Jun 01

Censored US gov’t emails reveal proposed plan to test West Coast residents for Fukushima radiation — “Many cases of cancer may end up being attributed to exposures” — Doses could exceed EPA’s emergency levels — UC Berkeley Nuclear Dept.: “Prompt action should be taken” (ENENews, June 1, 2015):

FOIA Document — Excerpts from email by Per Peterson, Chair of Dept. of Nuclear Engineering at Univ.of California Berkeley & scientific adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu , Mar 23, 2011 at 1:35pm (emphasis added):

  • [Sent to John Holdren, senior adviser to Pres. Obama on science and technology, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, DOE/NRC officials, and several redacted names]
  • I would like to raise another issue which now merits expeditious, near term action. There is a short time window… during which it will remain possible to… measure any I-131 that members of the public may have ingested…
  • Collecting this data… would be very valuable… UCB faculty [is in] general agreement that prompt action should be taken in this area…
  • Many cases of thyroid cancer, and other health problems, may end up being attributed to exposures from the Fukushima accident… on the U.S. west coast
  • It is possible that we will find that some people have received doses of I-131 and other radionuclides that could exceed the levels… Protective Action Guidelines are designed to prevent. This could provide a basis for immediate action to change PAG’s…
  • It could identify individuals who have had significant exposure… alert them and their medical care professionals to monitor for potential health effects
  • There are very strong reasons to gather data, but it must be done in a way that is broadly viewed as being in the interest of the public and the individuals involved…
  • I would recommend that we look at making facilities at the national laboratories… available to the public… Thoughts?

Reply from Dick Garwin, IBM Fellow Emeritus (who Enrico Fermi called the only true genius he’d ever met): Right on, Per! But it seems to me that one could promptly validate the use of a single counter…  since the thyroid is so efficient in concentrating iodine

Reply from Per Peterson, Mar 23 @ 2:27pm: Dick, Good idea… An important point for doing this in the U.S… is that the protocols must receive approval by a Human Subjects Committee. If one were to initiate an effort to perform whole body counting at LLNL and PNNL, the human subjects review can likely be done faster if it is initially for lab employees who would volunteer to be counted… Again, collecting statistically useful data on uptake of 1-131 and other radionuclides on the U.S. west coast and in Japan could be very valuable in the longer term, when many people may begin to believe that the Fukushima accident is the cause of a variety of health problems.

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s internal correspondence concerning the emails above:

  • Kathy Gibson (NRC), Mar 23 @ 3:03:32 PM: Please confirm that you are looking at this…
  • Gibson, Mar 23 @ 5:46pm: Are they talking about members of the public in US or Japan?
  • Stephanie Bush-Goddard (NRC), Mar 23 @ 5:54pm: They are talking about monitoring members of the public in the US
  • Gibson, Mar 23 @ 6:07pm: So do we think it is a bad idea…?
  • Bush-Goddard, Mar 23 @ 6:12pm: … Yes, setting up additional monitoring stations for the public (without detecting anything) could cause additional alarm… I think they are responding to the public RASCAL run that shows very high doses to the Thyroid.
  • Gibson, Mar 23 @ 6:35pm: [NRC’s Radiation Protection and Health Effects Branch] think it’s a bad idea for people in the US because there (so far) isn’t measurable iodine in the US… They think this may be a funding opportunity for the entities making these proposals.

Follow-up from Per Peterson, Mar 25 @ 2:13pm: … we have detected small concentrations of 1-131 and other radioactive materials in rainwater in Berkeley… I am now working with faculty in our school of public health to see how we can make… measurements to verify what exposures have occurred. I do believe that these measurements will be very important in the longer term in assessing the consequences of the Fukushima accident.

See also: Former DOE official rips UC Berkeley for comparing ingestion of fallout to air travel

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5 Responses to “Censored US gov’t emails reveal proposed plan to test West Coast residents for Fukushima radiation — “Many cases of cancer may end up being attributed to exposures” — Doses could exceed EPA’s emergency levels — UC Berkeley Nuclear Dept.: “Prompt action should be taken””

  1. Marilyn Gjerdrum Says:

    Will something come of it? That is the essential question.
    It is about time, we are over four years into the disaster, and it continues daily.
    Our beaches are destroyed, our sea life dying off…….what more does it take?
    When will something be done????

  2. squodgy Says:

    Interesting.

    They tell everyone there’s no problem.

    Publicly have no geiger counters or readings available for checking.

    Maintain silence for 4 years.

    Tell the Japanese to say nothing or allow news leaks.

    Deny US Sailors rights for radiation sickness & cancer.

    But quietly acknowledge the truth…..and this is what the people pay for?

  3. Marilyn Gjerdrum Says:

    Stanley, I don’t know if you remember, but this site carried the official response to the Fukushima disaster…………they shut down the radiation detectors in Norway, and the northern part of Canada and the US. It is a global effort, not just the US, unfortunately.
    One need only look at Japan’s economy to realize the devastation Fukushima has wrought upon their people, their products and their economy…….they are now buried in debt, something they never believed in. Until Fukushima, they were a largely saving nation, loaning money to other countries, now they are destroyed……and nobody will admit it.

  4. dd Says:

    Obama is monitoring it. Nothing to see. Move on…..

    I think I would leave the left coast, myself.

  5. dd Says:

    Obama is monitoring it. Nothing to see. Move on…..

    I think I would leave the left coast, myself.

    Watch “on the Beach”

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