Letter to the Editor re. maximum exposure limits to radioactivity
September 6, 2011
Forget about the Saskatchewan government/Hitachi-GE memorandum of understanding to develop small nuclear reactors. What is needed is fundamental research into the allowable exposure to radioactivity, regulations that have not fundamentally changed since 1958 - long before the discovery of DNA. The nuclear industry has actively attacked such research by Eastern European universities, hence the need for a western university that wants to establish itself amongst pre-eminent universities to take up this research. The existing exposure limits were based on radioactivity on the skin, a relatively simple health problem compared to exposure through inhalation or ingestion. In the body, ‘hot’ particles created by nuclear fission are treated like their non-radioactive counterparts, radioactive iodine concentrating in the thyroid, strontium in the bones etc. The ‘hot’ particles then continuously bombard the surrounding tissue, disrupting the DNA, which can lead to cancer.
A short youtube video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBEipg81uLw) by Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer for Fairewinds Associates, illustrates the extent of airborne ‘hot’ particles from the meltdown of the Hitachi-designed Fukushima nuclear reactors. Air was drawn through filters which were then examined for ‘hot’ particles. The conclusion was that residents of Tokyo and its suburbs (population 30 million) inhaled an average of 10 ‘hot’ particles per day in April and that residents closer to Fukushima (population 2 million) inhaled 400 ‘hot’ particles per day! How will this affect the health of these people and their descendants? Who knows, but someone should be doing this research.
If you agree that research into and acceptance of radiation exposure limits based on inhalation and ingestion be funded before money is expended on creating more nuclear wastes, please advise Premier Brad Wall (firstname.lastname@example.org), Innnovation Minster Rob Norris (email@example.com) and U of S President Peter MacKinnon (firstname.lastname@example.org).