This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 30, 2011 6:32 PM. The previous post in this blog was Amanda vs. Randy -- pass the popcorn. The next post in this blog is A visitor from the Bronx. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The radioactive milk is here

It's coming from northwest cows now. But don't worry -- it's not that radioactive. The risk is low. Not nonexistent, mind you, but low:

The problem arises when materials that emit beta particles are ingested or inhaled. Iodine 131 is chemically identical to normal, nonradioactive iodine and thus is absorbed into the body just as normal iodine is, mainly in the thyroid gland, where it delivers a concentrated dose to that small organ and can cause cancer.
So go ahead, give it to your kids to drink. And remember: safe... clean... cheap... nuclear power.

Comments (51)

The comment from "al m" in the last post on this had a link to a YouTube clip of an interview with Professor Christopher Busby of the European Committee on Radiation Risks. I googled him and he's a scientist and activist. You can argue about his credentials if you want but he had one quote that sort of hopped out at me:

""The main problem, of course, is not the radionuclides that show up on the gamma-radiation monitoring systems, but the alpha-emitting radionuclides like plutonium and uranium because these are invisible. They're not being detected. And I have to say we're not being told everything and right from the beginning we weren't being told everything.... The truth slowly comes out."-- Professor Christopher Busby of the European Committee On Radiation Risks.

Ol Jack is as paranoid and obsessed with atomic power as he is with Gov. Palin... Take your meds Jack...

Yeah, you're right... believe the nuclear power people... believe the government... it's just like giving your kids a chest X-ray... nothing to worry about...

Amazing how willing people are to believe everything is just fine. There are 4 power plants in various stages of meltdown, with reactor #1 being reported as in total meltdown and breaching the bottom of the containment vessel. Radiation is 3x the level they used as an evacuation guideline for Chernobyl in a town that is double the distance of the current evacuation boundary from the power plant. TEPCO's main concern is getting their $100 billion from the government for a bailout, and the Bank of Japan's main concern is how to keep propping up the Nikkei. Nobody is representing the Japanese people, let alone the citizens of the world, in any of this. It is also depressing evidence to me that the Japanese culture of business and government is just as bankrupt as ours is. It seems like the only solution government has any longer for any problem is to fire hose cash at rich people and banks. It's not that government has lost the ability to offer solutions or help, it's that they no longer even understand that is what they are SUPPOSED to be doing.

Tonight I had a long conversation with my longtime friend in Tokyo. In a one-word summary: stoic.

We've been talking through the past weeks. His family is fine. He's very connected to what is going on since he speaks English, graduate of Harvard, and goggles American resources on what is happening since he knows his government is limiting information, has hidden some of what may be proven to be the truth. He has deep concerns for the people of the Sendai area. But he said they are somewhat even more stoic than those in the rest of his nation. He brought up the difference between his country's reactions compared to Katrina. And before we knew it, we were talking about other things of life. Life goes on. Stoic. And we'll see what happens. In Japan it may be without panic, here? who knows.

They have this whole "suffer with dignity" ethos. Good luck with that. Soon it will be "ignore it and live with it." Over the next 40 years, it will become a country of cancer victims. Sad, but you can't evacuate Tokyo; it's "too big to fail."

The pressure will be on for our government to support the charade. You can believe them if you want.

In the 60s the government spewed propaganda about Cuba and the missiles and the imminent death from nuclear fallout.
Seems the people freaking out the most are the ones that grew up during that time.

And even if the government was truthful with us, and told everyone we were screwed, what could we do about it? Panic?

This is dated, but I want to post this study anyway, concerning Radiation fallout in food and water after a nuclear attack:


Note the discussion about Iodine, and the level of radioactive Iodine necessary before treatment with an Iodine salt is effective. I converted the number she states which is 10 rem, equal to 100mSv.

Her research showed iodine treatments below 100mSv to be a trade off between damage from the non radioactive iodine vs damage from the radioactive version. You might want to keep that in mind when assessing the numbers.

Also, Busby's comments on Plutonium being invisible is simply not true. There are plenty of Plutonium detectors out there. Otherwise, how would anyone know the level of Plutonium, say, leaking into the Columbia River, right now?


Don't drink the water from the Columbia. Don't even swim in it. You might ingest a tiny amount....

But then, we can't believe anything or anybody. /s

Jon, it helps to remember not to panic too early: It's never too late to panic.

I saw a clip featuring Ann Coulter talking about the scientific data she was hooked in to...supporting the theory that a certain amount of radiation is good for you. It was a true, head-shaking, helpless moment.

Well, two things to consider. Actually, three. Or four.

Never build nuclear plants in a tsunami zone. How the hell did this ever happen in the first place?

Sell your Pacific NW real estate soon, and do not relocate to a coastal area. Rent a recently built structure with good earthquake resistance if you plan to continue living here.

Take the plunge, find the time, become a crack vegan cook whose friends salivate for your dinner parties. (Less plutonium).

Read that book with the title something like "everything bad is good for you". We have it around the house somewhere, I plan to find it and read it.

Oh, and I'm amazed any of the plant's senior leaders are still alive. I fully expected hara-kiri there, big time.

Having some understanding of the culture (was a host-mom to a Japanese teen for three years, and taught English in Tokyo my first summer after college), I suspect that the gentlemen feel that they can only take their final leave when some kind of recognizable wind-down of the festival of nukes occurs. This of course, may take years.

This whole thing reminds me of when Richard Pryor used to say, "Who do you believe? Me or your lying eyes?"
The second explosion - the one at Reactor 3 - looked different than the first one. The first was white smoke, the second was black and the orange part was dark and angry. At the time, the pro-nuke crowd was calling out any critics as hysterical anti-business types who had no right to complain about what happened on this planet.
It now seems like that could have been when the steel containment vessel that the nuke people were orgasmic about, cracked. We know it's cracked now, and an explosion makes the most sense for accomplishing that. If so that explosion a couple of weeks ago released plutonium into the atmosphere. Since it was very hot it went up, probably to the jet stream. It then headed our way.
The new information - if it is true - is that we don't get any reports on this type of radiation because it doesn't get picked up by the monitoring devices. So we could be a couple of weeks into ingesting this stuff at unknown quantities. Oh, and iodine tablets won't help for that.
If anybody can talk me out of this scenario, I would appreciate it.

CW:....It's not that government has lost the ability to offer solutions or help, it's that they no longer even understand that is what they are SUPPOSED to be doing.

I may have missed news on this, but my expectation of our government would be to have made assurances to all of us, that they would focus full attention, sending the best and brightest and equipment needed, creating a world wide coalition if necessary to tackle this problem immediately to the best of our ability. Further assurances that a world wide coalition would be in place for any future nuclear problems.

Instead, we engaged in more wars, and what I found ironic, was the trip our President made to South America over a week ago.


Yesterday, some 2,000 people marched through the capital to protest a new US-Chile nuclear power cooperation agreement signed Friday as radiation leaked from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant. The agreement promises cooperation in operating research reactors, handling civilian nuclear training and safety measures.

Below are some excerpts:

US hunts for nuclear markets

......That, as well as the US's hunt for new markets for its nuclear technology, could keep Chile on a nuclear course.

In a November report, the US General Accounting Office called on the Commerce Department to identify new markets, saying the US has lost much of its share in the global nuclear marketplace.

"US exports of sensitive nuclear material such as natural and enriched uranium remained stable, while the US share of global exports for these materials decreased significantly, from 29 percent to 10 percent, from 1994 through 2008," the agency said.

If anybody can talk me out of this scenario, I would appreciate it.

Oh, really?

Smoke another bowl.

Bill, I posted some information. Plutonium is measurable.

You can argue about his credentials if you want but he had one quote that sort of hopped out at me:

Just like the white rabbit, eh, Billy?

Which pill makes you smaller?

The second explosion - the one at Reactor 3 - looked different than the first one. The first was white smoke, the second was black and the orange part was dark and angry.

"dark and angry"...

We better look out, then - the science is conclusive.

If so that explosion a couple of weeks ago released plutonium into the atmosphere. Since it was very hot it went up, probably to the jet stream. It then headed our way.

Of course! "If so..."!, "...very hot..."!, "Probably..."!, "...headed our way.".

I love that last, anthropomorphic bit.

Your descriptions and conclusions are so convenient... and so breathtakingly without evidence.

But, one can't ignore that indisputable, scientific, "dark and angry" part.

The new information - if it is true - is that we don't get any reports on this type of radiation because it doesn't get picked up by the monitoring devices.

The "new information" isn't information at all - it's bullsh*t. You simply want to believe - therefore you do believe.

Bill, I posted some information. Plutonium is measurable.

Don't bother him - he's on a roll.

Never mind that a half-assed high school physics course would have taught him what you're trying to.

It's amazing to watch the arc of scientific ignorance involved around here.

The part about industry flacks' and government's lies is one subject - the uninformed and wilfull credulousness is another.

If one had no knowledge about the science, one could educate oneself. Of course that might not advance the meme.

There are four types of ionizing radiation: alpha, beta, gamma, and neutron. Most of the measurements that are tossed around at times like these are beta and gamma.

Plutonium is an alpha emitter. It gives off dangerous particles as it decays into other elements. An alpha particle is a helium nucleus. It carries with it a great deal of energy. If an alpha emitter decays next to a human cell, genetic damage of the cell occurs and cancer begins.

You can block an alpha particle in flight with anything, even a piece of paper. But if you inhale it or eat it, it's in your body waiting to go off. With plutonium, the biggest threat is inhaling it, because it tends to stick in one's lungs. With something you swallow, you may get lucky and excrete it before the nuclear particle is thrown off. Once inside your bloodstream, plutonium heads for your bone marrow and liver, where it stays. Then you hope it doesn't decay until you're dead from some other cause.

Yes, thanks to Hanford, there is plutonium in the Columbia River. It's greatly diluted, which lowers one's chances of coming into contact with it in the water of the river, but if a windsurfer gets unlucky and swallows it or breathes it in, it's a significant cancer risk.

Unlike radioactive iodine, which has a relatively short half-life, plutonium and other alpha emitters have half-lives described in terms of tens of thousands of years. As the man said in the song, plutonium is forever.

Every spent fuel rod in every reactor is loaded with plutonium. It can be "reprocessed," in a filthy procedure, and made into new fuel; it is in Japan and in Europe, but rarely in U.S. civilian reactors. The U.S. doesn't like plutonium reprocessing because it produces the perfect fuel for a nuclear bomb. Even if it isn't reprocessed, plutonium from the fuel rods will be released in a meltdown if the reactor vessel is breached, which it certainly has been in Japan.

There is no "safe" amount of exposure to ionizing radiation. Any amount of exposure increases one's risk of cancer to some degree. I don't remember giving the nuclear industry the right to increase my risk. But they just did. They need to own up to it, but they never do. They lie and deny to protect their money.

There are all kinds of scientists. Most of those with knowledge of nuclear radiation, like the ones at Oregon State and in the shady state energy department, owe their livelihood to the nuclear industry. There are a few, like the late John Gofman, who told the truth about the health effects of nuclear power. There was a lot of ad hominem trash talk thrown their way, but they didn't care; they told it like it is. The proposition that there is no safe threshold dose of radiation is now widely accepted.

When the right wing starts hooting that you're a kook and they start with the Sarah Palin references or bleating "Bush derangement syndrome," it's a badge of honor, really -- a signal that you're winning the substantive argument.

The Fukushima nuclear accident will go down in history as the worst, worse than Chernobyl, despite all efforts to downplay it. Japan is toast for at least a generation. They owe it all to their nukes. God help the Japanese people -- they didn't have much choice -- but they went in a bad direction.

Dude, I'm sorry but it helps me think of the reactor as a giant bong. You know how you cough and the bowl blasts out all on fire and stuff? Don't you hate that? Plus, one time dude..check it out...one time the bong fell over and the water was like radioactive, man. We had to move out of the apartment. Bro, it was uninhabitable.

Sorry not to get back to you. All the drug references were very clever, and very timely. Oh, not for me. I'm not on drugs but thanks to Fukushima we're all having a flashback to Chernobyl.

I love the smug science talk. We've got an industry that thinks it was a good scientific idea to store spent fuel right outside the containment vessel of a nuclear reactor with plutonium in it. I must admit I'm proud. I didn't think my old high school science lab partner would find a job in the nuclear power industry.

Thanks. I think what this guy said about plutonium being invisible to the monitoring stations, should be tested in a scientific manner. I owe you that. I'm going to go to the EPA's site right now in another window. The truth is that I've been looking at it every now and then since this started. The map links to a page called Japanese Nuclear Emergency: Radiation Monitoring.
Okay, there's a graph showing the "Beta Gross Count Rate".
Hmm, a couple of spikes but it looks okay. Besides, they've included a reassuring note saying electrical interference can cause spikes.
Moving down, the next graph is called, "Gamma Gross Count Rate." No problems there.
Now, let's look for the plutonium measurements. They emit alpha particles and your link said there is a machine to detect them. Otherwise how could we find out plutonium measurements near Hanford, right?

Wait a second. I don't see a graph to detect alpha particles. Hmm, is that what the man meant when he said plutonium was invisible to the monitoring stations?

Let me see if I missed any caveats here when I quoted him. I'm going up to my comment earlier: "The new information - if it is true - is that we don't get any reports on this type of radiation because it doesn't get picked up by the monitoring devices." That's pretty clear.

Let's go back to his original quote: "The main problem, of course, is not the radionuclides that show up on the gamma-radiation monitoring systems, but the alpha-emitting radionuclides like plutonium and uranium because these are invisible. They're not being detected." I see, he meant "invisible" in a way that threw you off, and then when he said, "They're not being detected" you were already off on a tangent.

I think I'm ready to come to some scientific conclusions.
First, I want to say to "cc" that I was valedictorian of my class although the school only went up to 9th grade, but in boarding school, I took the SATs my sophomore year and got a 760 on the math portion and got a perfect 800 on the Math Achievement test the next year.

So I know I'm smart. I'm just wondering why you guys are having trouble following this? "cc", is it the drugs?

A couple of things that might be worth correcting, but are really just little nits in the grand scheme of things:

1. The latest reports I've seen have the pressure vessel being compromised, but the containment still being intact, and the 'corium' collecting in the drywell below the pressure vessel. The radioactive iodine, cesium, and strontium-90 we're seeing is likely from the loss of water in the spent fuel pools. Still bad.

2. The US does *no* commercial reactor fuel reprocessing, due to an executive order put in place by Jimmy Carter, and never rescinded, for anti-proliferation reasons. It was a piece of political theater, since the Y-12 complex already had enough plutonium to make as many bombs as they could possibly want to.

3. In order to make bomb-grade Plutonium, it requires a very uneconomical fuel cycle in a reactor, or a very specialized reactor design. You don't just turn it on, and at the end of the day have enough Pu-239 to put on the front of a missile - a commercial reactor will make enough Pu-240 and Pu-241 which spontaneously fission and ruin your bomb before it can go supercritcal. There is no process to separate isotopes of Plutonium, so you have to not make the heavier isotopes to begin with. The IAEA watches very closely to see if people are removing fuel loads before they should.

4. The remark about not giving the nuclear industry permission to elevate your cancer risk might as well be said about agribusiness to (pesticides, herbicides), PGE (Boardman coal generating station), Dow Chemical (cleaning products), Ford / GM / Chrysler / Toyota / Honda / Etc. (carbon monoxide, airborne benzene from fuel ignition, etc.) and on and on. This particular source of risk is just being elevated to amazing heights because it has the word "nuclear" involved.

Yep. Because the nuclear industry, originally created to commit mass murder, is as lying as they come. And the threat its products pose cannot be seen, heard, tasted or smelled. That bothers people, as well it should.

There is a lot of stuff in our lives that cannot be seen, smelled or otherwise sensed, but nevertheless will kill you. One really bad one is the prion.

Look it up.

So far as nuclear measurements, I actually worked in the industry, at Argonne National Labs. I did measurements on neutrons. Neutrons cannot be detected by themselves either. We used a detector that produces alpha particles, which can be detected.

Maybe the reason there is no alpha spike being measured is that there is no measurable amount of emitters. Or maybe "they" don't want to tell us. Maybe one is looking for the data in the wrong place, etc. At any rate, be careful of the conclusions you come to as a result of inadequate information.

I agree with Jack about the origins of the industry. It bothered me greatly when I did work at Argonne, and my family was both proud and worried about my work. I'm sure my mom (I was 22 at the time) was relieved when I took another job, in the audio recording industry. Recording the likes of Count Basie was nicer than recording the results of a neutron detection.

Some of the people with whom I worked were present during the experiment (CP1) under the bleachers at Stagg Field. You know why it was conducted there? Because the stands were lined with folks carrying buckets of water designed to stop the reaction if it ran away. Which it didn't, but my oh my! The radiation levels Fermi as well as most on the stands were exposed to had to be horrendous!

I have no fear of the stuff, but I am also not reckless about it. Caution rather than fear rules my approach to the matter.

At any rate, doing neutron measurements introduced me to some marvelous instruments, including oscilloscopes from Tektronix, and were directly responsible for my ultimate decision to join Tek and move out here from Chicago.

And I used to think this song was alarmist. Can ya sing it with me:
"Woo ah, mercy mercy me
Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east
Woo mercy, mercy me, mercy father
Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury
Ah oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain't what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land
How much more abuse from man can she stand?
Oh, na na...
My sweet Lord... No
My Lord... My sweet Lord" Marvin Gaye
Now I find his lyrics prescient.

"Japan is toast for a generation." Why would their toasticity stop at a generation? If you are toast, there's no real way to recover is there? Seems like once something is toast, it's never coming back. Too bad.

What was the radioactive measurement of local milk a month ago? Six months ago? Two years ago?

Lower then than now I expect.

The Count Basie thing impresses the hell out of me. Here's how that would go if it were me: "Hello, my name is Bill. I once recorded Count Basie." That's how I'd greet people. Very cool.

Full disclosure of willful self-insulation from details of radioactivity science. Many other interesting and tantalizing knowledge areas call. I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said.."something wonderful is about to happen".

(First thought reaction, yeah, we're going to wake from this bad dream and find ourselves in a new world where humans have sufficient common sense to prevent construction of nuclear power plants in tsunami zones...hey, there's some fabulous old Japanese artwork, fabulous like all Japanese artwork, depicting tsunamis.)

So, here's my question, since all these perfect SAT score people contribute to this blog. And I don't care if it's a stupid, ignorant question, so don't bother with the vitriol.

Japan is the most successful country/society in the world, by a few significant measures. OK, this is opinion, don't bother with the jumping down the throat. Japan already suffered a rather bad problem with nuclear fallout in 1945, and I believe they still have among the best mortality, morbidity, longevity, and IQ stats. (Likely in part because they still breastfeed their babies, like the Chinese).

My question is coming. Considering the above, is there something a lot different we are seeing about Fukushima that would make a recovery from it more difficult?
And no, I DON'T want to try to sort it out through Google. There would be too many depressing facts to encounter on the way.

I think MachineShedFred makes an interesting point. It's not that the current nuclear crisis poses no risk to Americans -- clearly it could, and I'm glad folks are questioning the official line. But it also doesn't make sense to worry too much about something like this while ignoring more serious risks that we subject ourselves to every day. For example:

Most of us still have toxic products in our houses. Although I have gone mostly organic in my lawn care, on Monday I put down moss killer (because this spring, the moss is higher than the grass). The package is pretty clear: do not touch, do not inhale the dust, do not let kids or pets on lawn until thoroughly watered in AND DRY (which would be like, what, June?). Wife forgot, kids played on lawn yesterday, two days after application. So which is higher -- their risk of cancer from radioactive milk, or their risk of cancer/damage from high doses of ferrous sulfate?

Bill, lest I leave you with the impression I was the guy twiddling the knobs in Studio A, I was not. I did some of the editing and production of what we called "safeties" did some mastering and production of acetate recording etc.

Sammy Davis Jr showed up one day as well, doing a version of "Rubber Tree Plant' rewritten into a Pontiac commercial. You would not believe the Davis groupies that filled the waiting room!

The fellow who actually did the mix went on to do stuff for people like Michael Jackson.

But that's another story. Unfortunately, I did not continue on in that industry as well. But even in that short period, I amassed some fun times and stories! Technology had too much of a grip on me.

FYI, the studio was Universal Recording on E Walton in Chicago, founded by the legendary Bill Putnam.

We have to hang together and support each other through these times, politically as well as the tech stuff. The expression "We shall have to hang together or we surely will hang separately" is a good metaphor for this time as well as during the Revolutionary war.

Good point.
Perhaps we should have called the times we live in the "chemical age."
Too many of the chemicals are not even regulated by EPA.
What about GMO's?
Europe would not allow genetically engineered food, why didn't the people of our country have a say?

CW:....It's not that government has lost the ability to offer solutions or help, it's that they no longer even understand that is what they are SUPPOSED to be doing.

Or they just won't have the budget to take care of matters? Several years ago school children were fed downer cattle on their lunch program, as I recall in CA.
Called Congress to complain about this. Do not remember details, but noted that the budget for inspections just wasn't adequate.

There are reasons for trust "to fly out the window."

I'm a musician/comedy writer. I once had tickets to see Count Basie at the Neighbors of Woodcraft back in the day. The band was there. Everything was set up. I thought this is going to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. I even talked to the band.
Then someone came out and said Count Basie had fallen ill that day and another pianist would take his place. Shortly after that he was dead.
From that era, my biggest moment was shaking hands with Ella Fitzgerald. I also got a chance to talk to Les Brown and the Band of Renown when they used to play in Portland once a year.

I'm obviously scrambling to learn this nuclear stuff. It's reminiscent of learning about derivatives during the Wall Street meltdown. One of the sources of my irritation is that I feel forced to jump in because this is so serious. I'd prefer just playing guitar and writing jokes. During the Wall Street, I felt the suits had let us down by not doing their job. That goes for the people in lab coats this time around - especially the engineers who designed this piece of crap.

Today the Japanese Prime Minister said the plant will have to be scrapped. What? Let's not get hasty. A little duct tape and this thing could be as good as new.

How much longer before the concrete dumping operation begins?


I believe that the reason that you're not seeing any data about the detection of alpha particles is that it's difficult to test for the presence of alpha particles outside the lab. Instead, they test for the byproducts of uranium and plutonium decay which emit beta and gamma particles respectively. These particles are easier to detect in the field.

The DoD has a pretty informative site about detecting radiation in the field that can be found here

Bill, I had the same experience with Vladimir Horowitz. Someone invited me to a recital which was a gift from heaven because the tickets sold out almost immediately.He also canceled, and also never came back.

Horowitz brought his own piano! And technician. I was hoping for a sneak preview or post view of the piano itself. I wanted to strike just one little chord!

So far as the nukes, in order to be able to take responsibility for such matters, only PhD' need apply, so don't feel bad about being caught up in the morass. When derivatives first showed up on Wall Street, I immediately thought "Differential Equations!

That is whee my mind wanders!

Whether nuclear power should ever have been unleashed is more to the point. The engineering itself is actually impressive, but the final result much less so. Too many "unhanded exceptions", if you pardon my use of the software term.

The events which precipitated the present set of problems are way out on the probably curve, a what... 6 sigma level? It was seen as beyond reasonable. Well, here it is so my humble suggestion is to have a well trained team, like a Hazmat swat team, available world wide to take over at a moments notice, and that preceding such a call-out, the sites are all inspected and equipment and connectivity to carry out the duties present. While the event probabilities are rather small, the result is not, and should be elevated to a level beyond what stats tell you.

WTF! is not the proper response level!

I also had to muck around the information stream, Bill. The measurement units have changed, so #1 was to get re-aligned, which others here and elsewhere helped. But even then, what am I left with? I'll say this: I refuse to allow fear to be my guide.

Pragmatic Portlander, perhaps I am wrong, but the particle signature may require lab work, but the presence of alpha should not. It may be that highlighting it's presence sets off alarm bells in the technical and non-technical community and therefore not reported. I am distressed to see that it isn't, if indeed it is present.

If the by-products are producing beta and gamma, why wouldn't the Geiger counter detect them?

I go on vibes and uneducated guesses at times, but I do trust my instincts. One thing that tipped me off that this nuclear scenario would not go well in Japan, is when they reported that the emergency response was a fire truck.

In 1943 the federal government created the Hanford Engineering Works directly northeast of the Yakama Reservation in the area ceded by the Yakama Treaty of 1855. The Hanford Project was designed as and integrated secret complex of plutonium production, nuclear reactors and nuclear fuels production, preparation and reprocessing plants necessary to build atomic weapons for use in World War II.

In 1985, three regional newspapers, The Oregonian, Spokesman Review and Tri-Cities Herald, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Energy, obtaining documents regarding probable and intentional radiation spills and releases by military planners. In the war time documents, the military planners defined the Yakama and other tribal peoples near the selected Hanford site as an “expendable population.” In reality, all down-winders with DNA turned out to be expendable. Today the Hanford reservation is one of the most toxic places on the planet.

I read about this in our tribal paper, the Yakama Nation Review. For those of you looking for the data of numbers killed related to nuclear releases, it’s not neatly compiled somewhere. It’s like Jack said, the defenders will smirk and say “prove it”. There is nobody following people around with clipboards noting when they became ill and the incredible impacts to their families, their long drawn out suffering and eventual deaths.

When the trigger was pulled on the “Green Run” which is what one of the known intentional releases was called, it was a homicidal experiment. Hence, the wording in the Department of Defense secret document using “expendable populations”. Learning who was behind making these life altering decisions is difficult because the shroud of secrecy is less breach able than a highly engineered containment vessel. But for the curious, there is an interesting interview with John W. Healy, chemical engineer and one of the researchers behind the “Green Run”.

It truly was a seat of the pants operation that killed so many innocent people.

A good read about the impacts of the “Green Run” can be found in Teri Hein’s “Atomic Farmgirl”.


Another one to help connect the dots, Blaine Harden’s: “A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia”.


If there is nothing to hide, why then is there so much secrecy?

Shelia your first link is a very good read. What a bunch of idiots. That is why its secret!

Hindsight is rather powerful. Ignorant? Certainly! Idiots? I doubt that! Once they found out the truth as far as they knew it, they made alterations. An idiot would not have even noticed. But they certainly were not prudent!

The scientists tested uptake from the air by going outside and breathing it. One had a radioactive body off the charts! From this vantage point idiotic. but not then.

We did have idiotic behavior in our lab, because by this time everyone knew better. For instance, getting a Van de Graaff machine up and running with neutron production in full swing, was a long and laborious process. Once in a while, someone would forget to turn on a piece of apparatus used in measuring, but rather than shutting down, the principle scientist ran out himself and flipped the switch. I would have walked off the job had he demanded I do it.

I wasn't that ignorant!

I read "River Lost". It should be in my library somewhere.

So far as secrecy, it was all over Argonne. I could not even work in my assigned lab until my clearance arrived. It made me uncomfortable not knowing if what I know is not permitted, because I overheard things that supposedly a person of my clearance levels should not hear, like jokes that involved double meanings to certain nuclear terms. Later I found it was no big deal. Redacted in one place, visible in another.

Typical gubbmnt! No one knows for sure, until you find yourself in jail. That never happened, fortunately, to anyone in our group.

Argonne, btw, was not engaged in weapons research, thank God!

AFAIK, anyway!

Hey, hey, everybody settle down, settle down. The final verdict is in. Lars Larson expressly announced on-air today that the "massive release from Chernobyl was MUCH larger than the radioactive release in the little bit of troubles we've been hearing about in Japan lately."

Lars is in the news media so he got the accounting of the final 'release' numbers first, before any of us shmoo (what he calls) "dumb jerks" 'little people' in the body politick. Oh, and Lars also said "go buy a new car" and/or "go buy a gun" from those retail businesses who pay him to say that.

See? Radiation cases dismissed. No problem, no panic. Now go shopping.

Tensk: How sneaky of you not to use the term, "LIARS". I actually read your comment because anything in all caps is discarded, and you didn't adhere to your usual protocol.

Oh, and Lars also said "go buy a new car" and/or "go buy a gun" from those retail businesses who pay him to say that.

So, he gets paid by corporations, and Bill McDonald gets paid by corporations. What's your problem? I don't see a lot of difference: Bill and Lars both sell stuff, and if Bill's humor isn't PC enough, it won't get aired, which means he won't get paid.

They both target audiences. That's their job. And both are good at what they do.

I don't have a problem with either of them, so what's your beef?

Obviously, you hate Larson, but he and McDonald are two sides of the same coin.

How can you compare me to a brave soldier in the War on Christmas? Or was that a kinetic holiday action? Either way, I'm not worthy. Didn't Lars get the Order of the Candy Cane?

Bill, not picking on you, but is that your response to Max's comparison? To me you missed his point.

Most of the time, professionally, I'm just trying to add a few laughs rather than promote an agenda. Does that involve helping DJs who draw an audience to be sold things through the commercials on radio? Yeah. It does. My only regret is that they won't let me do more.
You know what kills me: I've applied at a bunch of these radio stations here, but nobody will give me a chance locally as a writer or sidekick. Meanwhile at one point I was getting comedy on 140 stations including in countries like Namibia, Iceland, Sri Lanka, and Ireland. I've had jokes in Time magazine but the local radio GMs just don't get it. The only time they get it is when they're packing the cardboard box to go.

And it's not all commerce. I was invited to be a weekly guest on KPAM when it was all-religious and I did that for free. Radio is fun. I was sort of the secular voice or whatever, but I would arrive with 20 or 30 jokes from the week, so I was one of the most prepared guests you'll find. It was a lot of laughs and laughs relieve stress. I don't make enough money to do this for the wrong reasons.

Here's one from today: News reports now have al-Qaeda fighters coming from Pakistan to Libya to join the rebel's side.
Let's be fair though: Some of them are just going to Libya for Spring Break.

See, that's not PC. It's just funny. Wake up Portland DJs. I need some more radio clients. If you're currently making north of 500 grand a year, you can break off 20 or 30 grand and have topical humor from Portland. Who knows. One good line may bounce around and save your job.

So, Max, you're OK with broadcasting false 'status report' that the decimation of Japan is less the worry or threat to our lives and Chernobyl was more worse?

If no, then shame! (and shame on) Larson's sponsors, and Beck's on the same AM frequency and traitor track.

If yes, then you could like this:
CRUISE SHIP CONFESSION: Top Fox News Executive Admits Lying On-Air About Obama, by Eric Hananoki, MediaMatters.org, March 29, 2011

When callers call Larson or Beck and say Media Matters Media Matters Media Matters 3 times real fast, it's like watching Dorothy splash water on the convulsing Wicked Witch.

Tensk: you're gonna hate this, but they aren't just on AM any more - they're on 100,000-watt FM (formerly KUFO) as well. They're gaining listeners. BTW, I don't consider a Soros-run operation to be independent nor credible.

Another note: I don't listen to Beck, and to Lars in small doses only. See below.

Bill, I'm not comparing you - just noting that you both get paid by corporations, and there's nothing wrong with it. Now quite frankly, I think you'd be a great addition to a broadcast lineup. I think I'd find you very listen-able. I was actually pretty annoyed when the Trib dropped your column; it'd be nice to have you on-air. If you could carve out a humor niche around here, it'd be a great counterpoint to some of the other stuff.

Lars, love him or hate him, is obviously good at what he does - he has a huge local network, which has never been done before, and a national show as well. Personally, I find him generally difficult to listen to because he tends to latch onto one issue and hammer it into the ground - and then keeps hammering. In such cases, he becomes a hammeroid.

That's just me, though.

"... huge local network."

I figured me some math recently. When bojack or any blog does 1,ooo,ooo 'visitors' a year, that is 90,ooo a month, that is 3,ooo a day. Larson's audience is about 4,ooo a day.

So, what is this "huge" you speak of?

Um, Tenskie - Lars has around 18 or 19 stations all across Oregon and SW Washington.

Nobody's done that before. He also has a nationally syndicated show.

You go figure you some math, and get back to me when you can put it into dollars and sense.

I recognize that you're a hater, but I suspect that's because the guy is so much more successful than you.

He has talent, like it or not. Bill Mc has it as well, but hasn't been able to find a good outlet as yet. I hope he does.
By contrast, you seem to have no talent for anything other than trolling blogs.

Good analyses Max.

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