[ RadSafe ] N.Y. nuclear plant's sirens malfunction

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 2 17:11:57 CDT 2006


N.Y. nuclear plant's sirens malfunction 
Lynch objects to proposal for storing nuclear waste at Seabrook
Mothers for Peace appeals decision storing nuclear waste
India's Nuclear Build-Out 
Nuclear power for Bangladesh
Exercise boosts patients undergoing radiation    
Thyroid disease linked to radiation

N.Y. nuclear plant's sirens malfunction 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Aug 2 (AP) - The 156 emergency sirens that are 
designed to alert nearby residents of an emergency at the Indian 
Point nuclear power plants were out of service for more than six 
hours Wednesday because of a computer malfunction, officials said. 
The sirens, which have a history of operating problems and are due to 
be replaced by next year, were out from 12:06 a.m. to 6:35 a.m., said 
Jim Steets, spokesman for Indian Point owner Entergy Nuclear 

He said the malfunction was unrelated to heat and power problems 
currently plaguing the area. He said a computer program that 
continuously monitors the sirens malfunctioned, making it impossible 
to activate them.

Had an emergency occurred at Indian Point during the outage, a backup 
plan involving automatic phone calls, trucks with loudspeakers and 
radio and TV bulletins would have been implemented to alert residents 
within 10 miles of the plants.

Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said 
NRC inspectors would monitor Entergy's investigation of what caused 
Wednesday's problem.

Steets said Indian Point emergency planning workers were immediately 
alerted to the problem by a recently added feature that automatically 
calls them if there's a malfunction. A year ago, the sirens stood 
useless for nearly six hours when power was lost to a signal 
transmitter and the failure went undiscovered.

Westchester's emergency services commissioner, Tony Sutton, said he 
was not notified of the problem until after 4 a.m.

"I would have liked it earlier," he said. "If there had been a 
radiological emergency, say, before then, I would have gotten a call 
that said, 'We have a problem and by the way the sirens are out.'"

The NRC has demanded, and Entergy has promised, a state-of-the-art 
siren system by January.

The siren system also was down for more than three hours in March 
when it locked up during a test and Entergy took it down to repair 
it. In addition, regular tests of the system usually result in 
partial failures.

The nuclear plants are on the Hudson River about 35 miles north of 
midtown Manhattan. Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, many 
residents of the lower Hudson Valley have called for the plants to be 
closed, but federal authorities have found them to be safe and the 
emergency precautions to be sufficient.

Lynch objects to proposal for storing nuclear waste at Seabrook

CONCORD, N.H. Aug 2 (AP) --Gov. John Lynch sent a letter Wednesday 
objecting to a proposal that could lead to long-term storage of 
nuclear waste at the Seabrook Station and Vermont Yankee power 

Lynch wrote to U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, who heads the Subcommittee on 
Energy and Water Development, saying the proposal is wrong for the 
health and safety of the citizens of New Hampshire.

He also said state ratepayers, like those in many other states, have 
paid millions to create one secure national storage site in Nevada 
and to change course now is a bad move.

Mothers for Peace appeals decision storing nuclear waste

San Luis Obispo Aug 2 Citing past problems that resulted in nearly 
$200,000 in fines, the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace has appealed 
a state decision to renew for another 10 years a hazardous waste 
storage permit for Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The nuclear watchdog group is asking the state Department of Toxic 
Substances Control to update the plant´s permit to prevent future 
violations and reflect recent hazardous waste problems at other 
nuclear facilities across the country. The permit allows PG&E to 
store toxic substances, such as chemicals and corrosives, as well as 
low-level radioactive waste for as much as a year before it is 
shipped to permanent disposal facilities.

The appeal has been referred to Watson Gin, deputy director of the 
department´s Hazardous Waste Management Program, who will review it 
to determine if it raises legitimate concerns. If so, he will reopen 
the permit to pubic comment and issue a ruling within a month, said 
Carol Singleton, department spokeswoman.

The permit does not cover storage of the plant´s highly radioactive 
used reactor fuel. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversees 
those facilites.

India's Nuclear Build-Out 

Aug 2 (Business Week) The country needs nuclear energy to keep up its 
rapid expansion, and Bush wants to help provide it. He faces some 
hurdles there and at home 
If there is one thing that could trip up India's rapid economic 
ascendancy, it is a paralyzing energy crunch. To avoid that fate, the 
country desperately needs a major build-out of its nuclear reactor 
capacity (it kicks in only 3% of India's energy needs now), and that 
means access to international uranium supplies and reactor 

Indian power companies, not to mention global nuclear-reactor 
builders and suppliers, see vast potential. Yet it all hinges on a 
critical and highly contentious U.S.-India nuclear deal getting 
nailed down in Washington.

A possible breakthrough came on July 27, when the U.S. House of 
Representatives approved a U.S.-India nuclear pact under which the 
U.S. will provide India with fuel and reactor technology for its 
civilian nuclear program in return for extra safeguards imposed on 
India's nuclear weapons activities. This represents a significant win 
for India as it would get access to nuclear fuel supplies despite 
that New Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation 

WIN-WIN SITUATION. The Bush Administration has pushed mightily for 
legislative approval of the deal, arguing that India deserves special 
treatment given its solid track record in not spreading nuclear 
weapons technology. A largely unspoken incentive, of course, is the 
huge commercial potential for U.S. companies such as General Electric 
(GE), nuclear fuel supplier US Enrichment (USU), and contractors and 
material suppliers such as Bechtel, Lockheed, (LMT) and Boeing (BA).

An estimated $60 billion in reactor and related supply contracts 
could be up for grabs in the coming decades if India's nuclear power 
industry gets access to international fuel supplies, investment, and 

A U.S.-India nuclear deal still has some hurdles to overcome. The 
Senate hasn't yet considered the so-called United States and India 
Nuclear Cooperation Act of 2006. The Bush Administration faces stiff 
opposition from a bi-partisan group of U.S. legislators who think 
cutting India a break will outrage war-on-terror ally Pakistan and 
demolish global compliance among other countries that have signed the 
nuclear nonproliferation treaty at a time of great anxiety about 
weapons of mass destruction.

NEEDED INSURANCE. Another key issue crucial to U.S. companies, and 
still in of resolution, is that India doesn't yet have a law that 
limits liability claims on private investors in the event of a 
nuclear plant accident or mishap-equal to the Price-Anderson Act in 
the U.S. No foreign company will bet big on India without that kind 
of assurance.

"We need that protection in order to operate," says Andy White, 
president and CEO of GE Energy's nuclear business. "India understands 
that it has to put a liability law in place." That will probably 
happen, but getting that and legislative approval in the U.S. will 
take another year or so, White predicts.

India clearly must reconfigure, expand, and diversify its energy 
industry. The country is already failing to meet its energy demands, 
and that is constraining economic growth. Without additional 
electricity power generation, New Delhi will have a tough time 
boosting annual gross domestic product growth to 10% by 2010, from 
around 8% now.

AGING FACILITIES. India's power ministry intends to add by the year 
2012 another 100,000 megawatts to the country's current installed 
capacity of 130,000 megawatts. But even with India adding 60,000 
megawatts of coal and thermal capacity, the country is unambiguously 
short the 400,000 megawatts it actually needs to sustain its rapidly 
growing economic activity, says Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance 
Energy, one of India's top private power players. A big ramp-up in 
nuclear reactors would help close that gap.

India does have nuclear plants-about 16 of them and seven under 
construction, including two large ones and a fast breeder reactor. 
Some of them were built decades ago, are small-scale, and are 
administered by the federally run Nuclear Power Corp. And they've all 
been suffering from lack of modern technology as well as a fuel 
shortage, the result of sanctions imposed on India when it tested a 
nuclear missile in 1998 and because India has refused to sign the 
nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

India's Atomic Energy Act prohibits private players from owning any 
nuclear plants, with the NPC or other government companies having a 
monopoly over them. So the industry has been stunted by lack of 
investment, capacity, and manpower. "We need to add more investment 
and more importantly, both the public and private sector must be 
involved," says Leena Srivastava, executive director of energy think-
tank Tata Energy Research Institute.

PRIVATE PLAYERS. Assuming the U.S.-India deal goes through, India 
realistically won't start letting out international contracts for its 
nuclear build-out until the middle of 2007. And it will be seven 
years from now before the first unit of electricity from a new 
nuclear power plant is released. Still, the industry is eager, 
hopeful, and looking forward to a dramatic expansion.

Until the Atomic Energy Act is amended by India's Parliament to 
permit private players to have 100% ownership of new plants, the big 
beneficiary will of course be Nuclear Power Corp. (NPC). But industry 
execs expect the Act to be amended by year end, soon after the Senate 
approves the pact in Washington.

Right now, the NPC's current nuclear expansion plans will double 
capacity to 7,280 megawatts by 2012, with another 6,800 megawatts to 
be added after that. However, if the U.S.-India deal goes through-and 
NPC assumes it will-the company will be able to add another 15,000 to 
20,000 megawatts of power to India by 2020, says Sudhinder Thakur, 
NPC's executive director for corporate planning.

PRESIDENTIAL VISIT. Already, the private players are readying for 
their entry. Reliance Energy (RELFF) and Tata Power, the two largest 
private power players in India, are both actively preparing for new 
business ahead. Reliance's V.K. Chaturvedi, director of its nuclear 
power initiative and former chairman of the NPC, says the company has 
done a considerable amount of advance work, keeping ready a team of 
12, researching the different technologies for use, and sussing out 
the costs required.

Tata has also been preparing, and its top executive Ratan Tata has 
lobbied tirelessly for a deal with the U.S. ever since George Bush 
visited India for the first time back in March, and both sides agreed 
to explore a historic nuclear energy tie-up (see BusinessWeek.com, 
3/2/06, "Jewel in the Crown"). "Today, we are vulnerable to the 
impact of crude oil on gas, to foreign exchange rates, to 
availability of resources," he told shareholders at the company's 
annual meeting on Aug. 1.

Another big beneficiary would be Larson & Toubro, an engineering and 
construction firm that has had a virtual monopoly on building India's 
nuclear plants, mostly heavy water reactors. A nuclear industry 
expansion would give a big boost to L&T's future growth. With an eye 
on the $60 billion opportunity, Madhukar Kotwal, L&T's director for 
heavy equipment, sees big opportunities in the construction of light 
water reactors that India will likely use. He says the company "could 
get up to 25% of that business."

Foreign players are likely to get a piece of that action, too, though 
the competition will be fierce, much as it is in China, where some 30 
new reactors are expected to be built by 2020 (see BusinessWeek.com, 
10/3/05, "Reactors? We Will Take Thirty, Please").

Paris has already started wooing India, hoping that France's Areva 
Group will profit from any future nuclear reactor business. Other 
foreign companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Russia's 
Atomstroyexport, and Siemens (SI) of Germany will also be in the 
hunt. "We will see who gets what share," says GE's White. This much 
seems certain: If India gets to realize its civilian nuclear industry 
ambitions, get ready for a real free-for-all. 

Nuclear power for Bangladesh

July 28 (Bangladesh News) - By nuclear power, I mean electricity 
produced from nuclear reaction. The first nuclear chain reaction 
produced electricity experimentally in a reactor in Chicago in 1945 
and the first commercial nuclear power plant was built in 1954, nine 
years later. Since then, nuclear power reactors have grown fast and 
about 390 of them were built until 1986. 

It is interesting to note that in spite of the decline in the 
construction of nuclear power plants following the Chernobyl accident 
(1986), the percentage of electricity produced by them all over the 
world has remained stable and nuclear power is now producing 16% of 
the world's electricity. Table 1 summarises the current status of 
nuclear power (until end 2004) in the world.

Although construction of nuclear power stations in the western 
countries declined, research and development work for safe nuclear 
power reactors continued and many new designs of such nuclear 
reactors have been made. The Director General of IAEA recently stated 
that in view of changing market requirements, particular attention 
has been made for small and medium sized reactors which allow a more 
incremental investment and match the grid capacity of developing 
countries. Such innovative designs can be more easily adapted to a 
broad range of dual purpose applications including sea-water 
desalination and manufacture of chemical fuels.

Recent developments

For many years after the Chernobyl accident, most developed countries 
had put a brake on the construction of power stations and 
concentrated on energy efficiency, so that need for additional 
electricity could be kept to the minimum. Meanwhile, the Kyoto 
Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change entered 
into force in 2005, after the ratification of the Protocol by the 
Russian Federation. 

This will have a long term effect on the future prospects of nuclear 
power production, as the global warming issue has caused prominent 
environmentalists to rethink their opposition to nuclear power 
because of its very low greenhouse gas emissions (from mining to 
waste disposal) as contrasted to those from conventional power 
stations which could lead to a global temperature rise of 2 degrees 
to 5 degrees celcius (less at the equator and more at the poles). It 
may be mentioned that the present 440 nuclear reactors are saving 600 
million tons of carbon every year (twice the total amount estimated 
to be avoided by Kyoto Protocol by 2010) 

Keeping such prospects of nuclear power in mind, a World Nuclear 
Association (WNA) has been formed in 2001 with member companies 
involved not only in the construction of nuclear power stations but 
mining, conversion, enrichment and fabrication of nuclear fuel. 

According to John Ritch, Director General of WNA, not only fossil 
supplies may simply be inadequate to meet world energy needs, but a 
massive shift towards nuclear power is now environmentally 
indispensable. The technology has matured for safe operation and 
feasible waste disposal, while efforts could be made for 
internationalization of the nuclear fuel cycle and a progress towards 
a "carbon-constrained" economy should make nuclear power increasingly 

Present electricity situation

As nuclear power can only contribute to the electricity generation 
part in the power supply system, it may be worthwhile to recollect 
the present electricity generation current base case. A rationalized 
electricity consumption, better management of peak demand and 
improvement in the end-use efficiency could reduce the need for new 
addition by 3000 MW. Natural gas could thus be saved further, but 
this would still mean that production of coal should be over 10 
million tons per year by 2015 and 40 million tons per year by 2025 
(assuming 50% export of coal) for power production only, which 
appears ambitious. 

Even then, this low generation target in 2025 will be less than the 
present per capita power production in India or Pakistan. Beyond 
2025, it will be harder to maintain the electricity growth target. It 
is, therefore, vital for the country to look for alternative fuel for 
power production and nuclear power technology is at our doorsteps. 

It may be noted that it takes in long time to complete a nuclear 
power station (5 years). Starting with a modest nuclear power station 
of 600 MW (to supply power from, say 2011- 2012), the target could be 
to produce 15% of electricity from nuclear power by 2030. 

At present (2004), 22 countries in the world consume more than 15% of 
nuclear electricity (Table 1). Nuclear power stations are usually 
situated in a load dispatch centre and act as a base load station 
(above 85% plant factor) and should thus provide reliable electricity 
in a grid system. 

The present peak load generation, which is stated to be about 4500 MW 
(draft background document of National Energy Policy, March 2006) is 
fluctuating due to faulty performance of individual power plants, 
many of which are too old and should be replaced.

The power sector reform road map aims to accommodate 8% growth in 
electricity generation with a 25% reserve margin, encourage private 
sector power development and improve the sector performance. The 
present estimate of base peak generation in 2025 is about 20,000 MW 
to produce over 100,000 GWh of electrical energy.

If natural gas is used for power generation at the present rate, this 
would result in complete depletion of existing reserves within 10-12 
years. A generation mix of coal-fired power generation (1500 MW in 
2015 and about 10000 MW by 2025) could substitute 124 million tons of 
coal for 2.3 tcf of gas and would halve the annual natural gas 

History of nuclear power in Bangladesh

Nuclear power in Bangladesh may be termed as a story of missed 
opportunities. Not long after the first nuclear power station was 
built in UK, the then government started feasibility studies for 
possible nuclear power in Bangladesh in 1961. The International 
Atomic Energy Agency supported such a possibility in 1962 and an US 
firm recommended the setting up of a 50 MW(!) station in 1963. 

Soon, tender was floated for such a station and simultaneously, a 
site along the Padma River, measuring 262 acres of land in Rooppur 
and another 12 acres of land, a few miles away for residential colony 
were acquired. Although the tender response was good with three 
proposals for a boiling water or a pressurised water (BWR/PWR) 
reactor of size 67-70 MW costing only Rs. 12.26 crore. 

The project was abandoned because the expected US aid was not 
available. Since then many other projects proposals, including one 
from the Soviet Union (offered by Prime Minister Mr. Kosygin himself) 
in 1968 and a private sector offer from Belgium in 1969 were not 
considered for various reasons by the government. 

After liberation, due to urgent pressing problems at home, nuclear 
power was not considered until Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission 
(BAEC) was constituted in 1973. Following this, a fact-finding 
mission was sent to Europe. After considering their report, which 
recommended three alternatives (from 125 MW to 600 MW plant), 
Bangladesh government decided go for a 125 MW French power reactor 
with a Japanese turbo-generator. Although the project was approved by 
ECNEC in 1980 at a cost of Tk 603 crore, it could not be taken up for 
want of necessary funds. Instead, a 3 MW(t) research reactor was set 
up in Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE), Savar.

Following Chernobyl accident, adverse international opinion started 
building up against nuclear power in spite of which an attempt was 
made for a nuclear power station in late eighties. A feasibility 
study was conducted by Motor Columbus (Switzerland) and Lahmeyer 
International (Germany) and they recommended a combination of three 
small and safe power reactors (each of size 80 MW) fuelled by a 
conglomeration of small, tennis-ball sized uranium dioxide kernels 
developed by Germany. The project was again abandoned for want of 
funds. The Bangladesh government, however, continued to support a 
nuclear power program and formed a high-level implementationcommittee 
in preparation for nuclear power. A Nuclear Safety and Radiation 
Control Act was passed by the Parliament in 1993 and collaboration 
with IAEA continued. 

Present situation

In view of the failure of the past nuclear projects, mainly for lack 
of funds, IAEA had recommended that Bangladesh should try for 
implementation of nuclear power projects by private sector, who could 
organise both technology and funding for an IPP project. The recovery 
of the cost will be made through a power purchase agreement (PPA) 
with an agency of the government. 

Keeping private sector entrepreneurship in mind, an IAEA mission 
visited Bangladesh in 1997 when a time bound action plan for pre-
implementation phase of the first nuclear project was defined and 
several follow-up actions were taken. A training workshop for nuclear 
power project planning was held in Dhaka in 1999. This was not only 
the largest training program focused on a country but extra-budgetary 
funds of the agency was made available for it.

Further, an expert group meeting in Vienna was convened in which a 
draft National Nuclear Power Action Plan for Bangladesh was reviewed. 
IAEA agreed to provide assistance for training of manpower, 
evaluation of an updated site report as well as the preparation of a 
Request for Proposal (RFP) document. A revised Site Safety Report 
(especially considering low surface water in Rooppur, as at present) 
and a comprehensive "Bid Evaluation Document" comprising of technical 
and financial offers for the implementation of the project on a BOO 
or BOOT basis have been prepared by BAEC. IAEA has been wanting a 
stamp of priority by the government before the RFP could be sent to 
pre-qualified manufacturers. This is awaited for some years now.

A comparative cost estimate for nuclear power vis-a-vis cost from 
other means is given in Table 2. It may be seen that except the 
estimate made by M.I.T., all other studies favour nuclear power. 
Because of recent interest in nuclear power, uranium market price has 
gone up, but this will make a small difference in the cost of power 
production as fuel plays a small part in estimating generation cost. 
It is, therefore, necessary to complete the uranium purchase for the 
whole period of nuclear power operation (easily 30 years).

Final analysis and recommendation

Bangladesh has gone a long way in getting ready for nuclear power. 
Manpower has been trained, radiation safety bill has been passed, 
land for the first nuclear power station has been acquired, many 
feasibility studies have been made. Energy policy has clearly stated 
the necessity for energy security and keep all options for power 
production open. 

Bangladesh has impeccable credential for non-proliferation, which are 
manifested in signing of NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty), 
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Safeguards Agreement, Protocol 
Additional to the Safeguards Agreement and Bilateral Agreements on 
peaceful uses of atomic energy with different countries. 

IAEA has always supported Bangladesh in her search for nuclear power 
and will provide more help in implementing a nuclear power program. 
The fear of nuclear accident, as happened in Chernobyl, is receding 
with safer designs for nuclear power reactors. The initial cost, 
though high, will still produce electricity at a comparable 
generation cost. Problem of waste disposal has also its solution. 

If political will is there, the opponents of nuclear power will 
honour the will, as long as commitment to peaceful uses of atomic 
energy remains and sufficient precautions have been made for safety 
and safeguards. After all, 75% of electricity in France is generated 
from nuclear power stations and there is no dearth of nuclear fuel in 
the world, with prospect of endless new fuel from fast breeder 

It is therefore, recommended that instead of waiting to obtain 
foreign aid for constructing a nuclear power station (preferably 600 
MW), which would cost about $1 billion, international bids should be 
invited, as per suggestion of IAEA and in collaboration with them, so 
that joint evaluation can also be made. The prospective bidders, 
ready with new designs for nuclear power are eagerly a waiting for 
such a call. 

For financiers, a large project, with assured return (and it will be 
so for a power station), is preferable to many smaller projects. Land 
is available and many other preparatory studies have already been 
made by BAEC. The developer has to arrange fuel for the entire period 
of operation of the power reactor and take back the burnt fuel so the 
Bangladesh does not have the problem of the main waste disposal.

If Bangladesh is to get out of the chronic power shortage problem and 
look for energy security, entry into a long term nuclear power 
program should not be delayed any more and decision has to be made by 
Bangladesh and not other countries. Safety and safeguards issues can 
be dealt with by BAEC and IAEA.

Exercise boosts patients undergoing radiation     

Los Angeles Aug 1 (LA Times) Among the growing list of people who can 
benefit from exercise, add another group: cancer patients in the 
midst of radiation treatment.

A new study has found that women and men undergoing radiation for 
breast and prostate cancer felt less fatigued, had improved quality 
of life and missed fewer treatment sessions when they engaged in a 
six-week routine of moderate exercise.
"To have their fatigue dissipate was really great," says Karen 
Mustian, assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University 
of Rochester School of Medicine, who presented the 2005 study last 
month at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical 
Oncology. Fatigue is not only a common side effect of radiation 
treatment but can get worse as treatment continues, she says.

The study included 39 sedentary men and women who were undergoing 
radiation therapy for cancer. Half were encouraged to engage in a 
daily program that included moderate walking and conditioning 
workouts using elastic bands. The other half were assigned to a 
control group that did no exercise. At the start and end of the 
study, as well as three months later, participants filled out surveys 
rating their levels of energy and strength.

The control group reported higher levels of fatigue as the study 
progressed and showed a decline in muscle strength. The exercise 
group showed significant improvement. They were able to walk farther 
and faster as time went by and do routine daily activities without 

Thyroid disease linked to radiation

Jul 31 (Deseret Morning News) Federal scientists have uncovered a 
link between radiation exposure from a nuclear weapons plant and 
autoimmune disease. By extension, it is another indication of the 
dangers of the open-air atomic testing that rained fallout on Utah 
and throughout the United States. The Hanford Birth Cohort study was 
released last week by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease 
Registry. It examined residents who lived for at least one year near 
the Hanford Nuclear Reservation between 1944 and 1957, when the plant 
was releasing radioactive gas while manufacturing plutonium for 
bombs. Their health reports were compared with those of a similar 
number who lived in other areas of Washington. The study tallied 
conditions of 1,160 people in both areas. To be counted as among 
those in the more heavily exposed area, people had to have lived in 
Adams, Benton or Franklin counties, Wash., or at least one year 
between Jan. 1, 1945, and Dec. 31, 1951. The control group included 
residents living in Mason, San Juan or Whatcom counties. "The study 
found a small increased risk of Hashimoto's thyroiditis . . . for men 
who lived closer to (the) Hanford facility," says a report posted on 
the Internet at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hanford/docs/New%20Hanford.pdf. 
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease caused by the 
thyroid gland producing too little thyroid hormone, it adds. Oddly, 
the percentage of women with the disorder was the same among both 
groups, indicating that this exposure affected only men. The report 
offers this explanation for the exposure: "The Hanford nuclear 
facility released large amounts of iodine-131 and other radioactive 
materials into the air from 1944 to 1957. Iodine-131 (radioactive 
iodine) was carried by winds and deposited on vegetation. Cows and 
goats ate the vegetation contaminated by iodine-131. Iodine-131 
passed into the cow's and goat's milk that people drank." The bulk of 
the exposure for those affected came through this source, it adds, 
but people also were exposed by eating contaminated fruits and 
vegetables and by breathing air with the radioactive material in it. 
"Once inhaled or ingested, iodine-131 is deposited in the thyroid 
gland. Children who lived in Adams, Benton or Franklin counties at 
the time of the releases received the highest doses of iodine-131." 
The study found no evidence for an increased rate of diseases like 
rheumatic fever, stroke, fibromyalgia or heart attacks. The study 
found that 10 men among the 291 checked in the high-exposure counties 
had the autoimmune thyroid condition, compared with four men among 
385 checked in the control group. That was 3.4 percent of men in the 
high-exposure counties compared to just slightly over 1 percent in 
the nonexposed counties. Men in the exposed counties were 3.31 times 
as likely as men in the more distant counties to have the disorder, 
the report notes. It labeled this finding "statistically significant" 
and advised people who think they may have been exposed to see their 
physicians. The study has many gaps, including its apparent ignoring 
of cancer. It also does not attempt to refine the risk to someone who 
lived throughout the entire period in the high-exposure counties, 
compared with those who lived there just a year. Finally, exposed 
children were the most vulnerable, it says, but does not state how 
many of those studied were adults while living in the high-exposure 
counties. This is a "red flag" warning, said Dr. Peter Rickards, a 
Twin Falls, Idaho, podiatrist who was involved in a federal study 
concerning the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. "It is 
interesting that they did find actually triple the rate" for 
autoimmune thyroiditis among men, he said. "This is really important. 
I'm not sure I believe at all that the women did not reflect the 
higher autoimmune (disease) rate," he said. Rickards is calling for 
the federal government to give documented downwinders, both in Utah 
and Washington, $500 vouchers for medical exams. This would be a 
"very inexpensive, efficient way to track the actual documented 
downwinders," he said. Rickards warned that the study might turn out 
to be "just the tip of the iceberg" of autoimmune disorders among 
those exposed to radiation. This was the latest in a series of 
studies linking health effects to radiation involving nuclear bombs. 
Iodine-131 from above-ground tests at the Nevada Test Site has been 
tied to cancer.  A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
advisory on the Internet points out: "People exposed to I-131, 
especially during childhood, may have an increased risk of thyroid 
disease, including thyroid cancer many years later. Thyroid cancer is 
uncommon and is usually curable."

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/ 

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