (quite a complicated procedure when you are all geared up), or in extreme cases I have walked up to a ventilation screen to cool down…but then I am highly educated and know what I am doing, perhaps that is what I am doing wrong (uneducated people get higher wages than I do, who is the dumb one?!)? Allas, I never get my hands dirty anymore, únless you consider toner spills or Tipex spills…


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  20. 20
    MikeC Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Not necessarily. A safety culture requires a better quality worker, and those don’t come cheap.

    I’d dispute that in general terms.

    A safety culture requires a better class of management mainly – one that actualy continually values the culture, and not one that “does it” just to get regulatory approval.

    My experience in culture change in aviation is that highly trained and qualified people (mechanics, design & technical engineers, pilots) are very good at responding to teh actual culture that management has – not the “headline” one.

    so I’d say that if you have a safety culture you GET a better class of worker.


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  21. 21
    DV82XL Says:

            MikeC said:

    My experience in culture change in aviation is that highly trained and qualified people (mechanics, design & technical engineers, pilots) are very good at responding to teh actual culture that management has – not the “headline” one.

    I was in the industry too during that so called “culture change” and frankly there was no need to adjust attitudes about safety. Mostly it was about moving from highly trained technical people capable of making decisions based on their overall knowledge, and taking responsibly for it, to a “three-ring binder” mentality, in which everyone was forced to adhere to fixed procedures regardless, and decisions made by flow charts.

    Nevertheless, real wages have dropped for technical workers in aviation over the last ten years, and as someone who spent the bulk of his career in management positions, I can tell you without reservation that the uptake over that time in new workers were not of the same class as previous ones, and all of them from cleaners to engineers needed more management, and closer management than their predecessors.

    So you are correct that this requires a better class of management, but really it is because they must lead a lower class of worker.


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  22. 22
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Matte said:

    Allas, I never get my hands dirty anymore, únless you consider toner spills or Tipex spills…

    this is going to sound strange, but there is definitely part of me that loves being part of the tasks of physically interacting with equipment.

    Where i work I pretty much sit at a computer all day. I don’t mind and in general that’s the kind of job I prefer, but I still like the hands on stuff from time to time. This summer there is an 80 year old boiler that is getting retubed. Strange though it may sound, I almost begged to help out. I’m practically tickled that I’m going to get a chance to put in some pipe and possibly do some welding.

    I love boilers, turbines, generators and such. Reading about them and such is great, but I’m excited to get my hands dirty.

    Yeah I know, it would not be exciting if I had to do it all the time. In that case, I’m sure I’d hate it.


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  23. 23
    Stren Says:

    Now if only the article didn’t sound so much like an apologist for the nuclear industry…but maybe it is hard to find someone in the middle. Why aren’t there more jobs out there? With kids getting lead poisoning, how many engineers do you really expect to show up at an interview?
    These sound like interesting jobs. They are living in interesting times, too.
    People have selfish interests, but sometimes it can be of the enlightened sort.
    Regulation helps everyone to understand just how seriously we take our responsibilities to protect everyone.
    When you have a disregard for human life and health, is this not something that may be addressed?
    And if there is a cover-up, or too much shuffling around that indicates one, an investigation is called for.

    And we find criminal negligence pretty often. Not just in one area, but everywhere at every level throughout the world. So shall we just kill everyone who we don’t care about? That’s what they are doing.
    With great danger comes great responsibility. If you can’t hack it, then don’t get into that position in the first place.


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  24. 24
    Prasad Says:

    The people where the Nuclear Plant blast occurred should be shifted to safety zone where they can live without any deceases without radiation. Japan government take the help from other countries like America, Russia so they can come out as early as possible.


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  25. 25
    Anon Says:

            Stren said:

    Now if only the article didn’t sound so much like an apologist for the nuclear industry…

    It sounded to me more like correcting a bunch of nonsense than any attempt to apologise for problems in the nuclear industry (remember that Christians only need apologists because their religion is nonsense).

            Stren said:

    but maybe it is hard to find someone in the middle.

    Because the truth isn’t in the middle (please look up golden mean fallacy or whatever other names it goes be).

    BTW: The preview comment feature is very much missed.


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  26. 26
    Mikkai Says:

    Background radiation plus additional radiation, which is below the background radiation, is till too much radiation.

    If I eat an orange, and then a 2nd orange, which is smaller than the first one, I ate TWO oranges.
    And not only one.

    26 RAD per Minute (fast radiation rate) need a total dose of 3500 RAD to harm a cell membrane.

    with 0,001 RAD per Minute (slow dose) only 0,7 RAD are needed to harm a cell membrane.

    The Mechanism behind it:

    The production of free radicals of Oxygen (O² with a negative electric charge) caused by ionising effect of the radiation.

    The free radicals caused by the slow dose (0,001) are sparsely distributed radicals do have a higher chance to reach the cell membranes.

    Why:

    The free radicals of the fast radiation rate (26) are tight together and so they react faster with each other.

    The low electric charge of the cell membranes attract the free radicals in the early state of the reaction (minor total dose).

    If the harmed cells are monocytes this will cause:

    Anemia, because the monocytes recycle 37 – 40 % of the iron of dying red blood cells.

    Weakened immune system in the cells, because the monocytes generate the substance which activates the immune system of the lymphocytes.

    This is the so called “Bura Bura” – of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors.

    THIS IS IGNORED BY THE IAEA AND THE WHO by the gag contract WHA 12-40 from 1959 – http://www.independentwho.info

    CESIUM and STRONTIUM (HalfLife: 400 years) – released into the environment by TEPCO / FUKUSHIMA

    Latency: 20 – 25 years mature people / 4 years children (Chernobyl happens grows today, illness, death, cancer increase and not decrease, as WHO and IAEA say)

    This is the upturned pyramid.

    Effect: The cesium is biological similar to the potassium and the human body can not distinguish between the good potassium and cesium.

    The body takes it on the breath and the food. You can not protect yourself.

    After intake, the cesium builds self into the body cells and destroys the energy balance of cells. It does not matter whether it consists of the liver, kidney or brain cells involved.

    These infected cell dies, after she pulls even before their neighbors suffer.

    Thus begins a weird cycle:

    How life begins with a cell starts in this case the death. Children are more vulnerable because their cells divide constantly.

    As they grow, they need constant energy and constant need to cope with the damage to their cells.

    25 years with Chernobyl:

    The adults at that time have survived 25 years and are now ill. In about 4 years we’re going to see the same with japanese children.

    Quiet Death.

    The then children are already suffering much earlier – often with fatal consequences.

    The cesium is present in the inheritance cells.

    Precarious, is that the cesium implants in the ovaries and the eggs of women. Because renew their loans, they are damaged for life.

    Although renewed in sperm, they also give more information to the injury during fertilization. Either, it can no longer be fathered children, or they get through father and mother misinformation in the future. The result you can not even imagine.

    The authorities in Japan had long ago have put women and children in the south of the country. Why they did not is, in my view, totally incomprehensible. There will be massive leukemia. This cesium cloud is a disaster for the Japanese, and from all other radionuclides, we know nothing.

    The body can not distinguish between Calcium and Strontium. If it is taken in through the food chain. It is built into the bones and teeth, shines there and hits the bone marrow, where sit the blood-forming organs: The stem cells that give rise to the red and white blood cells and platelets.

    These cells are damaged by Strontium, and indeed a lifetime, because the strontium remains where it is: irradiating with short and beta radiation.

    Who decided to increase the limits? The health ministy of Japan? Or came the advise by the IAEA? The ICRP? Were medics actually involved? TEPCO by themself? Is this democratic? Or is it criminal?

    Get your facts right!

    Mikkai


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  27. 27
    Chuck P. Says:

    Mikkai,
    Denver, CO has natural background radiation about twicw that of many other areas of the US.
    Are you advocating that Denver be abandoned?


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  28. 28
    Anon Says:

    Mikkai: There has been no detectable increase in cancer rates other than Thyroid after Chernobyl, why do you think the much lesser releases from Fukushima which also haven’t been going near populated areas to anywhere near the degree that the Chernobyl releases did would be any different?

    The Thyroid cancer cases could have been prevented by giving KI promptly (and even then Thyroid cancer has a high survival rate with proper treatment).

    The truth is that the biggest health effects of Chernobyl were not from the radiation but from the scaremongering people like you were spreading there, I expect the same thing will happen in Japan.

    People must realise that anti-nuclear fearmongering has consequences and hurts real people, far more than are hurt by radiation.


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  29. 29
    George Carty Says:

            Chuck P. said:

    Denver, CO has natural background radiation about twicw that of many other areas of the US.
    Are you advocating that Denver be abandoned?

    Ramsar in Iran has background radiation of 260 mSv per year (from radioactive hot springs in the area) — how does that compare with Colorado?

            Anon said:

    Mikkai: There has been no detectable increase in cancer rates other than Thyroid after Chernobyl, why do you think the much lesser releases from Fukushima which also haven’t been going near populated areas to anywhere near the degree that the Chernobyl releases did would be any different?

    On the “no additional cancers except thyroid cancer”, what is your source?


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  30. 30
    Anon Says:

            George Carty said:

    On the “no additional cancers except thyroid cancer”, what is your source?

    The UNSCEAR.


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  31. 31
    George Carty Says:

            Anon said:

    The UNSCEAR.

    Thanks — are the relevant documents viewable online?


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  32. 32
    Anon Says:

    Try http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html

    I should probably just clarify that I was only referring to effects on the general population and not the workers at the plant.

    Looking back at Mikkai’s post I just found a few other mistakes in it.

            Mikkai said:

    THIS IS IGNORED BY THE IAEA AND THE WHO by the gag contract WHA 12-40 from 1959 – http://www.independentwho.info

    This load of nonsense again.

    Why don’t you go read it at http://www.who.int/gb/bd/PDF/BDenglish/Agreements.pdf along with a bunch of other agreements they have with other UN agencies (all of which sound about the same, unless you want to claim that the ILO are somehow gagging the WHO).

    In particular Article 1, point 2:

    In particular, and in accordance with the Constitution of the World Health Organization and the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and its agreement with the United Nations together with the exchange of letters related thereto, and taking into account the respective co-ordinating responsibilities of both organizations, it is recognized by the World Health Organization that the International Atomic Energy Agency has the primary responsibility for encouraging, assisting and co-ordinating research on, and development and practical application of, atomic energy for peaceful uses throughout the world without prejudice to the right of the World Health Organization to concern itself with promoting, developing, assisting, and co-ordinating international health work, including research, in all its aspects.

            Mikkai said:

    CESIUM and STRONTIUM (HalfLife: 400 years) – released into the environment by TEPCO / FUKUSHIMA

    Neither of those substances has the half-life you claim for them (if you want to be taken seriously by people who aren’t already anti-nuclear kooks you really should look up the values of the half-lifes).

            Mikkai said:

    [SNIP]between the good potassium and cesium.

    Be careful, Potassium is radioactive.

            Mikkai said:

    After intake, the cesium builds self into the body cells and destroys the energy balance of cells.

    “Energy balance”, that’s something I’d expect from alt-med.

            Mikkai said:

    Get your facts right!

    Good advice, nor why don’t you take it?


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  33. 33
    Mikkai Says:

    CESIUM AND STRONTIUM 400 YEARS HL – explanation for the ones who don’t know:

    Half-life is only so that half of the radiation is gone. You have every half-life multiplied by ten in order to have an idea when this radioisotope is gone from the biological environment. That would be in strontium and cesium 400 years.

    UNSCEAR:

    The role of UNSCEAR: To inform the U.N. about the latest reasearch developments and status of the IAEA, if you don’t know.

    The UNSCEAR is in no way objective.

    They’re just a servant of the IAEA and the IAEA is just a servant of the 5 permanent members of the U.N. – all atomic weapons states.

    The UN is divided into 7 organisations, of which two are of interest to us, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council.The “Economic and Social Council” oversees ALL the United Nations agencies with the exception of the “IAEA”.

    In fact, the IAEA is the only agency that reports directly to the “Security Council” which is made up of representatives of 15 countries, of which 5 are permanent members of the Council : the United States, the Untied Kingdom, the Russian Federation, China and France.

    These 5 nations are all nuclear powers, both civil and military, and almost all are exporters of nuclear technology.
    The 10 remaining members (or countries) have a mandate which lasts for 2 years.

    The influence of these 5 permanent members of the Security Council on policy making within the IAEA is enormous and ongoing. With no counterbalancing power, it is almost impossible to claim that the IAEA has an objective view of the nuclear industry and the consequences of its use.

    On 28th May 1959, the IAEA (not yet two years old !) and WHO signed an agreement referred to as “WHA 12-40” which, though it might, on paper, appear balanced and reciprocal, in practice, puts WHO in a subordinate position to the IAEA.

    The IAEA has no mandate what so ever of reactor safety or people’s health, but they act like they have it.

    On March 19th 2011, Gregory Härtl of the WHO told the world, that danger to human health around the 30 km zone is low. But the WHO has to do what the IAEA tells them. And the IAEA is a profiteer and left arm of the atomic industry.

    Back to the gag contract WHA 12-40 between WHO and IAEA:

    The WHO writes on it’s website (FAQ) the following:

    “What is WHO’s role in nuclear emergencies?

    Within the United Nations System, the IAEA is the lead agency for coordination of international response to radiation events. “

    You name it

    During swine and brig flu: WHO talking ant talking. But during Fukushima: Silence.

    Good god, you really know nothing about the exploding cancer rates because of Chernobyl? 90,000 additional cancer cases alone in Europe – Source: Prof. Jablokov (speech video link below).

    You’re thinking of a wrong way. IAEA / WHO / ICRP choose a total dose and divide it over the people. But a human embryo is defenseless against low radiation, 1000 tims less than the REFERENCE MAN (on which all dose limits depend). How about a REFERENCE EMBRYO. There would be only one dose limit from atomic reactors: ZERO.

    Iodine 131 has a half life of 28 days – then it becomes Xenon 131. Iodine 131 gets absorbed by the body and concentrates inside of the thyorid. It can cause thyroid cancer and a lifelong hormone therapy with additional removal of the parathyroid. Just like it happened to many children after the Chernobyl atomic reactor explosion in 1986. Thyroid cancer is the only illness the IAEA accepts as an illness caused by radiation. The IAEA denies any link between any other kinds of disease, death or mutation and radiation.

    Fake research, use faked research: Dr. Rosen (Vice director of the IAEA in 1996) said in 1996 that represent cases of cancer that occur, are a very small part of the millions of cancer cases that will occur anyway. The estimate of Dr. Rosen is a factor of 10 or more too low. Dr. Rosen replaces the number of children cancer illnesses in the number of cancer illnesses in the elderly. (quote Prof. Michel Fernex, University of Basel, Switzerland)

    If no result is to be found: False initially selected indicators are used for example, when looking for cancer, choose death rather than disease rates. Dying from cancer takes time, the study must be published before the death occurs. You can also choose the wrong Pathology, and search for diabetes rather than stress. In the end statistically significant differences are not found, so it is difficult to demonstrate phenomena that may be unusual. So it is concluded that there is no relationship between the event and the pathology which was investigated. This way you can advocate nuclear power plants. (quote Prof. Michel Fernex, University of Basel, Switzerland)

    - The IAEA denies damage such as leukaemia, which is caused by Chernobyl, so they can continue to talk about “nuclear safety” to increase their own kind. (quote Dr. Katsumi Furitsu, Osaka Japan)

    - The IAEA makes sure the WHO says what the IAEA calls valid – by the gag contract WHA 12-40 (SOURCE), so that the WHO takes the “medical ruder”, by saying: “The accident is not a big one, no harmful radiation.”

    Don’t listen the physicians or engineers, listen to medics. But they’re gagged by the gag contract WHA 12-40

    If the people of Tokio would be exposed a radiation dose of 0.1 Sv (100 mSv): In the coming years 235,000 cancer cases would be created. 400 mSv could create over a million cases.

    During organ formation in the womb – organogenesis – can already 10 mSv (0.01 Sv) damage the embryo.

    Go over here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdlG0pwvfXA&feature=player_embedded

    http://www.tschernobylkongress.de/fileadmin/user_upload/pdfs/fairlie.pdf

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C0wZv462Ug&feature=player_embedded

    http://books.google.de/books?id=g34tNlYOB3AC&printsec=frontcover&dq=chernobyl+consequences+of+the+catastrophe&hl=de&ei=yb2pTa7mDM2hOtCDxPcJ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT!


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  34. 34
    DV82XL Says:

    What would an entry on Depleted Cranium be without some paranoid lacking a shred of real scientific training running of at the mouth and telling us to get their facts right?

    Mikkai you are a certified ignoramus with no idea what you are talking about. You may impress other idiots with your verbiage, but you have come to a place where most of us know this subject inside out, and we are not moved.


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  35. 35
    Eric S. Smith Says:

    Mikkai: “If the people of Tokio would be exposed a radiation dose of 0.1 Sv (100 mSv): In the coming years 235,000 cancer cases would be created. 400 mSv could create over a million cases.”

    What are you basing those projections on?

    And, as a bonus question, do you think that additional exposure of 0.1 mSv would result in 235 extra cases of cancer in Tokyo? If so, how, and how soon, do you believe that they could be detected?

    I ask these questions as someone with a jaundiced view of industry and regulators and a marked preference for not getting cancer.


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  36. 36
    Mikkai Says:

    I had the chance to see Mr. Keith Baverstock, a week ago, in Berlin:
    He led the Radiation Protection Programme at the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Europe from 1991 to 2003. I’m going to upload his speech about the IAEA / WHO gag contract WHA 12-40 on youtube.

    Meanwhile, have a look at his presentation

    http://www.chernobylcongress.org/fileadmin/user_upload/pdfs/Baverstock_How_the_UN_works.pdf

    “The point in this digression is to explain why we have the situation we face
    between WHO and IAEA today:
    We have two resolutely opposed views, one predominantly in one camp
    and the other in the other camp.”

    “By mid 1998 first draft of the Guidelines was circulating between IAEA and
    WHO at the management level.
    Although there had been a clear agreement between the two organisations at
    the management level and the work had taken place openly the IAEA withdrew
    at that stage strongly advising that the whole issue should either be dropped or
    revised. The issue was the proposal to lower the action level for implementation
    from 100mGy to 10mGy dose to the thyroid’s of children.”

    “The agreement between WHO and IAEA did not enter this
    matter at all: IAEA acted on the behalf of one of their Member
    States.”

    “I think we can be confident that the IAEA will not do this study
    and even if WHO did IAEA could interfere.”

    Eric, you’re doing the typical mistake: Taking a dose and throwing it all over the poeple, no matter, if they’re childs, mature healthy people or even embryos.
    All dose recommendations are based on the REFERENCE MAN – a mature human with good health.
    This is the point. An embryo is via placenta, 1000 times more sensitive to radiation. It’s called REFERENCE EMBRYO

    Back to your question:

    “When the effects of radiation you have to differ between high and lower doses. At “low” doses of radiation to about 0.5 Sievert (500 mSv editor’s note) increases mainly the risk of cancer. At higher doses, it comes after days or weeks to the death or injury to the cells of a number of organs such as the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and liver.”

    “To understand the effect of “low doses”we believe that the people of Tokyo would be a radiation dose of 0.1 Sv (100 mSv) exposure. Then would in the coming years and decades of the 35 million people in the Tokyo area approximately 252 500 additional cancer, it would already be at 400 mSv over a million. The cancer rate in children with respect to thyroid cancer should also be considered separately.”

    quote from: Radiaton protection expert Dr. Bernd Ramm (Charité Berlin)

    We have to views:

    Medics / doctors / WHO – recognize link between high / low radiation and cancer / illness / deaths / mutations

    and

    Physicians / Engineers / IAEA – denies link between high / low radiation and cancer / illness / deaths / mutations

    Both share the contract WHA 12-40 from 1959

    The group here, on http://depletedcranium.com/, seems to be the 2nd one. But in a very ignorant way.
    The facts are for the grabs :)

    I suggest you read Jablokov’s study:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C0wZv462Ug&feature=player_embedded

    http://books.google.de/books?id=g34tNlYOB3AC&printsec=frontcover&dq=chernobyl+consequences+of+the+catastrophe&hl=de&ei=yb2pTa7mDM2hOtCDxPcJ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false


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  37. 37
    BMS Says:

            Mikkai said:

    … the IAEA is just a servant of the 5 permanent members of the U.N. – all atomic weapons states.

    The UN is divided into 7 organisations, of which two are of interest to us, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council.The “Economic and Social Council” oversees ALL the United Nations agencies with the exception of the IAEA.

    In fact, the IAEA is the only agency that reports directly to the “Security Council” … The influence of these 5 permanent members of the Security Council on policy making within the IAEA is enormous and ongoing.

    No it isn’t. Why are these paranoid idiots never able to get their facts straight?!

    The IAEA is not part of the United Nations. It never has been. Thus, it “reports” to the UN Security Council as a separate organization. This is all part of an agreement between the two organizations, and since a big part of the IAEA’s job is to monitor potential instances of nuclear weapons proliferation, sharing their information with the Security Council is a good idea, as anyone with any common sense can plainly see. No conspiracy theories are required.

    The IAEA is governed by its 151 member states, the vast majority of whom are not nuclear weapons states and do not even have domestic nuclear power industries. How this makes the IAEA a “left arm of the atomic industry” is something only the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic could puzzle out.


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  38. 38
    BMS Says:

    Mikkai – English is obviously not your first language.

    In the English-speaking world, a “medic” is a medical technician, often an emergency responder who applies first-aid. A “physician” is a medical doctor. FYI

    Your confusion over English terms just makes your rambling even more confused and amusing.


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  39. 39
    Anon Says:

            Mikkai said:

    CESIUM AND STRONTIUM 400 YEARS HL – explanation for the ones who don’t know:

    Half-life is only so that half of the radiation is gone. You have every half-life multiplied by ten in order to have an idea when this radioisotope is gone from the biological environment. That would be in strontium and cesium 400 years.

    If you would be more clear in your use of language you wouldn’t have gotten in trouble over that.

    Namely you should not use the term half-life to refer to something which is not a half-life.

            Mikkai said:

    In fact, the IAEA is the only agency that reports directly to the “Security Council” which is made up of representatives of 15 countries, of which 5 are permanent members of the Council : the United States, the Untied Kingdom, the Russian Federation, China and France.

    Never mind that the IAEA is responsible for nuclear technology and thus also for non-proliferation (something the security council takes a very keen interest in).

            Mikkai said:

    These 5 nations are all nuclear powers, both civil and military, and almost all are exporters of nuclear technology.
    The 10 remaining members (or countries) have a mandate which lasts for 2 years.

    Not to mention that some of them are also countries where the anti-nuclear movement has political influence.

            Mikkai said:

    The influence of these 5 permanent members of the Security Council on policy making within the IAEA is enormous and ongoing. With no counterbalancing power, it is almost impossible to claim that the IAEA has an objective view of the nuclear industry and the consequences of its use.

    You’d think if there were something with them that the scientific community would be up in arms, yet aside from a few crackpots here and there the scientific community is not up in arms.

            Mikkai said:

    On 28th May 1959, the IAEA (not yet two years old !) and WHO signed an agreement referred to as “WHA 12-40” which, though it might, on paper, appear balanced and reciprocal, in practice, puts WHO in a subordinate position to the IAEA.

    Well they’d have to come to an agreement to ensure they can work together at some point in time so it may as well be done early and the WHO had previously signed many other agreements with other UN agencies that it could be based on.

    Besides, in the ’50s people pretty much didn’t forsee idiots like you existing.

            Mikkai said:

    The IAEA has no mandate what so ever of reactor safety or people’s health, but they act like they have it.

    They have a joint mandate with the WHO (the IAEA has a mandate over everything to do with peaceful nuclear technology, that includes safety).

            Mikkai said:

    On March 19th 2011, Gregory Härtl of the WHO told the world, that danger to human health around the 30 km zone is low.

    Which it is (in fact it is closer to non-existent).

            Mikkai said:

    But the WHO has to do what the IAEA tells them.

    Did you ever just for one second think that maybe the WHO actually does have independence.

    What difference is there between the agreement the WHO has with the IAEA and the other agreements they have? Because I can’t seem to find any.

            Mikkai said:

    The WHO writes on it’s website (FAQ) the following:

    “What is WHO’s role in nuclear emergencies?

    Within the United Nations System, the IAEA is the lead agency for coordination of international response to radiation events. “

    You name it

    So? The IAEA is the agency with the expertise in cleaning up nuclear incidents and accidents so it is only reasonable that they be the one leading (the role of the IAEA does cover basically everything to do with civilian nuclear technology).

            Mikkai said:

    Good god, you really know nothing about the exploding cancer rates because of Chernobyl?

    Which (with the exception of probably most of the Thyroid cancers) likely would have happened even if Chernobyl had never exploded.

            Mikkai said:

    You’re thinking of a wrong way. IAEA / WHO / ICRP choose a total dose and divide it over the people. But a human embryo is defenseless against low radiation, 1000 tims less than the REFERENCE MAN (on which all dose limits depend). How about a REFERENCE EMBRYO. There would be only one dose limit from atomic reactors: ZERO.

    If that were the case why is that the people in Ramsar, Iran are fine?

            Mikkai said:

    Iodine 131 has a half life of 28 days – then it becomes Xenon 131. Iodine 131 gets absorbed by the body and concentrates inside of the thyorid. It can cause thyroid cancer and a lifelong hormone therapy with additional removal of the parathyroid. Just like it happened to many children after the Chernobyl atomic reactor explosion in 1986. Thyroid cancer is the only illness the IAEA accepts as an illness caused by radiation. The IAEA denies any link between any other kinds of disease, death or mutation and radiation.

    Rather funny, the IAEA does recognise acute radiation sickness and they also recognise increased leukaemia rates in those who were involved in the Chernobyl clean-up.

    Some cover-up for sure.

    Besides, why would the WHO and the IAEA need to cover up what the effects of Chernobyl were? After-all, it was a reactor which didn’t meet their safety standards.

            Mikkai said:

    During organ formation in the womb – organogenesis – can already 10 mSv (0.01 Sv) damage the embryo.

    Embryos are more fragile but they are not that fragile.

            Mikkai said:

    GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT!

    Turn your CAPS lock key off please.

    Also stop telling us to get our facts right when you can’t do it yourself.

    Now as for why this gag order crap is going around. What has basically happened is that Chernobyl wasn’t as bad as the anti-nuclear movement predicted (in fact it was considerably less worse than many other industrial accidents not involving nuclear energy) they dealt with it by making up some paranoid conspiracy theory (no more rational than the UN black helicopters are coming to take our guns away so many on the right wing love) so they could ignore the best evidence.

            Eric S. Smith said:

    [To Mikkai]
    What are you basing those projections on?

    Probably just made ‘em up.


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  40. 40
    Mikkai Says:

    WHO

    The WHO constitution describes 22 actions which are to enable it to obtain its medical goals. One can read that it is mandatory to give the widest possible information on health problems to the population so that it can come to its own conclusions.

    IAEO

    The main goal of the IAEO is ”to accelerate and promote the nuclear industry for peace, health and well-being of the whole world”. Almost
    by way of parenthesis it is underlined that the IAEA is also accountable for health in the field of nuclear industry.

    The contract WHA 12-40 of 1959

    The main point of the contract between WHO and IAEO: No public information on health problems when could influence the development of nuclear industry.

    This commitment to keep secrecy is however totally against the WHO statutes which state that the public be informed. Consequently, it seems that the world is being kept in the dark concerning risks from the nuclear industry or, so to say, protected from the truth. It will still be worse when it comes to information and protective measures regarding the expected waste from the nuclear industry, as was in the case after Chernobyl, because first of all the promoters of nuclear power plants will be financially protected (Prof. Dr. M. Fernex, France).

    “The peak of the number of concerned persons will only be visible by 2016. The heritage of Chernobyl will accompany us and our children,
    for generations” (Kofi Annan, former U.N. general secretary).

    He surely has the information from WHO. We want to know this, too

    GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT

    I wish everyone good health and a clear mind


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  41. 41
    Matthew Says:

    Mikkai,

    Are you talking about the same Kofi Annan whose family got massive kickbacks from Iraqi oil sales? A man with a major interest in fossil fuels isn’t exactly an unbiased source on other nuclear.


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  42. 42
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Mikkai said:

    CESIUM AND STRONTIUM 400 YEARS HL – explanation for the ones who don’t know:

    Half-life is only so that half of the radiation is gone. You have every half-life multiplied by ten in order to have an idea when this radioisotope is gone from the biological environment. That would be in strontium and cesium 400 years.

    No, you have no understanding of what half-life is. The “ten half life” thing is not really that important either. It’s a rule of thumb for when one estimates the levels of significant isotope presence to reach negligible levels. Obviously the levels are quite low even before that.

    The half life of Cs-137b and Sr-90 (I assume these being the isotopes you are talking about) are 30 and 28 years respectively.

    30 * 10 is not 400.

            Mikkai said:

    On 28th May 1959, the IAEA (not yet two years old !) and WHO signed an agreement referred to as “WHA 12-40” which, though it might, on paper, appear balanced and reciprocal, in practice, puts WHO in a subordinate position to the IAEA.

    The IAEA has no mandate what so ever of reactor safety or people’s health, but they act like they have it.

    This has been discussed here before. Your claim is blatantly false. None of the language of the 1959 agreement is binding to make the WHO have to keep anything secret. It just defines the role of each organization in the context of radiological health issues.

    The IAEA has only limited power when it comes to things like reactor safety and operations anyway. Those are generally issues which fall to the national government of the sovereign states that operate the reactors. The IAEA primarily gets involved when there are some kind of proliferation concerns or some event of international magnitude. Reactor safety falls to the respective regulatory agency of the national government.

            Mikkai said:

    You’re thinking of a wrong way. IAEA / WHO / ICRP choose a total dose and divide it over the people. But a human embryo is defenseless against low radiation, 1000 tims less than the REFERENCE MAN (on which all dose limits depend). How about a REFERENCE EMBRYO. There would be only one dose limit from atomic reactors: ZERO.

    And what would be the dose limit from natural radioactive substances or cosmic rays? I suppose pregnant women should be forbidden from flying in aircraft since that increases their exposure and also from having granite counter tops or eating bananas.

            Mikkai said:

    Iodine 131 has a half life of 28 days – then it becomes Xenon 131.

    No. It’s eight days. For Christ sake, if you’re going to spout this nonsense at least get the most basic facts like halflife right!

            Mikkai said:

    Don’t listen the physicians or engineers, listen to medics.

    Sorry, but I fail to see how someone who has received less than 500 hours of classroom training to qualify them to ride in the back of an ambulance is an authority on radiation and health, especially considering very little of it deals with radiation health effects.

    Nothing against medics, by the way. They’re life-savers and often heroes, but still, they are not exactly radiation experts.


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  43. 43
    Mikkai Says:

    This amount of clumsy and fals and unscientific data is too much for one person.
    But I’m impressed by your conviction and Sake.

    And as I would like to chat with you, the time is short.
    Get your facts right with some of my clips:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQZr8jbiGH0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YesWK0gKCdM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9JWgs1Dq9E

    It’s your choice.
    As for the classroom: I’m long out, are you?
    Ever witnessed the problems in Chernobyl zones?
    I have, many many times my dear. I work with all kinds of disabled persons – every day.
    Well, I call it a day. Have a good time.


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