New EPA Guidelines for Response to Radioactivity Releases

DC Perspective

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just released a draft Protective Action Guideline (PAG) that sets standards and makes recommendations for the response to a large release of radioactive material into the environment (e.g., from a nuclear plant accident or a dirty bomb attack, etc.). The draft report is now out for public comments (which are due by July 15).

Fukushima Two Years Later

At about a quarter to three in the afternoon on March 11, 2011, a gigantic and unprecedented earthquake struck just over 110 miles off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. The quake was followed, just over 40 minutes later, by the first of several rounds of tsunami, which inundated enormous areas and eradicated entire towns and villages. Over 19,000 people were killed or are still missing, and over 6,000 survivors were injured.

Challenging scientific organizations to adhere to scientific methods


For more than two years, I have been privileged to be included in correspondence about a battle for truth led by Ted Rockwell, one of the pioneers of nuclear energy and radiation protection. He continues to seek support of nuclear energy and radiation professionals in an effort to encourage the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) to do something that is apparently difficult for any large organization to do-apologize and take effective action to correct a continuing mistake.

A Salute to Medical Ionizing Radiation During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As a cancer researcher, I am constantly reminded of the horrific impact that breast cancer has on women and their families. This past week I received notification from my boss informing me and others that a work colleague's daughter had recently passed away from breast cancer at the age of 40-certainly this reminder was much closer to home than usual. It is difficult to imagine the pain and suffering my colleague and his wife are now experiencing, adding to what I am sure was a nerve-racking and exhausting period of consultations for the family and treatments for his daughter.

ANS video interview: Oxford Professor Wade Allison discusses radiation... and reason

At the ANS 2012 Annual Meeting, ANS Public Information Committee's Dan Yurman caught up with Dr. Wade Allison, of Oxford University, UK.  They discussed radiation, health effects, Fukushima, Dr. Allison's recent book Radiation and Reason, and Dr. Allison's recent trip to Japan in this video interview.

ANS Friday Matinee: Eric Loewen at Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium

The Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia addresses scientific topics of broad and current interest that cut across the boundaries of traditional disciplines. "The Science of Science Communication" was a Sackler Colloquium interdisciplinary scientific meeting held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., on May 21-22, 2012. At this meeting, American Nuclear Society Past President Dr. Eric Loewen addressed the other "three R's" of [nuclear] education:  Radiation, Reactors, and Residuals.

Low level radiation and LNT examined at Chicago ANS meeting

At the ANS Annual Meeting in Chicago held June 24-28, I attended the "President's Special Session on Low Level Radiation and Its Implications for Fukushima Recovery," and also the follow-on panel "Health Effects of Low-Level Radiation." The two sessions together could well have been subtitled "The Tragedy of LNT." In case you've forgotten, LNT stands for "Linear No Threshold"-the popular misconception that radiation risk is proportional to dose all the way down to zero.

Implications of improved radiation protection standards for Fukushima evacuees

The American Nuclear Society's annual meeting for 2012 included a President's Special Session titled Low-Level Radiation & Its Implications for Fukushima Recovery (Warning-the link leads to a 54 MB, 208 page PDF full of disruptive information that might change your opinion on the benefits of spending billions of dollars every year to keep radiation doses as low as unreasonably achievable).

Spent fuel at Fukushima Daiichi safer than asserted

In recent days, a number of articles have been printed that assert that a grave danger exists at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear generating station. These articles claim that this danger exists due to the condition of the spent nuclear fuel at the site and the supposedly shaky condition of its storage and care. Two examples:

The Vermont Yankee Follies Continue

Since March 22 of this year, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has been operating via a 20-year license extension granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The State of Vermont has been barred from attempting to shut down the plant by federal court injunctions. Nonetheless, the follies surrounding the plant continue, with all stakeholders participating: the legal system, the legislature, plant supporters, and plant opponents.

4th Annual Texas Atomic Film Festival

The 4th annual Texas Atomic Film Festival (TAFF) is being held April 26 to May 3, 2012. The festival attracts short films (3 to 5 minutes) produced by students in nuclear engineering courses at the University of Texas at Austin. A public screening of the films, which focus on nuclear and energy related topics, is being held on April 26 at 12:30 pm at the UT Student Activities Center auditorium.

ANS at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

The American Nuclear Society will be participating this weekend in the largest celebration of science in the United States: the 2nd annual USA Science & Engineering Festival.  The finale Expo of the festival will be Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.