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Nuclear Plant Radioactive Explanation Safety Cooling Explosion Meltdown Leak

Hot Radioactive Elements

We have been writing and discussing the after effects of a partial or full nuclear meltdown, plus the release of radioactive steam in Japan. This excellent news report by Rachel Maddow gives a clear picture of the breakdown within the nuclear reactors. 


All of the nuclear plants located near each other remain unstable. 


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What does a leak mean? Should the US worry about radiation exposure?

Marvin Resnikoff describes how the radiation can travel and impact human health: “Iodine, cesium and other radionuclides can be carried downwind and inhaled. Radionuclides that land in the sea may be taken up by fish and eaten. When these cancer-causing materials are taken into the body by inhalation or ingestion, they concentrate in different organs. Cesium concentrates in muscle, strontium (like calcium) in bones, iodine in the thyroid.

Once in the body, these radioactive materials continue to decay, releasing harmful gamma and beta radiation. Plutonium, also present, gives off alpha radiation. Rearranging the DNA in the human body leads to cancer. To put this in another way, a BWR reactor boils water to produce electricity by generating cancer-causing materials.”

Shari Roan of the LA Times answers common questions about radiation. She highlights one of the worst forms, Cesium-137, “which has a half-life of 30 years, [and] is more serious. It is a salt that acts like potassium and goes everywhere in the body. It is absorbed into soft tissues, causing sarcomas. It contaminates food, water and milk and gets into the body when those things are ingested. Contamination with cesium-137 is one of the main reasons large areas of land had to be abandoned in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.”

Speaking of Chernobyl, in comparison the current situation is not as bad, and it sounds unlikely that significant radiation fall-out would reach the West Coast. “After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, radiation spread over parts of Europe and Asia, with serious radiation about 900 miles from the accident. The Pacific Northwest is more than 4,000 miles from Japan.

Still, here in the US, Potassium Iodide demand soars on 'panic' over Japan radiation exposure Matt Sledge reports: “The pills provide some protection against iodine radiation, which can cause thyroid cancer, particularly in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, when the pills are ingested, "the stable iodine in the medicine gets absorbed by the thyroid. Because [potassium iodide] contains so much stable iodine, the thyroid gland becomes 'full' and cannot absorb any more iodine -- either stable or radioactive -- for the next 24 hours." But that is nearly the extent of what potassium iodide can do. It can't protect against other forms of radiation that may also leak from damaged nuclear reactors.

What's more, potassium iodide certainly can't protect against radiation if there isn't any, and in this case, there's been no indication so far that measurable amounts will reach the U.S. Pacific coast. More than 5,000 miles of open ocean separate Tokyo and Los Angeles, and scientists say there is little current risk of increased radiation even in Japan, outside of a narrow swath of land within a few miles of the damaged plant.”

What should you do?

  • Know where your food comes from. If you’re a fan of imported Japanese cuisine, be aware that Japanese radioactivity could enter the food chain. Asian countries will begin to screen imports of Japanese food, but the US FDA has not made a similar an announcement.
  • Donate. Whether you want to help support children through this tragedy or healthcare professionals or the Red Cross – please do something. The Huffington Post highlights some of the biggest efforts and how easy it is to help and here are 11 additional ways you can help today.



Biological, Chemical, and Nuclear Warfare - Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones:
The Power of Digital Medicine

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