Category Archives: Ansari – New Environmentalism

Fracking Ban Stands in New York Town; Victory for Local Communities

 Fracking Ban Stands in New York Town; Victory for Local Communities March 12, 2013 | Feature The Story of Dryden: The Town That Fought Fracking
No longer content with the sale of property and goods, the Supreme Court has recently converted the political system of the United States for sale to those corporate entities willing to spend the most.  So before our new masters get around to having more laws changed in their favor, this is a good time to support Earth Justice.
“Earthjustice was created by a small group of attorneys with a passionate belief that the power of the law could be used to preserve the environment. They helped establish the right of citizens to go to court to enforce environmental laws when the government couldn’t or wouldn’t.”Trip Van Noppen, Earthjustice President


“How much radiation is ok?”

European Nuclear Society:
The effective dose for members of the public must not exceed 1 mSv/year.

On May 24, 2011, Japan raised the  exposure rate from 1 millisievert to 20 millisieverts per year (ABC)

In the United States safe limits have been “relaxed” under  President Obama’s administration. For drinking water, “the new EPA guide refers to International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines that suggest intervention is not necessary until drinking water is contaminated with radioactive iodine 131 at a concentration of 81,000 picocuries per liter. This is 27,000 times less stringent than the (current) EPA rule of 3 picocuries per liter.” (Forbes)  President Obama’s action of raising radiation levels follows President Bush’s action which created huge hikes in what was considered allowable amounts of radiation indrinking water, air, and soil.  (PEER)

MIT explanation of basic conversions:

1 gray (Gy) = 100 rad
1 rad = 10 milligray (mGy)
1 sievert (Sv) = 1,000 millisieverts (mSv) = 1,000,000 microsieverts (μSv)
1 sievert = 100 rem
1 becquerel (Bq) = 1 count per second (cps)
1 curie = 37,000,000,000 becquerel = 37 Gigabecquerels (GBq)

For x-rays and gamma rays, 1 rad = 1 rem = 10 mSv
For neutrons, 1 rad = 5 to 20 rem (depending on energy level) = 50-200 mSv
For alpha radiation (helium-4 nuclei), 1 rad = 20 rem = 200 mSv

Fukushima: Ongoing Lessons

Mr. Naoto Kan, former Prime Minister of Japan
Dr. Gregory Jaczko, Former Chairman United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Ralph Nader, American, political activist, as well as an author, lecturer, and attorney
Then there are individuals who have less of a problem with the question of radioactivity:
Statistics are skewed
Dr. McCollough’s position used to be considered the diametrically opposed view of what is called the Linear No Threshold Approach.

There are a number of scientists who believe that the less radiation you have in your life, the better; the lower your candidacy for radiation related issues (i.e. cancer). Arnie Gundersen of is one such individual.

One acronym in the video below is B.E.I.R. BEIR Biological Efects of Ionizing Radiation states that radiation exposure and cancer are linear: the more radiation you are exposed to, the greater your likelihood of contracting cancer.

Cancer Risk UnderEstimated in Japan: Arnie Gundersen & Ian Goddard p1/2

Examples cited in the video:
100 REM (1 Sv) Exposure = 1/10 chance of contracting cancer
10 REM (100 mSv) = 1/100 chances of contracting cancer
1 REM (10 mSv) = 1/1000 chances of contracting cancer

The Japanese government is currently encouraging its citizens to return to areas where the exposure rate will be 2 REM (20 mSv)

Crowdsourced data, commercial, and DIY radiation detection and mapping

Crowd-sourced post Fukushima radiation tracking is doing what it can to fill the public’s need to know. Readily available geiger counters range from $1095 to $50 with smartphone modules at the lower end of the price scale. Safecast, RadiationWatch, and
Safecast is a global project working to empower people with data, primarily by mapping radiation levels and building a sensor network, enabling people to both contribute and freely use the data collected. After the 3/11 earthquake and resulting nuclear situation at Fukushima Diachi it became clear that people wanted more data than what was available. Through joint efforts with partners such as International Medcom, Keio University, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and GlobalGiving, Safecast has been building a radiation sensor network comprised of static and mobile sensors actively being deployed around Japan – both near the exclusion zone and elsewhere in the country.

Safecast supports the idea that more data – freely available data – is better. Our goal is not to single out any individual source of data as untrustworthy, but rather to contribute to the existing measurement data and make it more robust. Multiple sources of data are always better and more accurate when aggregated.” is about as eponymous a name as a web store can have:
Radiation-Watch is another DIY organization which has developed smartphone and Arduino modules.
Radiation Watch, Japan

Radiation and weather app

Radiation Watch, UK

Crowdsourcing Radiation Data















Radiation and Reason

In researching materials addressing objections to my thesis, I came across a book and accompanying website by Professor Wade Allison. Having read Merchants of Doubt (Naomi Oreskes) I found Professor Allison’s radically dissenting opinion regarding the limits of radiation disturbing.
Wade Allison“In Radiation and Reason: The Impact of Science on a Culture of Fear Wade Allison explains, in simple terms and without using fancy maths, how radiation affects life. Wade is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford with 40 years of teaching experience.His account challenges the traditional view that nuclear radiation is hard to understand and an extreme hazard. Modern scientific and medical evidence makes it obvious that this view is wrong — but how dangerous is ionising radiation?Thanks to evolution, biology protects life and radiation is about a thousand times safer than suggested by current international safety standards — but readers should look at the evidence for themselves and make up their own minds.  Radiation and Reason, Wade AllisonA little nuclear radiation is quite harmless and in a world of other dangers — social and economic instability, global warming, population growth, shortages of power, food and water — the pursuit of the lowest possible radiation levels is in nobody’s best interest. Levels should be permitted as high as is relatively safe (AHARS). Radiation, far from being a major cause of cancer, is one of its major cures through radiotherapy applied in every major hospital.

Without justification great damage has been inflicted on public health and economic life in Japan as a result of the accident at Fukushima. Throughout the world the intention of many countries to abandon the use of nuclear power or load it with ever greater safety regulation and cost is unnecessary, and even dangerous to the future of mankind. Evidently there should be a complete change of approach by the United Nations towards radiological safety.”
Wade Allison

Nuclear Waste Documentary

Coincidentally, we just sprung a leak at a nuclear waste repository in New Mexico.  The “disposal” plan here is to put steel containers in an “ancient” salt dome deep underground and eventually collapse the tunnels, effectively sealing the place off.

Though you can’t help but who is going to do what when the salt works its way through the steel.

“Officials at WIPP continue to monitor the situation,” spokeswoman Deb Gill said to the LA Times back on Monday. “We are emphasizing there is no threat to human health and the environment.”

She also said that officials know very little about the extent and source of the problem or how to solve it.
LA Times Radiation leak in New Mexico