[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Nuclear power enters global warming debate

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Mon Apr 9 10:51:47 CDT 2007


Nuclear power enters global warming debate
OSHA Seeks Input From Stakeholders On Ionizing Radiation 
Nuclear energy and metal processing plant in far-eastern Russia
On the hunt for radiation around Vermont Yankee
NNSA sets up new radiation exposure lab
Duke Researchers Quick Test That Could Detect Exposure to Radiation 
Ahmadinejad arrived at Natanz to inspect its nuclear facilities
Nuclear reactor may restart at half-power after fire
IMV Reports Increased Use of Image-Guided Radiotherapy

Nuclear power enters global warming debate

Legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions creates new alliances and 
opens old wounds on Capitol Hill.

WASHINGTON (LA Times) Apr 9 - The renewed push for legislation to cut 
greenhouse gas emissions could falter over an old debate: whether 
nuclear power should play a role in any federal attack on climate 

Congress, with added impetus from a Supreme Court ruling last week, 
appears more likely to pass comprehensive energy legislation. But 
nuclear power sharply divides lawmakers who agree on mandatory caps 
on carbon dioxide emissions. And it has pitted some on Capitol Hill 
against their usual allies, environmentalists, who largely oppose any 
expansion of nuclear power.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Barbara Boxer - Bay Area 
Democrats with similar political views - are on opposite sides.

Pelosi used to be an ardent foe of nuclear power but now holds a 
different view. "I think it has to be on the table," she said.

Boxer, head of the Senate committee that will take the lead in 
writing global warming legislation, said that turning from fossil 
fuels to nuclear power was "trading one problem for another."

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham 
Clinton (D-N.Y.) - all presidential candidates - support legislation 
that would cap greenhouse gas emissions and provide incentives to 
power companies to build more nuclear plants.

Opponents of nuclear power say that because a terrorist attack on a 
plant could be catastrophic, it makes no sense to build more 
potential targets. And radioactive waste still has no permanent 
burial site, they say, despite officials' three decades of trying to 
find one.

But attitudes toward nuclear power may be shifting as a consensus 
emerges that greenhouse gases are causing the world to heat up.

The Supreme Court added its voice, criticizing the Bush 
administration for not acting to control greenhouse gases.

Max Schulz, a former Energy Department staff member who is a senior 
fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, said 
the ruling could help "spur the revival of nuclear power."

And congressional Democratic leaders have made passage of global 
warming legislation a priority.

"I've never been a fan of nuclear energy," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein 
(D-Calif.), who has called it expensive and risky. "But reducing 
emissions from the electricity sector presents a major challenge. And 
if we can be assured that new technologies help to produce nuclear 
energy safely and cleanly, then I think we have to take a look at 

The public's attitude toward nuclear power is more favorable when 
such energy is seen as part of an effort to fight climate change. 
Polls over the years have shown that a slim majority backs nuclear 
power, but a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg survey last summer found 
that a larger majority, 61%, supported the increased use of nuclear 
energy "to prevent global warming."

Legislation introduced recently in California seeks to repeal a 1976 
ban on new nuclear plants in the state.

"There's no question that the attention to climate change over the 
last several years has materially changed the public discussion of 
nuclear power," said Jason Grumet, executive director of the National 
Commission on Energy Policy, a bipartisan group of energy experts. 
Given the threat of global warming, he said, "it's hard to ignore the 
principal source of noncarbon power generation in the country today."

One environmental group has tried to keep an open mind. "We don't 
think any options should be taken off the table when dealing with 
global warming," said Environmental Defense spokesman Charlie Miller.

The nuclear power industry in the U.S. has been at a virtual 
standstill because of high construction costs, regulatory 
uncertainties and public apprehension after a 1979 accident at 
Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island.

A number of plants ordered before the accident went into operation. 
But many more were canceled after one of the Three Mile Island 
reactors suffered a partial meltdown and small amounts of radiation 
were released into the atmosphere.

Reviving the industry has been a priority for President Bush, who 
sees nuclear power as crucial to meeting a growing demand for 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission expects to receive applications for 
about two dozen new plants in the next few years - in part because of 
provisions in a 2005 energy bill designed to promote nuclear power.

Currently, 103 nuclear plants - including Diablo Canyon near San Luis 
Obispo and San Onofre in northern San Diego County - generate about 
20% of the nation's electricity.

The amount of congressional support for nuclear power is unclear. 

When McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) added subsidies for 
nuclear power to their 2005 bill to cut greenhouse gas emissions, 
they lost support from environmentalists and votes in Congress, 
including Boxer's.

McCain said he had no idea whether he would be more successful this 
time. But he said there was "no way that you could ever seriously 
attack the issue of greenhouse gas emissions without nuclear power, 
and anybody who tells you differently is not telling the truth."

On Capitol Hill last month, former Vice President Al Gore, who has 
become a leading advocate for swift action on climate change, said he 
saw nuclear plants as a "small part" of the strategy.

"They're so expensive, and they take so long to build, and at present 
they only come in one size: extra large," he said. 

"And people don't want to make that kind of investment in an 
uncertain market for energy demand."

The McCain-Lieberman bill, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas 
emissions by 2050 to a third of 2000 levels, would provide federal 
loans or guarantees to subsidize as many as three advanced reactor 

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Public Citizen said the 
bill would authorize more than $3.7 billion in subsidies for new 
nuclear plants.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), a cosponsor of the McCain-Lieberman 
legislation, thinks support for nuclear power could bring more votes.

"Three or four years ago, if you included nuclear, you lost more than 
you gained," he said. "Today ... you pick up more than you lose."

But nuclear power faces huge political and economic obstacles.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) remains opposed to the 
planned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal site in his state.

And Philip E. Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust, 
said he did not think subsidies could overcome the concerns of 
potential investors. "There isn't enough money in the federal till to 
change Wall Street's calculation of the financial risks," he said.

Even some lawmakers who support nuclear power question whether the 
industry needs more federal money.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Senate Energy and 
Natural Resources Committee, sees nuclear power as a "mature 
industry," said Bill Wicker, his spokesman. "Emerging climate-
friendly and genuinely renewable technologies like wind and solar and 
geothermal and biomass could use that [funding] boost," Wicker said.

Some environmentalists remain steadfastly opposed to nuclear power.

"Investments in energy conservation and renewable energy are quicker, 
more cost-effective and sustainable ways to reduce global warming 
emissions," said Erich Pica of Friends of the Earth, which will 
oppose McCain's bill as long as it contains subsidies for nuclear 

Such environmentalists also note that carbon emissions from nuclear 
fuel processing are significant. They say the costs and risks of 
nuclear power are too high and far greater than alternatives, such as 
solar and wind power.

"Switching from coal to nukes," said Dan Becker, director of the 
Sierra Club's global warming program, "is like giving up smoking and 
taking up crack."

OSHA Seeks Input From Stakeholders On Ionizing Radiation 
Agency announces dates of final two meetings

Washington, DC Apr 9 - The Occupational Safety and Health 
Administration (OSHA) invites the public to participate in its final 
two informal stakeholder meetings on Occupational Exposure to 
Ionizing Radiation in a Federal Register Notice published March 30, 
2007. These planned meetings continue OSHA's information collection 
efforts and will add to the information obtained under the Request 
for Information published on May 5, 2005.

"These meetings are an exceptional opportunity for us to hear from 
stakeholders and exchange data, share ideas and varying points of 
view on how to work safely with sources of ionizing radiation," said 
Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.

The next stakeholder meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
on April 19, 2007, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel, 5440 
North River Road, Rosemont, Ill., 60018. This meeting will cover 
accelerator operations.

The final meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 
26, 2007, at the Department of Labor, Frances Perkins Building, 200 
Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. The meeting will 
cover the uses of ionizing radiation for security activities.

OSHA requests the public be prepared to discuss the following issues 
regarding occupational exposure to ionizing radiation in their 
industry/occupation: uses of ionizing radiation, controls utilized to 
minimize exposure and available exposure data and training.

Those who wish to participate in a stakeholder meeting must notify 
OSHA by e-mail at navas.liset at dol.gov, FAX at (202) 693-1678, or by 
mail to Liset Navas, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of 
Labor, Room N3718, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 
20210 no later than April 11, 2007.

Nuclear energy and metal processing plant in far-eastern Russia

MOSCOW (Thomson Financial) Apr 9 - Russian aluminium producer Rusal 
and Russian nuclear energy agency Rosatom said they are to begin to 
work on plans to build a vast nuclear energy and metal processing 
plant in far-eastern Russia.

An agreement signed by both parties stated they had agreed to carry 
out "a detailed exploration of the opportunities to create an energy 
and metals complex in the Far East, notably a nuclear power station 
and an aluminium blast furnace."

A feasability study for the project is to be carried out before the 
end of the year, with a construction calendar to be defined 

The statement did not give details of where the complex might be 

On the hunt for radiation around Vermont Yankee
VERNON, Vt. Bill Irwin of Burlington is the state of Vermont's 
radiation checker.

Four times a year he takes a two-day tour of Windham County with a 
representative of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to check 
radiation monitors installed near the plant.

Irwin is radiological health chief for the Vermont Department of 
Health. He joined the department in 2005, after stints working in 
radiation safety at the Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire and 
in Massachusetts.

Just how much radiation is being emitted by Vermont Yankee has been a 
bone of contention recently.

The Health Department reported that the plant had exceeded the state 
limit of 20 milirems per year in 2004.

Vermont Yankee disagreed, and the two agreed to bring in a consultant 
to study the issue.

Last month, Oak Ridge Associated Universities reported that the state 
limit most likely had not been exceeded.

NNSA sets up new radiation exposure lab

WASHINGTON, April 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. National Nuclear Security 
Administration has set up a new facility to help identify radiation 
exposure levels. 

"In the event of a nuclear or radiological accident or terrorist 
attack, NNSA's new Cytogenetics Biodosimetry Laboratory in Oak Ridge, 
Tenn., will be able to help determine the amount of radiation that a 
potential victim has been exposed to so that physicians can better 
formulate treatment plans," the NNSA, an agency of the U.S. 
Department of Energy, said in a statement. 

"Determining the amount of radiation exposure can ultimately mean the 
difference between life and death for the victims," said Joseph Krol, 
the head of NNSA's emergency operations. "This facility is absolutely 
unique within the civilian community and it will help to ensure that 
our nation is ready and able to respond to a nuclear emergency. We 
are very pleased that NNSA was able to provide the federal leadership 
necessary to re-establish this important national security 

"Cytogenetic biodosimetry is a proven method for accurately 
estimating how much exposure a person has had to radiation," the NNSA 
statement said. "A cytogenetics laboratory operated at Oak Ridge 
until 1998, and after that the military had the nation's only 
cytogenetic capability. 

"With the increased focus on nuclear terrorism since the 9/11 
terrorist attacks, NNSA decided to re-establish civilian cytogenetic 
capabilities by constructing an improved laboratory," the statement 
said. "The new CBL was jointly funded by NNSA, the Department of 
Energy's Office of Worker Safety and Health, and the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission," it said. 

The NNSA said the new lab would be run as part of its Radiation 
Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site, or REAC/TS, in the Oak 
Ridge Institute for Science and Education.

Duke Researchers Develop Quick Test That Could Detect Exposure to 

DURHAM, N.C. -- In the event of a nuclear or radiological 
catastrophe, such as a nuclear accident or a "dirty bomb,"- thousands 
of people would be exposed to radiation, with no way of quickly 
determining how much of the deadly substance has seeped inside their 

Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have developed a new 
blood test to rapidly detect levels of radiation exposure so that 
potentially life-saving treatments could be administered to the 
people who need them most.

There appears to be a critical window of 48 to 72 hours for 
administering treatments aimed at halting the devastating effects of 
radiation, said senior study investigator John Chute, M.D., an 
associate professor of medicine in the Duke Adult Bone Marrow and 
Stem Cell Transplant Program. But existing tests for measuring 
radiation exposure take several days and are not practical for 
testing large numbers of patients at once.

"If a terrorist attack involving radioactive material were to occur, 
hospitals might be overrun with people seeking treatment, many of 
whom have actually been exposed and many of whom are simply 
panicked," Chute said. "We have to be able to efficiently screen a 
large number of people for radiation exposure in order to respond 
effectively to a mass casualty event."

The new test scans thousands of genes from a blood sample to identify 
distinct genomic "signatures" reflecting varying radiation doses. 
Patients can then be handled according to whether they received no 
exposure to radiation, an intermediate level of exposure that may 
respond to medical therapies or an inevitably lethal dose.

The researchers published their findings April 3, 2007, in the 
journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine. The research was 
funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

High doses of radiation can damage or wipe out a person's blood and 
immune systems, leading in some cases to bone marrow failure 
accompanied by infections, bleeding and a potentially heightened 
lifetime risk of cancer. Since the symptoms of radiation exposure can 
take days or weeks to develop, it could be difficult to identify 
individuals truly exposed without a practical test to make this 
distinction, the researchers said. Current treatments for radiation 
exposure aim to bolster the blood and immune systems before the 
damage becomes too severe.

Previous studies by researchers at the Duke Institute for Genome 
Sciences & Policy have used genomic technology to identify genes that 
can predict prognosis and response to chemotherapy within several 
types of cancers. In the current study, the Duke team used a similar 
strategy to determine which genes change in response to different 
levels of radiation exposure.

The researchers subjected mice to low, intermediate and high doses of 
radiation and looked for the impact of each dose on specific genes in 
the blood. They found that each dose resulted in distinct profiles, 
or signatures, representing 75 to 100 genes that could be used to 
predict the degree of exposure.

They also analyzed blood from human patients receiving bone marrow 
transplants who were treated with high doses of radiation prior to 
transplant and found specific gene profiles that distinguished the 
individuals that were exposed to radiation from those that were not 
with an accuracy of 90 percent.

"The goal now is to refine this test to the point that if a disaster 
were to occur, we could draw blood from thousands of people and have 
results back in time for treatment to have effect," said Joseph 
Nevins, Ph.D., a professor of molecular genetics and a researcher at 
the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy and co-investigator 
on the study.

These findings also could point to new treatments for victims of a 
radiological catastrophe, said lead study investigator Holly K. 
Dressman, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular genetics and a 
researcher at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy. "By 
identifying genes that are major players in the response to 
radiation, we hope to compile a list of future targets for protection 
against its harmful effects."

The researchers are currently refining the test by looking at the 
effects of time from exposure, gender, age and additional genetic 
factors on the ability of the test to predict radiation dose, 
Dressman said.

Other researchers participating in the study were Geoff S. Ginsburg 
of the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy and Garrett G. 
Muramoto, Nelson J. Chao, Sarah Meadows and Dawn Marshall of the Duke 
Department of Medicine, Division of Cellular Therapy.

Iran-Nuclear-Ahmadinejad - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived at 
Natanz on Monday to inspect its nuclear facilities. 

Upon arrival at Natanz, which is situated 100 kms to the north of the 
capital city of Isfahan province in central Iran, the chief executive 
started inspecting various sections of this nuclear site. 

The National Day of Nuclear Technology is scheduled to be celebrated 
this afternoon in an official ceremony in the presence of 
Ahmadinejad, a number of his cabinet members and MPs as well as 
ambassadors of foreign countries to Tehran. 

The president is expected to declare a good news about another 
achievement made by Iran in peaceful nuclear field. 

Nuclear reactor may restart at half-power after fire
BUCHANAN, N.Y. A nuclear power reactor north of New York City might 
restart at low power after a fire in a transformer forced a shut-

That's according to a spokesman for the operators of the Indian Point 
3 reactor along the Hudson River. The plant has two transformers, and 
he says it could run at half-capacity with just one.

The reactor is facing tighter inspections after Friday's fire, though 
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says there was no release of 
radiation, and no harm to public health and safety. The fire was 
outside the nuclear area.

It was Indian Point 3's fourth unplanned shut-down since July, and 
the second in a week. A water pump malfunction closed the plant down 
from 4 a-m Tuesday to 1 a-m Wednesday.

IMV Reports Increased Use of Image-Guided Radiotherapy in Radiation 

According to a recent study published by IMV Medical Information 
Division, patients made an estimated 23.2 million radiation therapy 
or related visits in the US, including 19.0 million treatment visits 
and 4.2 million allied visits in 2006. The top three cancer site 
types include breast, prostate and lung cancer, which account for 
21%, 20% and 12%, respectively, of all cancer site types treated 
using radiation therapy. 

"While the number of patients treated with radiation therapy every 
year is relatively stable, the technological sophistication of 
radiation oncology departments is continuing to advance. Digital 
imaging has become integrated into treatment planning and to guide 
tumor treatment real-time," observed Lorna Young, Senior Director, 
Market Research. "While in 2004, 15% of the radiation oncology sites 
provided Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) in their department, over 
one-third of the sites do so now, using either a dedicated IGRT 
imaging device or electronic portal imaging. Ultrasound, x-ray and CT 
are the primary imaging modalities used in IGRT."

IMV's 2006 Radiation Oncology Market Summary Report describes trends 
in the adoption of therapeutic techniques, equipment and radioactive 
agents. Equipment types covered include linear accelerators, CT and 
PET/CT simulators, treatment planning systems, IGRT, record and 
verify / information management systems, remote afterloader 
brachytherapy and dedicated radiosurgery. Other technologies covered 
include IMRT, inverse planning, conformal radiotherapy, 
intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), stereotactic radiosurgery 
and prostate seed therapy. Highlights include: 

90% of the radiation therapy sites use networks for sharing images 
used in treatment planning. 

CT simulators comprised over 80% of the simulators installed in 2006. 

Sites having budgets of $1.5+ million have increased from 15% of 2003 
capital budgets to 33% of 2007 budgets. 

85% of the sites indicated that they have "record and verify / 
information management" systems installed. 

The data source for this report is IMV's 2006/07 Radiation Oncology 
Census Database, which provides comprehensive profiles of radiation 
oncology sites in the United States. The database can be licensed by 
qualified subscribers and includes contact and site-specific 
information. Applications of the database include market analysis, 
market development, target marketing, lead generation, installed base 
marketing programs, sales territory deployment and competitive 

For more information about IMV's Radiation Oncology Census Database 
and Market Summary Report, visit the corporate website at 
www.imvinfo.com or call 847-297-1404 to speak with a representative. 

IMV Medical Information Division is a marketing research and 
consulting firm founded in 1977, specializing in medical imaging and 
other advanced healthcare technology markets. IMV's marketing 
consulting services, in combination with our census databases of U.S. 
imaging sites with selected modalities, provide clients valuable 
assistance in strategic planning, customer satisfaction, product 
development and sales initiatives. Current census databases include 
interventional angiography, radiographic fluoroscopy, cardiac 
catheterization, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, echocardiography, PET, 
radiation oncology, X-ray/DR/CR and RIS/PACS.

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 cox.net 

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

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