Dienstag, 14. Februar 2012

Increase of Death Rate in U.S due to Fukushima-Fallout ?

Is there a connection between Fukushima Nuclear fallout and excess deaths of 14'000 in the U.S ? Renowned nuclear expert Joe Mangano and Janette Sherman, toxicologist and contributing editor of the 2009 New York Academy of Sciences "Chernobyl, Consequences for People and Environment" says yes there is, and it's comparable to the excess rates of U.S deaths from Chernobyl

 Furthermore Dr. Sherman told me that
"the deaths from Fukushima will be greater than from Chernobyl" and that "the young will be adversely effected by the radiation - their immune and detoxification systems are not fully formed and operational, and based upon their small body weights, they receive a proportionally larger dose of radioisotopes than do adults."* This could explain the excess death rates of young infants in the U.S in the weeks following the Fukushima incident. The 18 page document published by Mangano & Sherman closes on this discussion:

"The Fukushima meltdowns, and the introduction of radioactivity across the 
globe, indicate that accurate measurements are needed on subsequent changes in 
environmental radioactivity and in health status. In the United States, there have 
been limitations in both measures. Radioactivity samples in precipitation, air, 
water, and milk were sporadically reported by the Environmental Protection 
Agency. Many measurements failed to produce detectable levels, and on May 3, 
2011, the agency reverted to its policy of making only quarterly measurements. 
Some elevated concentrations were found to be up to several hundred times the 
norm soon after the arrival of the Fukushima fallout, but no meaningful temporal 
trends and spatial patterns can be discerned from these data. 
Few aggregate data on health status are available until several years after a 
death or specific diagnosis. Immediately after Fukushima, the only nationwide 
health status data available in the United States were weekly deaths by age 
reported by 122 U.S. cities (about 25% to 35% of all U.S. deaths), as reported 
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the 14 weeks after the 
Fukushima fallout arrived in the United States, total deaths reported were 
4.46 percent above the same period in 2010; in the 14 weeks before Fukushima, 
the increase from the prior year was just 2.34 percent. The gap in changes for 
infant deaths (+1.80% in the latter 14 weeks, –8.37% for the earlier 14 weeks) 
was even larger. Estimated “excess” deaths for the entire United States were 
projected to be 13,983 total deaths and 822 infant deaths. 
Patterns of deaths among persons of all ages strongly reflect patterns among 
the elderly, who account for over two-thirds of all deaths. For the older population, 
explanations for excess deaths must be considered after exposure to higher 
levels of radioactive fallout. If cancer in some patients becomes active again, 
it may mean they already have cells carrying all but one of the three to four 
requisite mutations to express cancer. Exposure to radiation (or a toxic chemical) 
can provide the one final mutation to reactivate a quiescent tumor (17). Also 
vulnerable are those elderly with depressed immune status, made worse by 
exposure to radiation.
The CDC weekly mortality data have limitations. They represent only a 25 

to 35 percent sample of all deaths, which may or may not accurately represent 
the entire nation. Deaths are reported voluntarily and thus are subject to variations 
from city to city and for unusual circumstances in a week or period (e.g., totals 
during the Christmas holiday season appear to be much lower). Weekly totals 
are sometimes reported as unavailable and so cannot be used in any analysis. 
The deaths reported are by city of occurrence, whereas all final statistics are 
by residence at time of death. Deaths are categorized when the death certifi- 
cate is filed, not necessarily the date of death. Finally, the CDC weekly reports 
provide raw numbers of deaths, not the more useful mortality rates, as popula- 
tions or numbers of births are not given. 

Nonetheless, 25 to 35 percent of the United States is not a small sample, 
representing all large cities and many smaller ones in all regions of the nation. 
When extended periods are used, the numbers become larger and more 
meaningful, because any variations increasing or decreasing death counts are 
more likely to balance each other out. The total of 155,015 U.S. deaths in the 
14-week period after Fukushima, 2,722 of which are infant deaths, represents a 
large database that is meaningful in a preliminary analysis of potential Fukushima 
effects. Not to use them would mean a two- or three-year absence of any health 
status data, until final figures are made public. 
The statistically significant difference in increased number of reported deaths 
(total and infant) for the 14-week period after Fukushima has an added dimen- 
sion because of similar findings for the four months immediately after the 
Chernobyl meltdown in 1986, using a 10 percent sample of U.S. deaths. The 
post-Chernobyl increases, based on preliminary death data, were roughly com- 
parable to the increases calculated from final death data (see Appendix Table 2). 
The preliminary versus final 1985–1986 change for the period May–August in 
total deaths was within 3.7 percentage points (+6.0% vs. +2.3%), and the count 
of infant deaths was within 3.0 percentage points (+3.1% vs. +0.1%). Thus, it is 
unlikely that, for Fukushima, final death counts would show results markedly 
different from the finding that more Americans, especially infants, died than 
expected in the 14-week period following arrival of the Fukushima fallout. 
The 14-week excess death projections after mid-March 2011 (13,983 total, 
822 infant) are relatively similar to actual excesses in May–August 1986 (16,573 
total, 306 infant). 
Recent assessments have suggested that the amount of radioactivity released 
from Fukushima equals or exceeds that released from Chernobyl. Given the 
continuing emission of radioisotopes from the melted reactors, the high density 
of population around the plant, and the close proximity to food sources, we can 
expect that morbidity and mortality will be high in Japan. The relative homo- 
geneity of the Japanese population will allow for comparison of health conse- 
quences for people living in areas with lesser and greater levels of contamination, 
as has been done in areas affected by Chernobyl.
Adverse health effects may also be expected in the United States, even though 
exposures have been far below those in Japan. Low-dose radiation exposure, 
previously assumed to be harmless, has been linked with elevated disease rates 
in children born to women who underwent pelvic X-rays while pregnant (18), 
Americans exposed to atomic bomb fallout (19), nuclear plant workers (20), 
and, for leukemia, children exposed to very low doses after Chernobyl (21). 
In addition to physical diseases is loss of cognitive ability in adolescents fol- 
lowing low-dose ionizing radiation in utero (22). 
The human fetus and infant are especially radiosensitive, given their rapid 
cell growth and cell division, as well as their small size that results in a propor- 
tionately larger dose. These exposures include X-ray, alpha, beta, and gamma 

radiation. Depending on the time of in utero radiation exposure, the result can be 
expressed as spontaneous abortion, premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth, 
infant death, congenital malformations, and brain damage. 
While this report concentrates on effects to humans, all life is sensitive to 
nuclear radiation exposure, including plants, fungi, insects spiders, birds, fish, 
and other animals (23). The best-studied group near Chernobyl (birds) shows 
a 50 percent decrease in species richness and a 66 percent drop in abundance in 
the most contaminated areas, compared with normal background in the same 
neighborhood (24). 
More importantly, the findings reported here, plus the disease patterns that 
developed after Chernobyl, indicate that public health personnel can anticipate 
and plan to put in place diagnostic and treatment procedures. Given the con- 
tinued high levels of radioactive iodine, it is predicted that the incidence of 
thyroid disease, including thyroid insufficiency in newborns and thyroid cancer 
in children and adults, will increase (4, 25). 
The health effects of exposure to radioactivity from the Fukushima meltdowns, 
both in Japan and around the world, will take a long time to fully assess. The 
paucity of data from the U.S. EPA is unfortunate and will hamper future studies. 
A quarter of a century after the Chernobyl disaster, and more than 60 years after 
the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, compilations of health casualties 
are still being updated. It is critical that research should proceed with all due 
haste, as answers are essential to early diagnosis and treatment for exposed 
people, particularly children and the very young." 

(Mangano & Sherman, Increase of U.S Mortality and Fukushima Fallout, 2011-2012)

Altough this is by far not a finished study, it gives disturbing and inconveniant hints that even low-level radiation doses cause serious health problems. The whole study can be read here:
Mangano & Sherman Study

* Email correspondance with Dr. Janette Sherman from February, 8th 2012.

Montag, 6. Februar 2012

Interview avec Stéphane L' Homme (Francais & English)

Aujourd'hui en interview, Stéphane L'Homme: De 2002 à 2010 il fût le porte-parole du "Réseau Sortir du Nucléaire. Avec Stéphane, qui préside également "l' Observatoire du Nucléaire", nous avons parlé de Fukushima, les "stress tests" et Cattenom.

We spoke with Stéphane L'Homme, longtime the figurehead of French coordinated anti-nuclear action. Stéphane told us about Fukushima, the European Stresstests and Cattenom. He presides over the "Observatoire du Nucléaire, France"

Presque un an après l' accident de Fukushima, la situation au Japon reste très inquiétante. Comment evaluez-vous la situation au Japon?

Comme en Ukraine et en Biélorussie, les pays les plus contaminés par la catastrophe nucléaire de Tchernobyl (26 avril 1986), le Japon n'est qu'au début d'un drame dont les conséquences vont s'aggraver au fil des années. Des millions de gens sont touchés par la radioactivité et la santé de la population va se dégrader pendant des décennies. D'ores et déjà, à peine un an après le début de la catastrophe, certaines études montrent que "30% des enfants de Fukushima présenteraient des lésions thyroïdiennes notables"   (cf http://bit.ly/zEnZUF )
D'autre part, les coeurs des réacteurs accidentés sont toujours en fusion, de la radioactivité est continuellement rejetées dans l'environnement, et une aggravation du drame est hélas encore possible... 

En France, plusieurs stations nucléaires ont été bâti dans des zones de séisme? Quel est le risque réel de ces stations?

Le risque sismiques en France est moindre qu'au Japon... mais les centrales françaises sont moins résistantes : elles ont été construites par rapport à leur risque sismiques théorique. Ce qui fait que, finalement, le risque d'accident nucléaire en France suite à un séisme est aussi important qu'au Japon ! Il "suffit" que l'épicentre d'un séisme soit très près d'une centrale française pour que la situation soit grave, voire même comparable à Fukushima. Sans oublier les innombrables autres causes possibles : erreurs de conception, de maintenance, d'exploitation, etc

Que pensez-vous des "stress-tests" en Europe après Fukushima? Dans la plupart des cas, on y propose seulement des investissements gigantesques?

Ces "tests" ont fait l'objet de marchandages nauséabonds dans le but de protéger la continuation de l'industrie nucléaire. Par exemple, l'autorité de sûreté française a obtenu que le risque de crash d'avion ne soit pas pris en compte : en effet, aucune centrale française ne résisterait !Pour autant, un certain nombre de mesures "post-Fukushima" ont été annoncées, comme la mise en place pour chaque réacteur d'un moteur de secours bunkérisé et situé en hauteur. Lorsque ce sera fait, dans de longues années, cela n'assurera pas pour autant la sûreté (le risque zéro n'existe pas !), mais cette affaire démontre l'incompétence des gens qui exploitent le nucléaire. Nous avons donc eu beaucoup de chance jusqu'à présent...

En tant que Luxembourgeois en regarde toujours avec inquiétude sur Cattenom et Fessenheim..?

Ces deux centrales sont tout aussi dangereuses que les autres, avec quelques particularités : Fessenheim est la plus vieille, Cattenom une des plus puissantes... Il y a donc que quoi être inquiet mais il faut comprendre qu'une catastrophe nucléaire, même si elle a lieu au Sud de la France, contaminerait le Luxembourg... et toute l'Europe !

Récemment dans le "Journal International du Cancer", une nouvelle étude a démontré le lien entre les leucémies infantiles aux environs des centrales nucléaires. Le nucléaire a-t-il alors pas besoin d'un accident pour poser des risques de santé?

Effectivement, même en fonctionnement "normal" (c'est à dire hors accident ou incident), une centrale nucléaire rejette de la radioactivité dans l'aire et dans l'eau. Ces rejets,même faibles,posent de vrais problèmes de santé publique, comme montré par une récente étude en France, ou par une grande étude universitaire menée en Allemagne par l'Université de Mayence.
D'autre part, même en fonctionnement "normal", une centrale nucléaire produit des déchets radioactifs qui vont rester dangereux pendant des millénaires. C'est injustifiable. 

Fukushima a fait revivre les mouvements anti-nucléaires à travers le monde. En France pour la première fois, le nucléaire est aussi un sujet d'élection dans les "Présidentielles"? Donc la question s'avère : En France, à quand la sortie du nucléaire?

La question du nucléaire est effectivement discutée, enfin, mais l'arrêt des centrales ne semble hélas pas probable : le pouvoir pronucléaire est au sommet de l'Etat, à la tête des principaux partis, à la direction des principaux médias, etc. Il semble que seul un Fukushima français contraindra ces gens à reconnaître... que cela peut se produire. Quant à la population, elle est ballotée entre la réalité du drame de Fukushima et la propagande pronucléaire officielle, et elle se préoccupe plutôt de ses problèmes immédiats comme la chômage, la précarité... En résumé, il y a hélas de quoi être très pessimiste...


Nearly one year after the Fukushima incident, the situation in Japan is still very severe. How do you evaluate the situation?

In Ukraine and Belarus, the countries most contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (April 26, 1986), Japan is only the beginning of a tragedy whose consequences will worsen over the years. Millions of people are affected by radioactivity and population health will deteriorate for decadesAlready, just a year after the start of the disaster, some studies show that "30% of children in Fukushima would present significant thyroid lesions" (cfhttp://bit.ly/zEnZUF). Furthermore, the reactor cores are still uneven fusion, radioactivity is continuously released into the environment, and a worsening of the drama is unfortunately still possible ...

In France, many nuclear stations are built in seismic areas. What is the real risque of these power plants in an eventual case of seismic activity?

The seismic risk is lower in France, but the French plants are less resistant: they were built from their theoretical seismic risk. So that, finally, the risk of a nuclear accident in France following an earthquake is as important as in Japan! If the epicentrer of an earthquake is very close to a French central, this can result in a serious situation. even comparable to Fukushima. Not to mention the countless other possible causes: design errors, maintenance, operation, etc. 

What do you think of the "stress tests" performed in Europe as a reaction to Fukushima? In most cases, the expert only propose gargantuan investments?

These "tests" have downplayed risks in a  nauseating way, in order to protect the continuation of the nuclear industry. For example, the French safety authority has obtained the risk of plane crashes is not taken into account: indeed, no central French would not resist! However, a number of measures "Post Fukushima" were announced, as for instance the introduction for every reactor of a "bunkered" emergency engine and one place higher above. Once that is done, in many years, this will not necessarily ensure safety (zero risk does not exist!), But this case demonstrates the incompetence of the people who operate nuclear power. So we were very lucky so far.

As a Luxembourger, we always look with mixed feelings toward Cattenom and Fessenheim, what can you tell us about these NPPs*? (nuclear power plants) 

Both plants are just as dangerous as the others, with some peculiaritiesFessenheim is the oldest, Cattenom one of the strongest ... There is therefore something to be worried but we must understand that a nuclear catastrophe, even if it takes place in the South of France, would contaminate Luxembourg and throughout Europe!

Recently in the "International Cancer Journal", a new study revealed that there is a link between child leukemia rates being higher around NPPs. Nuclear Power is thus not only harmful during an accident but also a serious health risk even if there's no accident?

Indeed, even in "normal" functioning (ie excluding accident or incident), a nuclear station rejects radioactivity in the area and in water. These releases even low, pose real public health problems, as shown by a recent study in France, and a large university study conducted in Germany by the University of MainzMoreover, even in "normal" functioning, a nuclear power plant produces radioactive waste that will remain dangerous for thousands of years. It is unjustifiable.

Fukushima has reanimated many anti-nuclear movements around the world. Even in France, the nuclear issue seems to be adressed for the first time in a French Election campaign. So the question remains, when will we see a nuclear-free France?

The nuclear issue is actually discussed, finally, but stopping nuclear power seems unfortunately unlikely: The biggest pro-nuclear lobby is at the top of the state, at the head of the main parties at the direction of the major media. It seems that only a French Fukushima would change these people to recognize ... that this can happen. As for the population, they are torn between the reality of the drama of Fukushima and pronuclear official propaganda, and is concerned rather its immediate problems such as unemployment, insecurity ...
In summary, there is unfortunately very much to be pessimistic .

Savoir plus sur Stéphane / More on Stéphane Wikipedia: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stéphane_Lhomme

Blog personel / Personal Blog: 
http://stephanelhomme.free.fr/  http://stephane-lhomme.blogspot.com/

Observatoire du Nucléaire: http://observ.nucleaire.free.fr/

Lien vers "Insecurité Nucléaire"
Le livre de Stéphane, qui donne un bon résumé sur les enjeux du nucléaire.

(c) blogger.com/stephane-lhomme

Stéphane nous a transmis ces réponses par Courriel. Rien n'a été changé.
Stéphane sent his answers by email. No changes were performed to the interview.
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