Monthly Archives: August 2014

New document find confirms Australians used as tests subjects during British nuke tests.

From: “‘David Noonan’
Date: Saturday, 30 August 2014 1:30 PM

Subject: [beyondnuclear] Maralinga: British scientists used Aust’s ‘as nuclear guinea pigs’

British scientists used Australians ‘as nuclear guinea pigs’
BRITISH scientists secretly used the Australian population to test for radiation contamination after the nuclear tests at Maralinga in the 1950s, a new book confirms.

Colin James

• From: The Advertiser
• August 29, 2014 9:00PM

The crew of the Valiant bomber which dropped one of the nuclear bombs at Maralinga in October, 1956. Source: News Corp Australia
BRITISH scientists secretly used the Australian population to test for radiation contamination after the nuclear tests at Maralinga in the 1950s, a new book confirms.
Its author, Frank Walker, has obtained the minutes of a top secret meeting in England where the UK
tests on Australia and its citizens.
In his book, Maralinga, Walker details how the meeting at Harwell on May 24, 1957, decided to first obtain soil samples from pasture regions near Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to check for fallout from the nine nuclear bombs detonated at Maralinga and the Monte Bello Islands, off WA.
The second phase was to test vegetation, particularly grass and cabbage, and milk for the presence of the radioactive isotope, Strontium-90, a fission by-product of nuclear explosions.
The meeting was chaired by Professor Ernest Titterton, the nuclear scientist who oversaw the British nuclear tests in Australia.
According to the document obtained by Walker, Professor Titterton told the meeting he wanted to collect animal bones “to see if Strontium-90 is getting into domestic animals”.
The meeting decided to take bone samples from 12 sheep stations along a 800km path of fallout tracked by Royal Australian Air Force planes which flew into the mushroom clouds following each nuclear explosion at Maralinga.

The document found by author Frank Walker detailing the nuclear testing program on the Australian population. Source: British National Archives
Professor Titterton told the meeting that the final phase of the testing would be to determine if Strontium-90 was being absorbed by the Australian population.
“We have to find out if Strontium-90 is entering the food chain and getting into humans,” says the document, which has the file number DEFE 16/608.
The scientists then agreed to start testing the bones of dead Australian infants and children for radiation contamination.
“As many bones as possible are to be obtained,” says DEFE 16/608.
“The bones should be femurs. The required weight is 20-50 grams wet bone, subsequently ashed to provide samples of weight not less than two grams. The date of birth, age at death and locality of origin are to be reported.”
Professor Titterton said the bones would be crushed into a powder and sent to the UK for analysis along with the soil, animal samples and vegetation collected from the Australian testing sites.

The document found by author Frank Walker detailing the nuclear testing program on the Australian population. Source: British National Archives
As The Advertiser has previously reported, hundreds of bones were subsequently collected from the bodies of 21,830 dead babies, infants, children, teenagers and young adults across Australia without the knowledge of their parents.
The Strontium-90 testing program in Australia was the longest of its kind in the world, finally ending in 1978.
In September, 2001, following an extensive investigation by The Advertiser, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency revealed it had kept ash samples from bones collected from hospitals in Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.
In a report to the then federal health minister, Michael Wooldridge, the agency said it had detected varying levels of Strontium-90 in all Australian capital cities.

The document found by author Frank Walker detailing the nuclear testing program on the Australian population. Source: British National Archives

end quote. Thanks to David Noonan and Michelle Madigan for forwarding this.

Of course, history records that at the same time Titterton was assuring Australians that fallout from the nuke tests would not reach us, he was at the same time consorting with the British despite his role of safety officer for the bomb tests. And at the same time he was organising to track fallout arriving in the major cities and crop and meat/milk pastures, he was engaged in harassing Dr Hedley Marston. Marston, via correspondence with Sir Mark Oliphant (formerly of the Manhattan Project, had exchanged their views relating to the risks and harms of fallout in the food chain.

The British had asked Marston to assist in collecting fallout data, a task he was deeply suspicious of, and in my reading of the recently published material, determined to act on his authority via the Australian CSIRO as much as from the authority of the British instructions. He hence brought a touch of autonomy to his research, and soon clashed with British authorities and the (now proven) British agent in Australian pay, Prof Ernest Titterton.

Hedley had undertaken volumetric air sampling from the CSIRO building in Adelaide, and had started collecting sheep thyroids from across Australia. His findings were startling. Titterton insisted on “peer reviewing” Marston’s work, delaying it for months. He insisted Marston make changes. This Marston resisted. However the government of the day came to view Marston as a Communist threat, and started intercepting his mail. The volumetric testing conducted by Marston in Adelaide resulted in Titterton and the British confiscating the British radiation detecting equipment Marston was using.

This despite the fact that it was Australia which was paying Titterton his wage to oversee the safety of the tests.

Marston, under the auspices of the CSIRO, was conducting the only independent monitoring and it was shut down.

Marston found that huge swathes of Australia were contaminated by fallout, and he established this by his nationwide survey of sheep thyroids. His volumetric testing of Adelaide revealed a huge increase in radiation over natural background, more than 1,000 times. He found that sheep thyroids as far south as Victor Harbour contains large doses of Iodine 131. He discussed with Oliphant how to extrapolate from the Iodine reading the extent of Strontium 90 contamination.

Prof. Roger Cross (Wakefield Press, Adelaide) found letters and journals written by Hedley Marston in which he writes of his concern about Strontium 90. He wrote “The proof (of the strontium contamination) will be found in the bones of children”.

At the same time Titterton, on behalf of Great Britain, was organizing the theft of still born baby bones, bones of children, bones of adults who had died from death and illness. Pathologists later became to be paid for their services. Some of the Australian human bones were sent to the US (under the US Project Sunshine strontium survey under AEC’s Libby), some were sent to England. Later, in an arrangement with the USA, Australia began processing the human bones itself, reporting the results to the USA via Libby.

The scandal of Titterton aiding a foreign power (England) while being in charge of nuclear safety as directed by Australia was revealed during the Royal Commission into the bomb tests in 1984. At that time Titterton admitted that he with held information from Australia because he was subject to the secrecy oaths of both the United States and England.

Prior to this admission, the harassment of Marston by British interests, including Titterton, took its toll on Marston’s health. The general public in those days did not read scientific journals. Marston’s paper was eventually published in Stock journal aimed at farmers, and the August 1958 Australian Journal of Biological Sciences. By this time, the manuscript was nearly two years old, a delay one can put down to British interference via Prof Ernest Titterton.

In the 1960s, after the cessation of the British nuclear tests, the Australian Atomic Weapons Safety Committee (AWSTC) did publish the findings of fallout contamination in food and human bones. Not many members of the general public had access to these documents, even though they were not classified.

I have previously published a couple of these in my Nuclear History blog:

(Source: “Report, AWTSC No. 2, Atomic Weapons Test Safety Committee, “Strontium 90 and Caesium 137 in the Australian Environment During 1969 and some results for 1970” “. May 1971, Commonwealth of Australia.) The first line of the table above shows the following:
In 1969 authorities had collected the bones of 108 deceased babies. The ages of these babies at time of death ranged from stillbirth to 1 month old.
None of these babies had spent very much time living outside of the womb. All these suffered radio strontium in their bones.
In the case of those babies who were pronounced “stillbirths”, no time at all had been spent living outside the womb. The conclusion from this is that in the case of the still born babies and babies who were being nursed at the breast prior to their illness and deaths (hence their availability to the British and US human bone hunters), the only route by which fallout strontium (6 isotopes. Sr90 is one of 6 types, including Sr89), was the mother’s soft tissue (breast) and blood (placenta). How then in the case of reproducing and nursing human females can authorities claim Sr90 (and the other five Sr isotopes (Sr**) “goes only to bone”? It does not. While adult bone is one of the least radio sensitive tissues, this is not true of bone marrow, breast, lymph tissue, reproductive orgains. The bones of the developing baby in the womb are radiosensitive.

All these aspects were researched by Pecher, UC Berkeley (Lawrence rad lab) in the period 1939 to 1941. There he worked alongside Hamilton and Libby. Yet nuclear authorities claim surprise at the early proof of Marston’s findings. Marston was not in a vacuum in this regard. The Adelaide University library catalogue clearly shows Marston had access to Pecher’s work for the entire period 1939 -1942, when the publications arrived at the university on time despite the war.

It is not surprising then that Marston knew that Sr** would show up in the bones of children, as he wrote, as found by Prof Cross.

Here is the Australian Journal of Science paper written by the staff of the Australian Atomic Weapons Test Safety Committee, including Titterton, in 1962. The fallout is blamed on global fallout, though a substantial amount is no doubt the result of the British weapons tests conducted in Australia. The publication is just prior to a major conference held at Cornell University on the Movement of Strontium and Calcium Across Biological Membranes. This important conference confirmed the need for the cessation of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. Titterton did not attend it.

Here are some papers by Dr Pecher, UC Berkeley, Lawrence Rad Lab, 1939 – 1941 (last publication was posthumous, in 1942, just beating, thanks to Brucer, the military censors. Dr. Pecher died by his own hand.) :

During the 1950s the United Kingdom used Australians as guinea pigs, all the while knowing what would happen. The British and their agent in Australia knew the truth from the US record. Pecher’s work was open knowledge in scientific circles from Iceland, to Moscow, to Adelaide University. These places received the publications as routine. By the start of the nuclear weapons test regime in the USA, in around 1948, the work of Pecher was used in a classified manner. This includes his human data. Ernest Lawerence maintained two archives on Pecher, one open, the other secret. The weaponisation of medicine began in 1942, and the route by which fallout, including Strontium isotopes, entered the foodchain was worked out in detail.

The pretense of ignorance in these matters, as communicated by the press releases issued by British interests and agents in Australia pursuant to “keeping the atomic bomb testing safe” from public opinion was just that – a pretense, a lie.

As Barry Commoner proved in the USA with the help of the Mothers of St Louis, as Hedley Marston proved in Australia, with the help, I suggest, of both the Pecher papers and Sir Mark Oliphant, who, after 1942, worked at Pecher’s old haunt, the Lawrence Rad Lab, UC Berkeley. Known also at that time as the Crocker Lab. They made radio stronium prior to the advent of fission via cyclotron.

It’s a circle game in which nuclear “authorities” pretend they dont know the harms of their activities, and so demand proof of dissenters.

Just as they are now doing in Japan. In my opinion. Just ask Timothy Mousseau and others.

Although the secret harvesting of human bones in Australia was known of at the highest level at the time, and since, the general public were not aware. Although Libby of the US AEC was forced, by the Castle Bravo H bomb disaster in the Marshall Islands, to make some disclosures to Americans about the strontium survey, the same did not apply in Australia. Titterton reigned supreme for many years, even until the 1970s French thermo nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

However, various professionals were aware that human bones were secretly being taken by Australian nuclear authorities, on behalf of Australian, British and US authorities. The major Australian hospital pathology units were paid in secret for this human tissue harvesting.

Relatives were unknowingly burying incomplete corpses of their loved ones. In the era, still born babies born to unwed mothers were buried, generally, in unmarked graves.

It was in the 1980s that Australian nuclear veterans (Atomic ExServicemen’s Association) published an article in their periodical, “Atomic Fallout”, about this secret and immoral use of human tissue. A program of such secrecy and abuse of the dead and the living that it plainly breaches the Nuremberg Protocols.

It was not to be until the 20th century that major media picked up on the story. When it did the outcry was enormous. In particularly I recall in around 2000 that the disclosures caused great distress among members of the organisation called SANDS, and organisation which provides support for miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death (

This was during the era of the Howard government. By 2001 the Federal government had to respond to the disclosures successive Australian governments had managed, using every trick including the instrument of media control called the “D” notice, to muzzle the press from 1952 until the 20th century. (D notice system of media control:

As a result of the public uproar and outright and distress, the government issued following statement in 2001:

“Media Release

Dr Michael Wooldridge
Minister for Health and Aged Care

5 September 2001


The Federal Government has today referred a report by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) into Australia’s participation in a global nuclear monitoring program to the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC).

Between 1957 and 1978 Australia had a program for measuring strontium-90 (a radioisotope associated with nuclear testing) contamination in the environment.

“While this important research program was public knowledge at the time, I share the concerns of many Australians today about the ethics of not seeking the informed consent of next of kin for the use of human bone samples in the monitoring program,” Dr Wooldridge said on releasing the ARPANSA Report.

“It must be remembered that these events occurred in a different era when it was not common practice to seek the consent of family members for these kind of studies and that is why I asked ARPANSA to examine the records regarding the monitoring program.

“I am informed that the former Australian Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee, which coordinated this program, kept records, which included in many cases, the identity of the human samples used. ARPANSA is currently completing the process of collating these records.

“I am now referring the issue of how to best make this information publicly available to the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Health Ethics Committee. AHEC is expected to provide advice by the end of the year on establishing proper ethical protocols so that family members can gain more detailed information about the program,” Dr Wooldridge said.

The Report shows that Commonwealth officials requested hospital pathologists to participate in the fallout monitoring program. Most pathologists in hospitals in mainland Australia and the Northern Territory who were asked were willingly involved as a public service.

The CEO of ARPANSA, Dr Loy, has written to the States involved and the NT providing them with the report and with the names of the laboratories involved for whatever further action they may wish to take.

The Report shows that for the first few years of the program, ashed human samples were sent to laboratories overseas (USA and the UK) for measurement as Australia did not have suitable equipment for measuring strontium-90. However, during the 1960s this capability became available and subsequent samples were analysed in Australia.

The results of the global research effort showed that humans were being adversely affected by radioactive fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons and the monitoring program contributed to the eventual banning of atmospheric testing throughout the world.” end quote.

The fact is the human bone harvesting program revealed nothing not known by Pecher from 1939-1941.

Were the Minister sincere in 2001 he would have known the names of the people “adversely affected”. In 2006 the Federal government excluded Aboriginal people from its health survey of those affected by the British nuclear bombing of Australia. The Minister wrote to me and explained the broken promise, the exclusion, was due to the fact that the government “did not know the names of the people affected”.

Had the authorities been sincere in 1952, the British ships containing the first British nuclear bomb would never have left for Monte Bello Islands.

Citizens warned governments around the world, including Australia, of the danger and folly of nuclear testing prior to the first bombs being detonated after 1945. In the US, authorities responded, for example, by confiscating the passport of the US born Linus Pauling, to prevent him from traveling and spreading his anti nuclear message. It was only returned, due to world outrage, just in time for Pauling to receive his third Noble Prize.

In Australia, Marston was harassed, spied upon, called a liar, unscientific and a communist. ASIO agents trailed him and steamed open his letters, all under the advise of the British agent, Titterton.

In Japan today it is well recorded that since the first nuclear reactor there, those scientists who disagree with nuclear power have been similarly harassed and denied economic and social justice. People have been jailed for protesting the burning of nuclear waste in areas previously unaffected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the disaster foreseen in type by the US AEC in 1967. And even then, in public they denied it could ever happen, in flat contradiction to their rare and hard to get publications (“The Ergen Report”, AEC, 1967).

To say, as the Australian government did, in 2001 that the secret stealing of baby bones helped stopped the bombs and proved harm is nonsense. The harms were known in 1942. Predicated by extension of the work of Pecher. Yet all the while, from 1942 to 1962, nuclear ‘authorities claimed there was to be no harm”. On who’s order? Only on the suppression of open knowledge of science did it work.

Further to the Australian documents:

A brief quote form:

Payment of a bonus for the collection of samples


“At this stage of the program the payment of a bonus of $50 to hospitals providing specimens was proposed:

“I have given a good deal of thought to the desirability of providing your technicians with at least some compensation for their efforts on our behalf. In the past there has been an obvious reluctance to accept such an offer, no doubt on account of the nature of the material and the purpose for which the specimen s are intended. However several factors lead me to reopen the question; for example, many technicians have already made considerable contribution to the bone survey with no payment from us and, in some instances it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain an interest, with a tendency for specimens to be overlooked. We intend continuing the survey from some years and are anxious to maintain an adequate coverage of the population…

Perhaps compensation would best be in the form of an annual or six monthly bonuses paid to the technicians on our behalf through a hospital/laboratory account. Direct payment by us has unfortunate overtones and too much of the appearance of buying tissue; furthermore there are several statutory difficulties in us making payments of that sort. If it is not possible to operate through a hospital/laboratory account for this purposes, perhaps you could accept the sum, say, for “pathological services”, and pass it on to your technicians on our behalf.


28 Letter from JR Moroney dated 9 July 1969

29 Letter from JR Moroney dated 3 November 1969

30 Letter from JR Moroney dated 3 November 1969″

end quote.

The full text of the ARPANSA document is no longer available for download from the Australian government. Having had its fifteen minutes of fame in the early 21 century, we are now supposed to forget all about.

While in Japan, the question of which cattle have been dissected and how many humans have been similarly studied since March 2011 remains an unasked question.

Has Japan undertaken its own “Project Sunshine” in the wake of Fukushima? Reactors are not atomic bombs, but, without dispute, they both create waves of fallout. No doubt at all.


Experts clash on Fukushima radiation effects

Al Jazeera

Experts clash on Fukushima radiation effects
Some scientists say authorities in favour of nuclear energy tend to deny the negative results of researchers.
John Boyd Last updated: 30 Aug 2014 07:39

In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on 11 March 2011, the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima was badly wrecked in a series of meltdowns and explosions that severely damaged three reactors and one spent-fuel pool.

The accident released enormous quantities of radionuclides (radioactive material) into the atmosphere and the sea. This led to the government setting up exclusion zones in regions around the plant and the evacuation of over 155,000 residents.

Three years on, calculating the injurious effects of this radiation on plant, animal and human health has become a matter of controversy, as different groups of researchers reach different conclusions.

Negative data ignored?

A broad scientific study by a United Nations committee, released earlier this year, was widely criticized by independent researchers for its generally benign findings and lack of reference to the negative data cited in a number of specific scientific studies published earlier. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) report on the health impact of the Fukushima accident was signed by 80 scientists and published in April.

In respect to plants and animals, for instance, the UN report concluded, “Accumulated doses (of radiation over the first two months following the accident) were estimated to have fallen short of levels found to cause observable effects…” And for longer term effects, the report noted that while some individuals in species may have been harmed, the effects on plants and animals ” at the population level were considered unlikely to be observable.”

But such statements were made “with the complete absence of any supporting documentation”, said Timothy Mousseau, a professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina, one of many researchers troubled by such conclusions.

In response to the criticism, Carl-Magnus Larsson, Chair of UNSCEAR pointed out to Al Jazeera that the committee “used data that had been published in the open literature, and some data that had not been published at the time”, and then, “synthesized it for an overall assessment.” So UNSCEAR’s “mandate is for scientific review” of available scientific findings, not conducting its own field research, Larsson explained.

By contrast, Mousseau, as a member of a multidisciplinary group of scientists called the Chernobyl + Fukushima Research Initiative (CFRI), relies heavily on field studies for its reports. CFRI has extensively studied the consequences of radioactive contamination on animals at Chernobyl, the site of the devastating 1986 nuclear accident in Ukraine, and has conducted 10 similar studies in Fukushima since 2011.

Speaking to the foreign press in Tokyo on August 22, following CFRI’s latest findings, Mousseau noted that some half-dozen studies indicating the negative effects of Fukushima radiation had been released before the UNSCEAR report and many more related to Chernobyl effects, “which are quite similar in terms of the radiation and consequences”. Yet these reports “were clearly ignored” by UNSCEAR, which had to be out of “deliberate ignorance”, Mousseau said.

Other scientists agree with him. “Authorities in favour of nuclear energy tend to deny the negative results of researchers,” said Tetsuji Imanaka, an assistant professor of nuclear science at Kyoto University. “This happened after the Chernobyl accident when local scientists in Ukraine and Belarus reported the damaging effects of radiation.”

Only when the evidence became overwhelming, did the authorities acknowledge the results, he said. “And a similar denial is taking place now with Fukushima,” added Imanaka, who has visited the Chernobyl and Fukushima accident sites many times to conduct radiation contamination studies.

Butterfly genetic damage

One UNSCEAR omission Mousseau singled out is the study by scientists from Okinawa of the pale grass blue butterfly in the Fukushima contaminated zones, which he said has become “an important point of reference that should have been made in the UNSCEAR report”.

This study, published 9 August 2012 in the journal Scientific Reports, documented a variety of mutations occurring in the butterflies over time and concluded, “that artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant caused physiological and genetic damage to this species”.

UNSCEAR’s Larsson denies the charge.

“This article was used and discussed in the report. But it contained only a few field-based observations on effects that could be reliably linked to robust dosimetry.”

In other words the report’s findings were not sufficiently strong enough that UNSCEAR could declare with any degree of certainty that radiation was causing widespread damage to the species.

“One cannot draw firm conclusions on the basis of a few limited studies,” said Larsson. This is why, he added, UNSCEAR has stressed the need for more studies to better describe the relationship between radiation dosage and its effects on plants and animals.

Referring to CFRI studies, Mousseau noted that ecosystems around Fukushima are experiencing similar negative impacts as previously witnessed in Chernobyl.

“When we look at the high radiation areas (in Chernobyl), the numbers of birds are depressed by two-thirds,” said Mousseau. “And the same basic pattern holds for a variety of insects.”

In Fukushima, too, CFRI researchers observed that some bird species were already decreasing in numbers in hot zones, compared to adjacent clean zones, as early as July 2011, though the majority of species showed little impact. But by 2012 many more species were negatively affected. And, over three years of counting since the accident, the researchers found that the total numbers of birds in affected areas had declined in a consistent pattern, with the effects increasing over time.

Abundance of data

“Contrary to governmental reports,” said Mousseau, “there is now an abundance of information demonstrating consequences – in other words, injury – to individuals, populations, species and ecosystem functions stemming from the low dose radiation due to the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters.”

So why does this matter?

“We cannot make a direct connection between these findings and human beings,” acknowledged Imanaka. “But they are a signal or a warning for us human beings. This is why we have to conduct research on plants and animals.”

Medical research is, of course, conducted on animals precisely because they share fundamental biological properties with humans, while science has shown that we share 99 percent of our DNA sequence with chimpanzees.

“So, of course, what we see happening in plants and animals has relevance for humans,” Mousseau said. The major difference, he notes, “is that the human populations in Fukushima are not facing the same level of exposures as the animals we’re working with”. Given this, “humans will have a much lower dose rate, [and] they are likely to require much longer for such consequences to show up.”

Mousseau emphasized that he is not an anti-nuclear activist, nor is he claiming that those in authority are attempting to minimize the danger of what is taking place in Fukushima. “Rather, what I am is an activist for evidence-based policy related to the environment,” he explained.

In this respect, he called for an international effort to fund and document the full range of biological consequences related to radiation in the Fukushima environment.

A key point here, he noted, especially as it relates to the contrary government reports, “is that this effort must be led by independent scientists who are committed to rigorous, unbiased analysis of the present situation with the goal of predicting long-term impacts”.

end quote.

Scientists since 1945 have raised similar observations – of illness, of environmental degradation and change from nuclear pollution, in contradiction to nuclear authority claims of nuclear safety.

Its Bullshit that modern nuclear authorities do not know the negative impacts. It is an excuse to demand more privately funded research. Funding which is a drop in the ocean compared to the resources of the nuclear industry and government.

Ask a nuclear veteran how often their government has demanded that the veteran prove their radiogenic illness is caused by nuclear exposure. Its the same dynamic.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, August/September 1986.

Fukushima disaster bill more than $105bn, double earlier estimate

RT NEWS 27 Aug. 2014

The tragedy at the Fukushima nuclear plant will cost 11.08 trillion yen ($105 billion), twice as much as Japanese authorities predicted at the end of 2011, says the study. The expenses include radiation clean-up and compensation to residents.

The research was led by Kenichi Oshima, environmental economics professor at Ritsumeikan University, and Masafumi Yokemoto, professor of environment policy at Osaka City University. They calculated the costs based on the data released by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

The figures of the research say that the expenses will include 4.91 trillion yen ($47 billion) for compensation to residents in the affected area of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, reports Kyodo news.

A further 2.48 trillion yen ($23 billion) will be involved in the radiation cleanup of the territories, 2.17 trillion yen to scrap the disaster-hit plant and 1.06 trillion yen for the temporal storage of radioactive soil.

Fukushima nuclear meltdown worse than initially reported – TEPCO

The estimates released by Oshima and Yokemoto are twice as high as those from the national authorities, who estimated them at 5.8 trillion yen in 2011. The professors included some expenses that, according to the government were hard to estimate.

“The costs for the accident are designed to be borne by the people through taxes and utility bills,” Oshima said.

According to the researchers, the figure (11.08 trillion yen) does not include costs for the final disposal of radioactive substances, compensation and plant decommissioning.

There will be also extra 5 trillion yen ($48 billion) for the decontamination of the crippled Fukushima plant, which is twice as much as initial estimates.

“Nuclear plant operators would become less able to make a right business judgment under the situation where the state covers the costs of accidents, as they cannot recognize risks of nuclear power generation,” said Oshima.

TEPCO has been struggling with the consequences of the post-earthquake and tsunami nuclear leak for three years now, without notable success and with much blame directed at it for the mishandling of the crisis.

The company is now paying compensation to people affected by the Fukushima crippled plant. The compensation money is provided from the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. The fund raised its limit of its pay-out to 9 trillion yen.

The recent ruling of the Japanese court says that TEPCO will have to pay 49 million yen ($472,000) to widower Mikio Watanabe, a resident of Fukushima Prefecture. His wife suffered severe depression in the wake of the tragedy, and committed suicide by dousing herself in gasoline and setting herself on fire.

Earlier in August, TEPCO announced that the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi’s third reactor building was even worse than initially believed. After experts studied conditions surrounding the fuel core, they found out that the reactor’s cooling system stopped functioning more than five hours earlier than previously estimated. As a result, the meltdown would have started around that same time period.

The story of Hamako Watanabe’s suicide

The Guardian newspapers has reported that a Japanese court has ordered Tepco to pay damages to the family of Hamako Watanabe, who tragically took her own life as a result of the contamination of the family house and land by Tepco’s nuclear fallout:

Fukushima suicide victim’s family wins damages
Family of Hamako Watanabe, who fled nuclear disaster and later doused herself in petrol,
successfully sue plant operator Tepc

Agence France-Presse in Tokyo, Tuesday 26 August 2014 18.03 AEST

“The family of a Japanese woman who fatally set herself on fire after being forced to flee the nuclear disaster at Fukushima has been awarded nearly £285,000 in damages, according to reports.

It was the first time that the operator of the stricken plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), has been ordered to pay compensation for a suicide linked to the 2011 nuclear disaster.”

Mark Willacy describes in some detail the suffering of Hamako and her husband in his book “Fukushima”, Language: English ASIN: B00DGLB18A, Kindle edition. 2013.
The following partial quotes are from this book by Mr. Willacy:

“..Yamakiya, 40 kilometres north-west of the Fukushima Di-iachi nuclear plant. But the meltdowns forced the 12 families to flee. “A community official came about five or six weeks after the disaster and told us this was a radiation hotspot and was designated as a dangerous zone,” Mikio (Wanatabe, the husband of Hamako) recalled. “They said they could not let people live here.”

“Mikio and Hamako,his wife of 39 years, were forced to shift into an apartment in Fukushima City. Hamako hated it, complaining that the walls were so thin that she could hear every word the neighbours said. The Watanabe’s were country people, so the absence of space, the abundance of noise ….were making their new life as nuclear refugees in the city especially miserable. They has also lost their jobs. The chicken farm where they worked for years closed down, because it too was in an evacuation zone. ….

“Mikio was worried. His wife was clearly slipping deeper into depression. She sobbed almost every day…what will happen to us? When can we go home? How can we live without a job? What about the mortgage we can’t pay on the house we can’t live in?….

“He had never seen Hamako like this. They had known each other for as long as they could remember….

“But never had Mikio Watanabe been more worried about his wife than right now. So, when she had begged Mikio to let her come home to Yamakiya just for one night, he agreed. One night’s worth of radiation won’t hurt us, he thought.

So they were sitting on their veranda, sipping a beer, watching the light fade. They had spent the day cutting away vines and clearing as many weeds they could. Hamako had dusted the house and laid out their beds. It was a huge home, with polished wooden floors, cedar panel ceilings and a 16-tatami-mat room at its centre…The only sound was the crickets in the overgrown paddy field…..They could no longer see their contaminated land. It was dark outside.” (ibid, pp 165 – 168)

Willacy continues:

“….It had just gone 6am, and already (Mikio) had cleared another patch of his overgrown property of weeds. Later today, he and Hamako would have to leave their home inside the nuclear evacuation zone and drive back to Fukushima City to that noisy little box. Mikio knew he would have a fight on his hands to get his wife to come with him, because Hamako was still threatening to stay here on her own. She didn’t care about radiation. This is going to be terrible, thought Mikio, as he remembered last night……

“As Mikio turned a corner around the side of the house, he could see a large fire under the canopy of one of their cherry trees. It was below the edge of the driveway so he couldn’t see what was burning. Hamako must be getting rid of one those old futons, he thought…..

“As he approached the cherry tree, he could see smoke still rising. Then he got to the lip of the driveway and looked down. It was Hamako. She was lying on the ground under the cherry tree and she was on fire. Her legs and torso were burning. She was bloated and parts of her were burnt black. Her arms were spread out, and her face was horribly distorted. Hamako’s mouth was open, and flies were swarming around her lips. Mikio leapt down the driveway embankment and started slapping the flames with his hands. He could feel Hamako’s scorched skin. It was burning him. The flames would not go out, so he ran back up the embankment and filled a large bucket with water. But Mikio knew it was too late. The little girl he had played with in the mountains as a child, who became his wife of 39 years and the mother of their three children, was dead.”

“She used gasoline,” Mikio told me later, “I think she died quickly without too much pain.” The 62 year old was close to tears. He told the story of the death of his wife slowly, deliberately.

“…next to the altar was a large photograph of Hamako Watanabe in a canary yellow blouse. She was smiling. It was taken before the nuclear disaster drove her from her home. “If that Tepco accident at hadn’t happened, we would still be living a normal life,” said Mikio. “Hamako must have thought there was no hope left in her life.”

Mikio Watanabe was just one of 160,000 Fukushima evacuees seeking compensation from TEPCO. (By September 2012, TEPCO had received 940,000 claims from people and businesses inside and outside of Fukushima.) But it was hardly a straightforward process. The 58 page compensation application form came with a 158 page “explanation pamphlet”. TEPCO was demanding actual (not copied) receipts for transport and other fees incurred during evacuation, as well as bank and tax statements detailing pre-disaster income (which for many evacuees were still sitting in drawers inside their contaminated homes in the no-go zone.) …..TEPCO would be roundly denounced for being a corporate scrooge. The company would later acknowledge that it had made life even more difficult for people who had already lost their homes, livelihoods and communities.”

“Hamako suffered so much. I want TEPCO to know why she died, how hopelessness triggered her death. I feel such a deep rage. If I sit and do nothing, my wife would have died in vain.”
(ibid, pp 187 -191 Mark Willacy. “Fukushima”. Amazon, kindle edition.)

Nuclear advocates maintain the nuclear disaster was minor, that no one died because of the disaster.

Despite decades long campaigns of propaganda falsely asserting the safety of nuclear industry, that industry contaminated large swathes of land in Japan. Homes, farms, businesses and communities were lost as a result. The industry spawned and guarded a culture in which any dissent was met with punishment and denial.

The Watanabe family were untouched by the natural disaster in Japan of March 2011. Their lives were wrecked, possessions lost, because of the man made and predicted (Nader, Abbott, Ergen, Lapp) disaster foreseen prior to 1967.

All a reactor has to do is boil water. 212 degrees F. How could anyone approve a devise which is capable of transforming itself into a blast furnace, able to melt steel, uranium, plutonium and able to spread myriad radioactive poisons as fallout and polluted water over the tiny living space of Japan?

No doubt TEPCO will appeal the decision in favor of the Watanabe family.

I have quoted the minimum from Mr. Willacy’s book, “Fukushima”. It is a very valuable book, which presents the human and technical aspects of the disaster very well.

It does not cover the fires in fuel pool 4 but that is the only omission as far as I can see.

Fukushima’s radiation victims

Deutsche Welle, German National Broadcaster.

Fukushima’s radiation victims

The residents of the evacuated Japanese town of Namie near the crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima were
contaminated with radiation. They have now taken the responsibility for their health into their own hands.

When Minako Fujiwara tells the story of her dog which died last June, she still gets sad.

“Hair around the dog’s neck came off and its skin turned black,” the 56-year-old told DW. Similar symptoms were also detected in animals in Chernobyl following the nuclear catastrophe there in 1986. Fujiwara’s family had to leave the dog behind when they were ordered to leave the town of Namie, located nine kilometres (5.6 miles) north of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The pet probably died of high radiation.

Fujiwara has so far not experienced any health problems except for high blood pressure. But Shunji Sekine, a physician in Namie, believes the radiation will eventually have a negative impact on public health.

In his medical practice in the city of Nihonmatsu, where around 230 relocated families are situated in a settlement, Sekine has been examining the thyroid glands of Namie citizens on a daily basis ever since the nuclear incident three years ago.

“Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to the uptake in radioactive iodine in their thyroid,” the 71-year-old doctor told DW.

High number of cancer cases

“Although comprehensive studies are missing, I see a connection between nuclear accidents and the occurrence of cancer,” said the retired physician who specializes in thyroid and breast cancer, adding that there are simply too many cases.

According to official figures, 33 cancer cases have been identified in about a quarter of a million children and teenagers since the beginning of February.

This translates into 13 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants, a figure almost four times higher than the world average for all age groups. Nevertheless, the government of the Prefecture of Fukushima refuses to publish any relevant details about the prevalence of cancer. Information requests made by Sekine pertaining to previous cancer cases among children and the degree of contamination remain unanswered, with authorities citing data protection laws.

But Shunichi Yamashita, Japan’s top thyroid expert and health advisor to the prefectural government, plays down the issue. “We still need to conduct further investigations, and the time is not yet ripe for making any statement on this issue,” he said.

A fence marks the exclusion zone in Namie, some nine kilometers from the crippled nuclear plant

Mute authorities

But the city of Namie does not want to wait for government support – and once again become victims of a state blackout. Only four days after the explosion of the nuclear reactor, orders were given to evacuate the town of Tsushima in the northwest. This led to the refugees being transported through the invisible radioactive cloud, resulting in even more exposure to contamination than if they had stayed at home. Officials in Tokyo knew this from their computer models. But they remained silent, as they feared a widespread panic.

This traumatic experience has led Namie to collect as much data as possible on the effects of radiation, says local health inspector Norio Konno. “We want to be able to properly monitor the physical condition of our residents,” he said. In case compensation claims were to be filed against plant operator Tepco, evidence is needed that will stand up in a court of law.

Doctor Sekine examines the thyroid gland of a toddler

This is why Namie decided to provide a full-body scanner to the residents of the Nihonmatsu settlement. All people under 40 years of age can use the device once a year to measure the amount of cesium 134 and 137 in their bodies. By comparison, the Japanese state offers this service only once every two years.

‘Victims have no future’

About half of the town’s population refuses to take part in the examination. Kazue Yamagi, for instance, says her 21-year-old daughter doesn’t want to undergo a thyroid exam. “Ever since she left Fukushima, she has avoided watching the news on TV. She doesn’t want to get married and says there is no future for victims of radioactivity,” Yamagi told DW.

The idea is perhaps not as far-fetched as it seems. To this day, the “Hibakusha,” as the surviving victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are called, have been marginalized in Japan, together with their descendants. This is why local health inspector Konno demands legislation designed to support the victims of the disaster. “The people of Namie also feel like Hibakusha, like radiation victims.”

Konno therefore decided to issue radiation passports to all residents, just as the ones used inHiroshima and Nagasaki. A column in the passport reminds of the need to do a medical check-up for leukemia.

Two cases of thyroid cancer have been confirmed among the 3200 young residents of Namie. Shinji Tokonami, a radiation expert at Hirosaki University, was surprised by the findings. “That is more than expected”, he said, adding that the reason behind this might be the increased precision of the measuring instruments.

The expert has a theory as to why the number of thyroid cancer cases is not higher. He believes the iodine-containing seaweed consumed by the coast dwellers somehow prevents the thyroid glands of many youngsters from being affected by the radioactive iodine from the crippled nuclear plant.

Fukushima Report Questions US Nuclear Safety Culture

Fukushima Report Questions US Nuclear Safety Culture

By Brandon T. Bisceglia | August 13th 2014

It wasn’t explicitly tasked by Congress with assessing the safety culture of nuclear facilities.

Nevertheless, an extensive new report written by the Committee on Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants devoted an entire chapter to the issue.

The report, published by the National Academies Press, recommends that regulators such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission guard against erosion of their independence from outside influences, that regulators and industry continually monitor safety culture, and that both increase their transparent communication with the public about efforts to assess and improve safety culture. SEE

“The committee quickly came to understand that the lack of a strong nuclear safety culture was an important contributing factor to the Fukushima Daiichi accident,” the authors write in the chapter’s introduction. “The committee also came to appreciate the important role that nuclear safety culture plays in nuclear plant operations and regulations in the United States.”

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility was heavily damaged on March 11, 2011 by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The shore-hugging plant flooded and lost power. Three reactors suffered severe core damage. Hydrogen explosions occurred in three reactor buildings. The hobbled plant leaked radiation, stoking fears in Japan and abroad. Since then, efforts have been underway to clean the site and dismantle the plant.

Unit 4 of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Dec. 18, 2012. The remains of the building’s upper levels, which were destroyed by a hydrogen explosion, were removed to allow for construction of a cover so that fuel stored in the unit’s spent fuel pool could be moved to a common pool. Photo by Gill Tudor / IAEA. Some rights reserved.

The Crushing Effects Of Radiation From The Fukushima Disaster On The Ecosystem Are Being Slowly Revealed

BUSINESS INSIDER. Chris Pash Aug 15 2014.

The Crushing Effects Of Radiation From The Fukushima Disaster On The Ecosystem Are Being Slowly Revealed

Cattle graze in the distance at Masami Yoshizawa’s cattle farm where protest signs cover the landscape close to the devastated Fukushima plant. Masami Yoshizawa who runs the sanctuary, ‘Ranch of Hope’ for contaminated cattle, leads the movement among self-sacrificing farmers to protect cattle that were left behind in the exclusion zone in Fukushima after the nuclear disaster of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following the earthquake and tsunami in March 11, 2011. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

A range of scientific studies at Fukushima have begun to reveal the impact on the natural world from the radiation leaks at the power station in Japan caused by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Biological samples were obtained only after extensive delays following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown, limiting the information which could be gained about the impact of that disaster.

Scientists, determined not to repeat the shortcomings of the Chernobyl studies, began gathering biological information only a few months after the meltdown of the Daiichi power plant in 2011.

Results of these studies are now beginning to reveal serious biological effects of the Fukushima radiation on non-human organisms ranging from plants to butterflies to birds.

A series of articles summarising these studies has now been published in the Journal of Heredity. These describe widespread impacts, ranging from population declines to genetic damage to responses by the repair mechanisms that help organisms cope with radiation exposure.

“A growing body of empirical results from studies of birds, monkeys, butterflies, and other insects suggests that some species have been significantly impacted by the radioactive releases related to the Fukushima disaster,” says Dr Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina, lead author of one of the studies.

Common to all of the published studies is the hypothesis that chronic (low-dose) exposure to ionizing radiation results in genetic damage and increased mutation rates in reproductive and non-reproductive cells.

One of the studies documented the effects of radiation on rice by exposing healthy seedlings to low-level gamma radiation at a contaminated site in Fukushima Prefecture.

After three days, a number of effects were observed, including activation of genes involved in self-defense, ranging from DNA replication and repair to stress responses to cell death.

“The experimental design employed in this work will provide a new way to test how the entire rice plant genome responds to ionizing radiation under field conditions,” says Dr Randeep Rakwal of the University of Tsukuba in Japan, one of the authors of the study.

Another team of researchers examined the response of the pale grass blue butterfly, one of the most common butterfly species in Japan, to radiation exposure at the Fukushima site.

They found size reduction, slowed growth, high mortality and morphological abnormality both at the Fukushima site and among laboratory-bred butterflies with parents collected from the contaminated site.

“Non-contaminated larvae fed leaves from contaminated host plants collected near the reactor showed high rates of abnormality and mortality,” says Dr Joji Otaki of the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan.

Some of their results suggested the possible evolution of radiation resistance in Fukushima butterflies as well.

A review of genetic and ecological studies for a range of other species at both Chernobyl and Fukushima (Mousseau 2014) revealed significant consequences of radiation. Population censuses of birds, butterflies, and cicadas at Fukushima showed major declines attributable to radiation exposure. Morphological effects, such as aberrant feathers on barn swallows, were also observed. The authors suggest that long-term studies at Chernobyl could predict likely effects in the future at the Fukushima site.

The scientists say there is an urgent need for greater investment in basic scientific research of the wild animals and plants of Fukushima.

This is a pale grass blue butterfly, one of the most common species of butterfly in Japan. Recent research has revealed major impacts on this species from the radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Credit: Joji Otaki, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan