Tuesday, April 02, 2013

What was that about how safe our nuclear power plants are?

Fukushima Meltdown Driving Increased Abnormalities Among US Infants
According to a new study (.pdf) published in the Open Journal of Pediatrics, children born in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington between one week and 16 weeks after the meltdown began are 28 percent more likely to suffer from congenital hypothyroidism (CH) than were kids born in those states during the same period one year earlier. 
CH results from a build up of radioactive iodine in our thyroids and can result in stunted growth, lowered intelligence, deafness, and neurological abnormalities—though can be treated if detected early. 
Because their small bodies are more vulnerable and their cells grow faster than adults', infants serve as the proverbial 'canary in the coal mine' for injurious environmental effects. 
"With the embryo and fetus, there can never be a 'safe' dose of radiation," writes nukefree.org founder Harvey Wasserman. "NO dose of radiation is too small to have a human impact." 
According to researchers from the Radiation and Public Health Project who performed the study, “Fukushima fallout appeared to affect all areas of the US, and was especially large in some, mostly in the western part of the nation.” They add that CH can provide an early measure to "assess any potential changes in US fetal and infant health status after Fukushima because official data was available relatively promptly."


Steve Bates said...

When engineering types talk to me about how relatively safe nuclear power is... even some very bright ones believe that... I point out to them that in less than a half century of nuclear power plants, we've had 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Three major incidents in a half century. How many will happen over, say, four or five centuries?

It's not worth the chance. Every one of those incidents was highly improbable; other improbabilities are certainly possible.

Unfortunately, Houston has STNP, and it's about the age of Fukushima...

ellroon said...

We have San Onofre within the radiation zone. It's been shut down for repairs and people are protesting to keep it from starting up again. Not being able to use a huge swath of their island must be devastating to the Japanese, but the fact that mistakes and errors and natural disasters keep happening should make people hesitate before committing to a nuclear plant. As you said, Steve, it's not worth it.