Nuclear Incidents. In the United States there have been at least one hundred and fifty “nuclear incidents.” This is “an unexpected event involving a nuclear weapon, facility, or component.” In 2012, the Union of Concerned Scientists, which tracks ongoing safety issues at operating nuclear plants, found that “leakage of radioactive materials is a pervasive problem at almost 90 percent of all reactors, as are issues that pose a risk of nuclear accidents.”
Nuclear ‘Accident’, as opposed to ‘incident’ is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency as “an event that has led to significant consequences to people, the environment or the facility.” Energy expert Benjamin K. Sovacool has reported that worldwide there have been 99 accidents at nuclear power plants from 1952 to 2009 totaling US$20.5 billion in property damages. Fifty-seven accidents have occurred since the Chernobyl disaster, and almost two-thirds (56 out of 99) of all nuclear-related accidents have occurred in the USA.
The circles in the map located here show the location of nuclear reactors in the U.S. and the hundreds-of-miles areas where a “Chernobyl-sized” accident could spread radioiodine around each. Note that in the Northeast especially, people live within the danger radius of multiple plants.
Nuclear Bombs. Testing of nuclear bombs has been going on for a very long time and has been increasing at a rapid rate. These tests emit radiation that is carried by ocean currents, prevailing winds and the sea plants and marine life that live near them. To see a video of the sites and timeline of these tests, go to the YouTube videos referenced below.
Nuclear-powered aircraft and submarine accidents. “At least three dozen serious accidents and incidents involving atomic or nuclear weapons have occurred since 1950. Many of these cases cost the lives of military personnel, led to the release of radioactive material, or resulted in the loss of the weapon itself. Most of these weapons fell into the ocean where the nuclear material could not be recovered given the limits of current technology.
It is estimated that over 50 nuclear warheads have been lost in the world’s oceans following aircraft or naval accidents. Another 26 nuclear reactors from ships and submarines have also been lost or deliberately dumped at sea.” Five nuclear submarines are sunk in the Atlantic Ocean; three in the Arctic ocean. As of this writing, there are none in the Pacific or Indian oceans.
Nuclear Terrorism. The International Atomic Energy Agency Illicit Nuclear Trafficking Database notes 1,266 incidents reported by 99 countries over the last 12 years, including 18 incidents involving highly enriched plutonium or plutonium trafficking. Who has it? Where is it? How is it being stored? Satisfactory answers are not available.
Radiation from Medical Tests. Each person has the power to decide how much radiation from medical tests to be exposed to. Many people report that doctors and dentists who order such tests make light of the exposure, especially emphasizing that ‘this particular test’ is only a minimal amount. So, is it harmful or not?
Dr. Shigera Mita reviewed the rate of radiation-induced cancers. He found that it has tripled in the last two decades and that diagnostic imaging has been already been admitted as a cause by the U.S. government. “There is a secular trend between breast cancer mortality and screening programs specifically medical diagnostic techniques such as mammography.”
Natural Exposure. is considered to be from source such as external background radiation, air travel and radon.
Your Top Protective Strategy. Exposure to radioactive isotopes such as iodine 131 and cesium 137 are the most common. They occur in irradiated wastes from nuclear power plants, for example. “When the regular non-radioactive iodine the thyroid gland needs to function is replaced by radioactive I-131, that can trigger genetic damage that gives rise to cancer decades after exposure, with the worst damage being in cells that reproduce most rapidly.” For addressing exposure to iodine 131, potassium iodide is the most recommended supplement. The following is how the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says to use it:
“The thyroid gland cannot tell the difference between stable and radioactive iodine. It will absorb both. KI (potassium iodide) blocks radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid. When a person takes KI, the stable iodine in the medicine gets absorbed by the thyroid. Because KI contains so much stable iodine, the thyroid gland becomes “full” and cannot absorb any more iodine-either stable or radioactive-for the next 24 hours.
KI (potassium iodide) may not give a person 100% protection against radioactive iodine. Protection will increase depending on three factors.
Time after contamination: The sooner a person takes KI, the more time the thyroid will have to “fill up” with stable iodine.
Absorption: The amount of stable iodine that gets to the thyroid depends on how fast KI is absorbed into the blood.
Dose of radioactive iodine: Minimizing the total amount of radioactive iodine a person is exposed to will lower the amount of harmful radioactive iodine the thyroid can absorb.”