[ RadSafe ] Los Alamos to expand nuclear waste dump

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Thu Nov 17 12:58:59 CST 2005


Los Alamos to expand nuclear waste dump
UC Davis Researchers Discover Genetic Switch Involved In Cells
Russia, Iran's key ally, angered by Tehran's nuclear maneuverings
Patients Regain Cognitive Function After Radiation for Brain Tumors
Landfill rejects radioactive ash 
Siemens Unveils World's Most Advanced Computed Tomography System

Los Alamos to expand nuclear waste dump

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The Los Alamos National Laboratory 
plans to go against an advisory group recommendation as it expands 
its nuclear waste dump. 

Sean French, a representative from Los Alamos, told the Northern New 
Mexico Citizens' Advisory Board Wednesday construction to expand a 
dump in Technical Area 54 would begin next year, the Albuquerque 
Journal reports. 

The expansion in an area called Area G would add 30 acres to the 
waste pits, giving it 40 to 60 years of active dumping capacity. 

The advisory board, a federally funded body that advises the 
Department of Energy on issues related to Los Alamos, issued a report 
in September against the expansion and urged the laboratory to look 
at other ways to get rid of waste that was less toxic and hazardous.

UC Davis Researchers Discover Genetic Switch Involved In Cells' 
Response To Radiation Therapy

UC Davis Cancer Center researchers have discovered a genetic switch 
that causes cancer cells to become more sensitive to a drug 
administered to enhance radiation therapy effectiveness. The switch 
does not make the drug more toxic. 

The discovery may help scientists design new anti-cancer agents that 
enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy with less toxicity 
than currently available radiosensitizing drugs. The finding is 
reported in the Priority Reports section of the last issue of the 
journal Cancer Research (Oct. 17 - Oct. 31). 

Allan Chen, assistant professor of radiation oncology at UC Davis 
Cancer Center, found that Ku86, a gene involved in DNA repair, acts 
as a switch that, when turned off, makes cells significantly more 
vulnerable to the radiosensitizing property of the anti-cancer drug 

Ku86 had no effect on the radiosensitizing abilities of other anti-
cancer agents tested -- etoposide, cisplatin and vinblastine. Ku86 
also had no effect on camptothecin toxicity. 

The team concluded that, like a switch that controls only a certain 
light bulb, Ku86 uniquely affects radiosensitization, but not 
cytotoxicity, induced by camptothecin. 

The UC Davis researchers started by identifying which enzymes affect 
radiosensitivity and cytotoxicity, then painstakingly determined a 
way to control such enzymes. 

The investigation focused on an enzyme called DNA topoisomerase I, 
which is responsible for cutting single DNA strands so that the DNA 
molecule can rotate and unwind during transcription and replication. 
Camptothecin stops DNA topoisomerase I during the unwinding process, 
ultimately killing the cell. 

UC Davis Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-
designated cancer center serving the Central Valley and inland 
Northern California, a region the size of Pennsylvania. Its cancer 
research program unites 180 scientists on three campuses, the UC 
Davis Medical Center campus in Sacramento, the main UC Davis campus 
in Davis, Calif., and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 
Livermore, Calif.

Russia, Iran's key ally, angered by Tehran's nuclear maneuverings

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Russia is increasingly frustrated with Iran's 
reluctance to compromise on its nuclear activities, and that anger is 
helping the United States and other nations seeking to refer Tehran 
to the U.N. Security Council, diplomats said Thursday.

Both Russia and China are veto-wielding members of the Security 
Council and both oppose Iran being referred to the top U.N. decision 
making body.

But increasing frustration in Moscow could swing the Russians closer 
to the U.S.-European position and indirectly pressure Beijing to also 
join the mainstream and moderate its opposition to Security Council 
action, one diplomat said. He, like others talking to The Associated 
Press, demanded anonymity in exchange for divulging confidential 

Russia has played an increasingly important role in getting Iran back 
to negotiations meant to pressure Tehran to compromise on its plans 
for uranium enrichment. The Americans and Europeans recently agreed 
to give up their demand that Iran renounce enrichment and related 
activities and endorsed a plan that would allow Iran to convert 
uranium but move the enrichment process to Russia.

Carrying out the enrichment in Russia theoretically would deny Iran 
the capacity to produce weapons grade uranium for nuclear weapons - 
something the Americans and their allies say Iran wants to do. Tehran 
insists it is interested in enrichment only to make nuclear fuel.

Russia, a key Iranian ally, has been increasingly active in the last 
few weeks to try and bridge differences between Tehran and the West, 
but has been frustrated by Iranian intransigence, the diplomats said.

Most recently, they said Iranian officials told the Russians on 
Wednesday they would not resume uranium conversion - only to restart 
the process a few hours later.

The move to restart conversion was expected. Iran had already served 
notice several weeks ago that it would process a new batch of raw 
uranium into a precursor of the gas used to enrich uranium.

Still, with Iran under international pressure to show it is willing 
to compromise on its insistence to having full control of the uranium 
enrichment process, Russia and other countries would have welcomed a 
decision not to resume conversion.

Senior Iranian officials told Russian counterparts just that on 
Wednesday, saying a relaunch was postponed for "technical reasons," 
the diplomats revealed.

The Russians interpreted that as a political signal that raised hopes 
of an easing of tensions a little more than two weeks before the 35-
nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency meets in 
Vienna Nov. 24 to consider possible Security Council referral.

But just hours later, the Iranian officials told the Russians that 
conversion had restarted, further eroding the Russian goodwill needed 
by Tehran to deflect the U.S. and European push for Security Council 
involvement, the diplomats said.

A European official speaking from outside Vienna said the reversal - 
coming soon after Russian Security Council head Igor Ivanov had 
briefed senior European Union officials about Iran's readiness to 
compromise - embarrassed and angered the Russians.

A man answering the phone at the Russian diplomatic mission in Vienna 
responsible for the IAEA said the head of the mission was not 
available for comment.

In an effort to blunt chances of referral to the Security Council - 
which could impose sanctions - Iran recently allowed IAEA inspectors 
to revisit the Parchin military site, about 35 kilometers (20 miles) 
southeast of Tehran.

Diplomats have told the AP that initial results of environmental 
samples from the site showed no trace of radiation. U.S. officials 
say the site may be part of Iran's nuclear arms research program but 
that further tests were needed before a conclusion could be reached.

But diplomats said Thursday that additional evidence found recently 
by the agency could increase suspicions about Iran's nuclear aims.

They said a report by IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei to be presented to 
the Nov. 24 meeting will present new findings about "dual-use" 
equipment held by Iran - technology that can be used both for 
peaceful nuclear applications or in programs to make weapons.

Patients Regain Cognitive Function After Radiation for Brain Tumors

Newswise — Patients who suffer from low-grade brain tumors are able 
to regain normal cognitive function after receiving radiation therapy 
to shrink their tumor, according to a study published in the November 
15, 2005, issue of the International Journal of Radiation 
Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO, the American 
Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Prior to undergoing radiation therapy to treat their brain tumor, the 
20 patients studied were submitted to a battery of intensive 
cognitive tests measuring intelligence, memory, learning and 
attention span to establish a baseline score to compare to future 
results. Following radiation therapy, patients were re-evaluated at 
18-month intervals over the next five years. While the baseline test 
results were considered below average compared to age-specific norms, 
the first test after receiving radiation showed an increase in the 
group’s overall score.

“These results suggest that the patients with brain tumors perform 
below average on these tests before radiation therapy because the 
tumor itself affects their cognitive skills,” said Paul D. Brown, 
M.D., co-author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the Mayo 
Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “After the radiation, the brain function 
of the patients in the study went back to their normal, pre-tumor 
levels and stayed there for five years. This shows that a moderate 
dose of radiation, using modern techniques, does not cause cognitive 
injury in brain tumor patients.”

Of the 20 patients, only one patient reverted back to their baseline 
scores three years after radiation therapy and across the board 
improvement was noted in immediate verbal memory, learning, long-term 
verbal memory, cognitive flexibility and spatial problem solving. 

“Average life expectancy for these patients is three to 10 years and 
because there are no curative treatments for this type of cancer, a 
high priority is given to maintaining cognitive function and hence 
quality of life for as long as possible,” said Brown. “This study 
shows that we can maintain and even improve the quality of life for 
someone suffering from a brain tumor.” 

Landfill rejects radioactive ash 

EAST HUNTINGDON Twp. - A grassroots organization has won their battle 
to keep radioactive ash from coming into an East Huntingdon Township 

And, according to Julie Martinosky, one of the group organizers, the 
news that the uranium-contaminated ash will not come into her area 
couldn't be better.
"Had it not been for the community outcry and the media attention 
that we received we would have gotten slapped in the face with this 
stuff," said Martinosky. "Southmoreland School District, the township 
supervisors, Scottdale Borough officials and the residents really 
banded together to say 'no we don't want this here."'

Greenridge Reclamation landfill was issued a contract to dispose of 
27,000 tons or 800 truckloads of the uranium-contaminated ash from 
Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority's treatment lagoon in 
Allegheny Township

Greenridge's decision to withdraw the bid came earlier this week, 
according to East Huntingdon Township Supervisor Howard Keefer.

Keefer said landfill manager David Smith told him on Tuesday that he 
took another look at the situation and decided that he didn't want to 
be a bad neighbor.

"He didn't have to do this," said Keefer "because there was nothing 
forcing him to do it. He made the decision on his own and we are glad 
that the radioactive ash will not be coming here."

Keefer said the landfill and the community must try to be good 

"That's the thing that we all have to work at," continued Keefer. "We 
need to co-exist. I'm just glad that the supervisors, residents and 
the school district didn't have to fight this thing in court. It 
could have been quite expensive and I'm not sure that we would have 
gotten such a good result."

Smith did not return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday

Southmoreland Superintendent Dr. John Halfhill said the school 
district is very happy that Greenridge decided to withdraw its bid.

"We were very concerned about the students we have in the Alverton 
area," said Halfhill. "The landfill sits within one-quarter mile from 
three Southmoreland schools."

DEP spokeswoman Betsy Mallison said the landfill was "certainly 
responsive" to the citizens concern. She additionally said that the 
DEP stands by their decision that the radioactive ash is safe to go 
into a municipal waste landfill.

"Kiski's authority board will now have to make other arrangements for 
the ash to go elsewhere or they will have to go back to the drawing 
board and come up with a new plan," she said.

DEP ordered Kiski to clean up the Allegheny Township lagoon site and 
that includes getting rid of the ash.

According to Martinosky, two other landfills withdrew offers to take 
the radioactive ash this week. She said Valley Landfill in Penn 
Township and Monroeville Landfill in Monroeville are no longer 
interested in disposing of the material.

Martinosky said DEP issued a permit in October to remove the ash that 
was contaminated between 1978 and 1984 by waste from the former 
Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp., and its successor companies 
Atlantic-Richfield and Babcock & Wilcox.

Mallison said the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) 
deregulated the ash earlier this year and ruled that the uranium 
dosage that a person might come into contact with was no longer 

In 1994 NRC declared the ash as nuclear waste and refused to give 
permission for the waste to be removed from the Kiski lagoon.

Mallison said she didn't know what criteria was used for the 
deregulation process but said that DEP and NRC conducted the 10-year 

Mallison said additional concerns voiced by residents about odor 
problems coming from the East Huntingdon Landfill are being addressed 
by DEP.

"We have a consent agreement with them to make some changes," said 
Mallison "and they have already made some changes but we just need to 
see that everything is working as it should."

State helping Texas investigate theft of radioactive material 

SANTA FE (AP) - New Mexico environmental officials are helping Texas 
officials investigate the theft of radioactive antimony-124 from a 
shipment sent from Albuquerque to Kilgore, Texas.

Environment Department spokesman Adam Rankin says that based on 
interviews, authorities believe the vials of the substance were 
stolen in Texas.

Direct exposure to antimony-124 can cause skin ulcers.  It can reduce 
the production of red blood cells and lead to leukemia with prolonged 

The shipment was contained in two vials inside a World War II-style 
ammo box weighing 80 pounds.

Authorities say anyone who sees the ammo box or vials should stay 
away and notify the Environment Department.

Siemens Unveils World's Most Advanced Computed Tomography System; 
Industry's First Dual Source CT Will Spark New Era of Medical Imaging

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)----Siemens Medical Solutions today unveiled 
the world's first dual source computed tomography (CT) system, a 
breakthrough that will redefine the role of CT. Siemens has pushed 
the technical and clinical boundaries of CT with this latest 
innovation, the SOMATOM Definition(TM), which is faster than every 
beating heart and capable of imaging full cardiac detail with as much 
as 50 percent less radiation exposure compared to traditional CT 

Setting new standards in cardiac diagnosis, the SOMATOM Definition 
will image patients with high or irregular heart rates, or even 
arrhythmia, without beta blocker medications that have been 
previously needed to slow a patient's heart. The system also enables 
physicians to better identify and characterize plaque, an early 
indicator of heart disease.

Siemens' newest CT innovation is an ideal tool for one-stop diagnosis 
in acute care imaging, including the assessment of patients with 
acute chest pain, abdominal pain, and suspicion of stroke. The system 
enables faster and earlier diagnosis in acute care patients while 
maintaining the highest image quality, independent of patient size 
and condition.

The SOMATOM Definition has enhanced capabilities not previously 
available from any type of diagnostic imaging technology, which are 
expected to lead to new breakthroughs in clinical research. These 
capabilities include scanning with two different X-ray energies 
simultaneously, which allow physicians to better differentiate, 
characterize, isolate and distinguish bone, soft tissue and fluid.

"Siemens has long been committed to creating products that will shape 
the future of healthcare. With today's announcement, we are truly 
redefining what CT can do and are setting a new benchmark for the 
industry to follow," said Erich Reinhardt, president and chief 
executive officer, Siemens Medical Solutions. "With more than 55 
million procedures conducted in the United States each year, CT 
already has a tremendous impact on detecting disease. The Siemens 
SOMATOM Definition will allow physicians to utilize CT technology in 
new areas of research, bring the benefits of CT to more patients, and 
enable physicians to diagnose disease earlier and more cost 

The SOMATOM Definition is faster than any existing CT technology. 
This dual source CT system uses two X-ray sources and two detectors 
at the same time, compared to all other CT systems that use only one 
source and detector. With 0.33 seconds per rotation, 
electrocardiogram- (ECG) synchronized imaging can be performed with 
83-millisecond temporal resolution, independent of the heart rate, 
resulting in motion-free cardiac images.

Featuring a 31-inch (78-cm) bore opening and a 79-inch (200-cm) scan 
range, the SOMATOM Definition increases patient comfort and access, 
allowing clinicians to image more of the body in less time. Equipped 
with z-Sharp(TM) Technology, the STRATON(R) X-ray tube and CARE 
solutions, the SOMATOM Definition has the tools necessary to enable a 
new gold standard in earlier detection, faster evaluation, and more 
precise follow-up of disease states for CT imaging.

The close cooperation between Siemens and leading healthcare 
institutions around the world has ensured that the SOMATOM Definition 
will meet today's and tomorrow's clinical needs. The first SOMATOM 
Definition was installed at the University of Erlangen (Germany) in 
October 2005 and is being used for technical and clinical research as 
well as regular patient care.

"Siemens' newest CT system provides very valuable clinical 
information for patients presenting in our department with acute 
chest pain and suspicion of coronary artery disease," said Dr. 
Stephan Achenbach, associate professor of Cardiology, University of 
Erlangen. "We expect that the SOMATOM Definition will have a 
significant role in even the most demanding environments, such as 
emergency departments," added professor Werner Bautz, chairman of 
Radiology, University of Erlangen.

The first U.S. installations will take place in early 2006 and will 
include Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 
Ohio; William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich.; and New York 
University Medical Center.

"That the top healthcare institutions across the world have responded 
so quickly to the SOMATOM Definition confirms that Siemens continues 
to be the innovation leader in diagnostic technology," said Klaus 
Kleinfeld, president and chief executive officer, Siemens AG. 
"Siemens is committed to be the pacesetter for healthcare innovation 
in the 21st century."

Sandy Perle
Senior Vice President, Technical Operations
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614 

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714  Extension 2306
Fax:(949) 296-1144

E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
E-Mail: sandyfl at earthlink.net 

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 
Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 

More information about the RadSafe mailing list