[ RadSafe ] Penn professor to present research on radiation-induced cancer

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 12 12:33:36 CDT 2006


Penn professor to present research on radiation-induced cancer
Critics say radiation experts´ input is unfair to ex-workers
Japan nuclear plant reports leak, no outside impact  
Town Sees Nuclear Plans as a Boon, Not a Threat 
Iran Hits Milestone in Nuclear Technology
Nuclear energy facilitates sustainable development: Aqazadeh Mashhad 

Penn professor to present research on radiation-induced cancer on 
20th anniversary of Chernobyl

Findings could assist medical response in the event of a 'dirty bomb' 

Philadelphia, PA- Virginia A. LiVolsi, MD, Professor of Pathology and 
Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of 
Medicine, will be a key presenter at the "Living with Radiation in 
the Modern World: Commemorating Chernobyl, Remembering Hiroshima / 
Nagasaki," conference to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 
Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown. An expert in thyroid pathology, 
Dr. LiVolsi will present her work on, "Specific Pathological Findings 
in Thyroid Cancer after Radiation Exposure." The conference, to be 
held April 20th at the United Nations Building in New York City, is 
co-sponsored by the World Information Transfer and the New York Eye 
and Ear Infirmary. 

Just before dawn on April 26th, 1986, the Number Four nuclear reactor 
at Chernobyl exploded. The fallout was 400 times more radioactive 
than what was released over Hiroshima during World War II, and it 
covered an area the size of New Jersey. Numerous radioactive elements 
were released into the air - including radioactive iodine, an element 
that is preferentially taken-up by the thyroid gland. As a result, 
there was a rise in cancer - and, in particular, in thyroid cancer in 
children. (Since the thyroids of children are much smaller than 
adults, it is assumed that the relative dose of radioactive iodine 
these thyroids received was much larger than the adult thyroids.) 

Following the accident, an international panel of experts was formed 
to study the after-effects of the accident. One group of specialists 
- including pathologists who, like Dr. LiVolsi, have expertise in 
thyroid pathology - was charged with studying the thyroid tumors that 
had occurred to reach a consensus diagnosis. These analyses, 
including samples of the tumors, have been made available to the 
international research community to further our understanding of 
thyroid-cancer development and radiation-induced tumors. 

The isotopes of radioactive iodine that are suspected of causing the 
outbreak of thyroid cancer have a relatively short half-life of eight 
days, but other isotopes that were released in the explosion -- like 
cesium 137 and strontium 90, will last for decades. One of the 
interesting aspects of this research is that we are still seeing new 
thyroid-cancer tumors in the exposed population - even though, after 
20 years, there is no radioactive-iodine fallout left from the 
accident," LiVolsi said. "In the future, it will be informative to 
compare tumors that appeared initially to those that are occurring 

Chernobyl is still a threat to this day. The lead and steel 
sarcophagus initially built around the Number Four Reactor has 
decayed. A replacement structure is in the planning stages. This 
replacement will take four-five years to assemble, cost over $800 
million and be the largest movable structure ever built. 

However, information learned from the Chernobyl accident could prove 
valuable insofar as aiding and treating future victims of a "dirty 
bomb" - a conventional explosion that scatters radioactive materials, 
including the longer-lasting strontium 90 and cesium 137. According 
to the Department of Homeland Security's National Terror Alert 
Resource and Information Center website, the Washington Post reported 
in March of 2002 that the Bush administration's consensus view is 
that the al-Qaeda terrorist network probably had such acquired often-
stolen radioactive contaminants as strontium 90 and cesium 137, which 
could be used in a "dirty bomb." 

Critics say radiation experts´ input is unfair to ex-workers 

WASHINGTON Apr 9 (AP) - For years, radiation experts at the nation´s 
nuclear weapons sites failed to adequately protect workers from on-
the-job hazards. Now some of those experts are helping run a 
compensation program for the workers.
The situation has attracted the attention of Congress, with one 
lawmaker pressing for an investigation into whether the workers are 
being treated fairly.

Rep. John Hostettler recently wrote to the investigative arm of 
Congress to ask whether the contractor running the compensation 
program has policies that are "sufficient to ensure that conflicts or 
biases do not taint the credibility and quality of the science 
produced to date."

Hostettler, R-Ind., is chairman of a House subcommittee that deals 
with people bringing claims against the government.

Critics contend that the contractor, Oak Ridge Associated 
Universities, has put into key jobs people who have managed radiation 
monitoring programs at the weapons sites. In some cases, those people 
were witnesses for the government when it fought compensation claims.

Jim Melius, who is on a presidential advisory board that oversees the 
program, said, "It´s so critical for this program to be credible and 
for the claimants to have an understanding and confidence that the 
people who were monitoring them - and maybe in some cases failing to 
monitor them properly - will not be the people passing judgment on 
their exposures and on their compensation."

Nearly 73,000 workers or their survivors have filed claims under the 
program, according to the Department of Labor. 

"It´s a very difficult, complex dilemma that we face," said Larry 
Elliott, who heads the office of compensation in the National 
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The agency oversees the 

Elliott said the guidelines would try to balance the need to rely on 
the radiation experts at the nuclear facilities for their knowledge 
of the sites with concerns about potential biases. He said it was 
difficult to find experts on the effects of radiation who were not 
tied to the government´s nuclear weapons program.

Kate Kimpan, who directs the contractor´s program, said her group 
will adhere to the guidelines and "ensure that our conclusions are 
beyond refute."

Five years ago, Congress decided to compensate the Cold War-era 
workers - tens of thousands of whom worked at sites nationwide - 
after the government admitted putting them at risk of cancer caused 
by radiation exposure. Sick workers get $150,000 plus medical 

The Oak Ridge, Tenn.-based contractor is writing reports that detail 
hazards at weapons facilities. The reports are blueprints the 
contractor is using to estimate how much radiation workers were 
exposed to.

Critics say some of the authors appear biased.

Kelly Schmidt, a worker and union leader at the Hanford site in 
Washington state, has complained that authors of the Hanford report 
managed important aspects of the radiation program there. 

Schmidt noted that a version of the report stated it was unlikely 
workers received large intakes of radiation that went unnoticed 
because there was "rigorous workplace monitoring" at Hanford. "It 
gives the impression that they´re saying, `Gosh, we did a great job,´ 
" Schmidt said.

Japan nuclear plant reports leak, no outside impact  

TOKYO Apr 12 (Reuters) - Radioactive water leaked inside a Japanese 
nuclear reprocessing plant but no one was injured and the leak had no 
impact outside the plant, a spokesman for the plant's operator, Japan 
Nuclear Fuel Ltd, said on Wednesday. 
About 40 liters of water containing plutonium and uranium leaked 
inside a concrete-lined cell at the plant for reprocessing spent 
nuclear fuel in Rokkasho, northern Japan, on Tuesday when an employee 
made an error in a remote-controlled process, the spokesman said.

He added that radioactivity monitors showed there had been no effect 
outside the cell.

The plant began the current series of trial operations on March 31, 
and the accident was the first at the facility since then. Previous 
trials have at the facility since 2001 have also caused accidents, 
and the plant has yet to go into operation. 

Town Sees Nuclear Plans as a Boon, Not a Threat 
GAFFNEY, S.C. Apr 10 (New York Times) - Bill Whelchel, working the 
main chair at Elmore's Barber Shop on Limestone Street, paused the 
clippers above his customer's half-sculptured crew cut to consider 
the question of atomic energy.

"I'm not worried at all about putting in a new nuclear power plant," 
said Mr. Whelchel, 76. "We're used to nuclear power around here. 
Plus, it'll create jobs, and one thing I've learned is that working 
people are happy people."

More than a quarter century after the accident at Three Mile Island 
and two decades after Chernobyl, America's utilities stand at the 
early edge of what promises to be the first large-scale wave of 
nuclear plant construction since the 1980's.

And the energy companies are finding - especially in the small, 
struggling Southeastern towns like Gaffney where most of the plants 
are planned - that memories of those tragedies have faded and that 
local governments and residents, eager for jobs and tax revenues to 
replace vanished industries, are embracing them with enthusiasm.

Indeed, none of Mr. Whelchel's half-dozen customers said they had any 
problem whatsoever with the idea of a nuclear facility going up down 
the road.

"I can't remember hearing a single negative comment from any local 
resident," Cody Sossamon, publisher of The Gaffney Ledger, said as he 
sat in his office out near the highway.

Driven partly by federal Department of Energy projections that demand 
for electrical power will increase 50 percent by 2025, and by recent 
federal legislation offering a more streamlined application process 
and financial incentives for new nuclear facilities, many utilities 
are eager to get back into the atomic business.

"We initially were looking at 14 communities in the Southeast, and 
then we narrowed that down to four," said Henry B. Barron Jr., chief 
nuclear officer for Duke Power, which announced last month that it 
would apply to build its first new nuclear plant in three decades 
just outside Gaffney. "I found no single individual who had any 
concerns about the plant. The few who did have concerns were worried 
about increased traffic on the roads during construction."

In a March report, Fitch Ratings, a global financial research 
company, said: "It is no longer a matter of debate whether there will 
be new nuclear plants in the industry's future. Now, the discussion 
has shifted to predictions of how many, where and when."

How many remains to be seen. Nine utilities have said they will apply 
to build as many as 19 new nuclear units, but that does not mean all 
of them will be built.

As to where, the list includes every state south of Maryland that 
touches either the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, except 
Texas, and one facility in central Illinois. And the sites tend to be 
in rural counties whose hard-pressed small towns - like Gaffney, 
population 13,000 - clutch at the chance for new jobs and tax 

"The timeline that Duke gave us was that the application process 
would take three to five years," said James P. Inman, executive 
director of the Cherokee County Development Board, which led the 
local drive to attract the new plant. "Then they'd build the first 
unit, and it would go online around 2015. At least, that's the least 
optimistic projection. We think it could happen as early as 2012."

Wanting the plant was a no-brainer for Gaffney, Mr. Inman said.

Some 1,500 new jobs are expected in the construction phase of the $4 
billion to $6 billion facility, and then running the plant will take 
1,000 employees. In addition, the plant is to pay $8.5 million in 
annual taxes, to be split between the county and the state. 

"You add to that the new home construction and the new businesses and 
it looks to be a really good things for this community and this 
county," Mr. Sossamon said.

If residents of the communities do seem eager for the plants, it is 
not entirely unanimous. The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, 
based in North Carolina, said earlier this month that it intended to 
oppose construction of the plant outside Gaffney.

To attract Duke, county officials agreed to a package of financial 
incentives, pretty much the same combination of tax breaks offered by 
the other counties in North and South Carolina that were finalists 
for the plant. But Gaffney also promised to establish new science, 
math and engineering courses in local schools to make sure Duke finds 
people to hire if the plant opens.

"We're looking at the kids who are in fifth grade," Mr. Inman said. 
"Those are the ones who need to start getting ready now for the jobs 
that are coming. That way they won't have to move away to find work 
if they don't want to."

But now all of the big old mills have closed. From 1999 to 2003 
alone, 2,500 textile employees lost their jobs. A few smaller 
companies have come in to build newer and smaller mills, but now the 
biggest employer is a Stouffer's frozen food plant on the outskirts 
of town.

Gaffney's downtown today is a grid of small gift shops, bank 
branches, pawnshops and dozens of empty storefronts. On a recent 
weekday morning, Elmore's Barber Shop had the biggest crowd. The only 
crane rising above downtown was in the process of tearing down the 
last of the big textile mills.

For those from outside the area, Gaffney is probably best known for 
the annual South Carolina Peach Festival, for the huge water tower 
beside Interstate 85 in the shape of a giant peach and for the 
sprawling outlet mall - roughly midway between Charlotte, N.C., and 
Spartanburg, S.C. - that locals call the "yellow mall," for its egg 
yolk color.

The prospective plant site is about a half-hour southeast of town, on 
2,000 sloping acres beside the Broad River that Duke had previously 
considered for a nuclear plant, 30 years ago, before declining demand 
and increasing public anxiety about nuclear power caused them to drop 
the plan. The land had since passed into the hands of another 
utility, the Southern Company, which will be Duke's partner in the 
new facility.

L. Hoke Parris, who retired from a local brick-making factory before 
beginning a political career that has seen him become chairman of the 
Cherokee County Council, said he was not surprised that the town and 
its residents had no problem welcoming atomic energy into their 

"The financial impact here will be phenomenal," Mr. Parris said. 
"Right now, downtown's pretty much dead. Pretty much all we've got is 
Wal-Mart and the yellow mall."

Besides, he said, there have been nuclear facilities around the 
region for decades, and he thinks residents in the Carolinas have 
gotten used to them.

"I think people are just pretty much comfortable with nuclear power 
in this part of the country," Mr. Parris said. "We're getting farther 
away from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island."

Iran Hits Milestone in Nuclear Technology

TEHRAN, Iran Apr 11 (AP) - Iran has successfully enriched uranium for 
the first time, a landmark in its quest to develop nuclear fuel, hard-
line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday, although he insisted 
his country does not aim to develop atomic weapons. 
In a nationally televised speech, Ahmadinejad called on the West "not 
to cause an everlasting hatred in the hearts of Iranians" by trying 
to force Iran to abandon uranium enrichment.

The announcement came ahead of a visit to Tehran this week by Mohamed 
ElBaradei, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, who is 
trying to resolve the West's standoff with Iran. The     U.N. 
Security Council has demanded Iran stop all enrichment activity by 
April 28. Iran has rejected this, saying it has a right to the 

"At this historic moment, with the blessings of God almighty and the 
efforts made by our scientists, I declare here that the laboratory-
scale nuclear fuel cycle has been completed and young scientists 
produced enriched uranium needed to the degree for nuclear power 
plants Sunday," Ahmadinejad said.

"I formally declare that Iran has joined the club of nuclear 
countries," he told an audience that included top military commanders 
and clerics in the northwestern holy city of Mashhad. The crowd broke 
into cheers of "Allahu akbar!" or "God is great!" Some stood and 
thrust their fists in the air.

The White House denounced the latest comments by Iranian officials, 
with spokesman Scott McClellan saying they "continue to show that 
Iran is moving in the wrong direction."

Ahmadinejad said Iran "relies on the sublime beliefs that lie within 
the Iranian and Islamic culture. Our nation does not get its strength 
from nuclear arsenals."

He said Iran wanted to operate its nuclear program under supervision 
by the     International Atomic Energy Agency and within its rights 
and regulations under the regulations of the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty.

The announcement does not mean Iran is immediately capable of 
producing enough fuel to run or a reactor or develop the material 
needed for a nuclear warhead. Uranium enrichment can produce either, 
but it must be carried out on a much larger scale, using thousands of 

Iran succeeded in enriching uranium to a level needed for fuel on a 
research scale - using 164 centrifuges, officials said.

But the breakthrough underlined how difficult it will be for the West 
to convince Iran to give up enrichment.

Ahmadinejad made the announcement in a richly appointed hall of one 
of Iran's holiest cities in a ceremony clearly aimed at proclaiming 
the country's nuclear success.

Speaking before Ahmadinejad, Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh - 
the nuclear chief - said Iran has produced 110 tons of uranium gas, 
the feedstock that is pumped into centrifuges for enrichment. The 
amount is nearly twice the 60 tons of uranium hexaflouride, or UF-6, 
gas that Iran said last year that it had produced.

Aghazadeh said Iran plans to expand its enrichment program to be able 
to use 3,000 centrifuges by the end of the year.

The United States and some European countries accuse Iran of seeking 
to develop nuclear weapons, an accusation Tehran denies, saying it 
intends only to generate electricity.

The IAEA is due to report to the U.N. Security Council on April 28 
whether Iran has met its demand for a full halt to uranium 
enrichment. If Tehran has not complied, the council will consider the 
next step. The U.S. and Europe are pressing for sanctions against 
Iran, a step Russia and China have so far opposed.

McClellan told reporters traveling on Air Force One with     
President Bush that Iran's enrichment claims "only further isolate" 
Tehran and underscore why the international community must continue 
to raise concerns about its suspected ambition to develop nuclear 

McClellan noted the Security Council clock now running on Iran. 

"This is a regime that needs to be building confidence with the 
international community," McClellan said. "Instead, they're moving in 
the wrong direction." 

U.S. Ambassador to the     United Nations John Bolton said the 
Iranians' announcement "shows that they're not paying any attention 
to what the Security Council has said." 

"And it shows why we feel a sense of urgency here that we have to 
have Iran realize the mistaken course it's pursuing," he told The 
Associated Press. 

In Vienna, officials of the IAEA, whose inspectors are now in Iran, 
declined to comment. 

A diplomat familiar with Tehran's enrichment program said the 
announcement appeared to be accurate. He demanded anonymity because 
he was not authorized to discuss information restricted to the 

The reported breakthrough came only two months after Iran resumed 
research on enrichment at its facility in the central town of Natanz 
in February. The resumption of work there prompted the IAEA to report 
Iran to the U.N. Security Council - escalating the standoff. 

The enrichment process is one of the most difficult steps in 
developing a nuclear program. It requires a complicated plumbing 
network of pipes connecting centrifuges that can operate flawless for 
months or years. 

The process aims to produce a gas high with an increased percentage 
of uranium-235, the isotope needed for nuclear fission, which is much 
rarer than the more prevalent isotope uranium 238. 

A gas made from raw uranium is pumped into a centrifuge, which spins, 
causing a small portion of the heavier uranium-238 to drop away. The 
gas then proceeds to other centrifuges - perhaps thousands of them - 
where the process is repeated, increasing the proportion of uranium-

The enrichment process can take years to produce a gas rich enough in 
uranium-235 that it can be used to power a nuclear reactor or produce 
a bomb.

Nuclear energy facilitates sustainable development: Aqazadeh Mashhad 
Apr 12 - (IRNA) The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) 
Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh said Tuesday Iran achieved nuclear know-how and 
has fully paved the way for sustainable progress and development. 

Iran has produced uranium enriched 3.5 percent in its Natanz facility 
thanks to the efforts of its young talented experts, he said in a 
report on Iran's nuclear activities. 

"Iran is determined to open its way for civilian use of nuclear 
energy with respect to great impacts of nuclear science on 
scientific, economic and social development and the sustainable 
development in general. 

"Generating electricity from nuclear energy is among macro plans of 
the Islamic Republic of Iran. Based on a legislation passed by 
Majlis, the government is required to produce 20,000 MW electricity 
from nuclear energy and build several nuclear power plants. 

The IAEO has undertaken to implement the plan in the course of a 
specified period. 

"A contract was signed and executed in cooperation with Russia to 
produce 1,000-MW electricity in the first phase of Bushehr power 
plant as part of the plan," he added. 

He said, "Construction process of Bushehr power plant by the end of 
last Iranian calendar year of 1384 (ended March 20, 2006) showed a 
91.9 percent physical progress. We hope the test production will be 
launched in the current year. 

"The Iranian experts started construction planning of a 360-MW power 
plant in line with development of the country's atomic power plants. 
Moreover, construction of two 1,000-MW units will be put on 
international tender during the current Iranian year. 

"The country's increasing need to different radio medicines for 
diagnosis and various radioisotopes for industrial and research use 
as well as different limitations the country faced in providing these 
radioisotopes from foreign suppliers outside the country made the 
Iranian officials construct a research reactor to be replaced with an 
old reactor. 

"The new 40,000 MW heavy water research reactor, known as R-R-40 will 
be inaugurated in 2008." 
Aqazadeh added, "Self-sufficiency in production of nuclear fuel is 
among other macro plans of Iran. 

"A decision to construct various nuclear power plants, which are 
carried out under full supervision of the International Atomic Energy 
Agency (IAEA), urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to work to produce 
different nuclear fuel. 

"It is obvious, processing of uranium ore into uranium and its 
enrichment should be carried out for producing fuel. Iran is active 
in all stages of fuel production. 

"Bandar Abbas project which was inaugurated during recent weeks by 
Iranian experts was an example of Iran's activities to obtain uranium 
from natural resources. 

"In Saqand project in Yazd, uranium was extracted from a depth of 350-
meter which will turn into yellowcake after different chemical and 
physical transitions in Ardekan city, Yazd." 
The IAEO head stated, "The UCF project in Isfahan turns yellowcake 
into hexa-flouride (UF6) which is metal uranium and uranium oxide. 

This UF6 is the main material for enrichment in Natanz. 

"What is being done at Natanz is completion of uranium enrichment for 
production of nuclear fuel for power plants which use uranium 
enriched 3.5 to five percent. 

"I have the honor to announce 110 tons of UF6 have been produced at 
these important nuclear facilities. 

"Iran is now regarded as the eighth country enjoying advanced 
technology for uranium-processing facilities." 
Aqazadeh added, "Production of heavy water is among most complicated 
modern technologies of the world which limited number of countries 
have such a capability. 

"Primary works of the project began in Iran. Storage of the first 
phase of heavy water has been started. Final capacity of this 
important project hits 16 tons per year. 

"Uranium enrichment technology includes several engineering and basic 
know-how which a few countries currently enjoy it. The significance 
of this technology led to scientific and industrial improvement of 
the country. 

"Thanks to the grace of God, inauguration of pilot and the test 
process of this complex and its technical and practical know-how are 
regarded as the cross border to the advanced know-how. 

"This great success in nuclear technology is the result of wise 
decisions and policies adopted by high-ranking Iranian officials who 
remove suspension from nuclear facilities. 

"It showed high peaks of advanced nuclear know-how can be conquered 
through resistance against illegitimate demands of others and 
confidence of innovative Iranian experts. 

Aqazadeh expressed hope that an uranium enrichment complex with a 
capacity of 3,000 tons will come on stream by the end of the current 
Iranian year (March 20, 2007). 

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