Professor Wins Award: “He calmed the public’s fears about exposure to ionizing radiation” after Fukushima

Published: February 3rd, 2012 at 2:41 pm ET


Title: Dedicated profs win president’s media awards
Source: Simon Fraser University
Date: February 02, 2012

Krzysztof Starosta [has] been recognized with this year’s President’s Award for Service Through Public Affairs and Media Relations […] 

Starosta had never appeared in the media before the Fukushima meltdown. But the associate professor of chemistry was quick to provide his radiation expertise and experience, even shelving his regular research to investigate the prevalence of ionizing radiation in BC’s rainfall.

He then led a news conference discussing his research into Fukushima’s radioactive fallout in BC, and subsequently spent many days fielding reporters’ questions from around the world, resulting in dozens of news stories in which both he and SFU were cited.

“He became a trusted authority on the situation, and calmed the public’s fears about exposure to ionizing radiation,” says award nominator Kate Scheel, an SFU radiation safety advisor.

“He put his scientific knowledge and his lab at the service of the community during a period when the province crucially needed it,” adds Abderrachid Zitouni, provincial radiation specialist with the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Read the report here

See also:

  • [intlink id=”vancouver-seaweed-almost-400-above-international-standard-for-iodine-131-in-food-by-march-28-levels-increasing” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”radioactive-seaweed-found-in-vancouver-ca-as-of-now-the-levels-were-seeing-are-not-harmful-nuclear-physicist” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”nuclear-friendly-professor-surprised-radioactive-seaweed-south-seattle-guess-assuming-wouldnt-reach” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
Published: February 3rd, 2012 at 2:41 pm ET


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32 comments to Professor Wins Award: “He calmed the public’s fears about exposure to ionizing radiation” after Fukushima

  • A headline to remember ran by Enenews:
    A headline ran by Enenews suggest not: “Top Radiation Expert: 50 Bq/kg in humans leads to irreversible lesions in vital organs — Then top UN official refutes effects of internal radiation (VIDEO)


    [Aileen Mioko Smith]: Yes, we’re very concerned that a health study is starting at the end of this month. This is concerning the effects of the Fukushima residents, on the prefectural citizens. It’s headed by a Dr. Shunichi Yamashita, who’s at the Atomic Bomb Research Institute… He’s widely shown on national TV. He speaks widely in the prefecture, always saying there’s absolutely no concern with the levels of radiation in Fukushima. He says that mothers, even mothers exposed to 100 millisieverts, pregnant mothers, will not have any effect, health effect. Remember the number 100. Compared to that, the Soviet Union required a mandatory evacuation during Chernobyl at five millisieverts. This doctor is quoted as saying, “The effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy and laughing. They come to people that are weak-spirited, that brood and fret.” This is a direct quote. And he’s heading the study. And so, the citizens in Fukushima are very concerned. “Japan Admits 3 Nuclear Meltdowns, More Radiation Leaked into Sea; U.S. Nuclear Waste Poses Deadly Risks,”

  • vivvi

    Yes, he should win an award. Lying Asshat of the Year.

  • arclight arclight


    “The crisis management at Fukushima successfully prevented
    large-scale radioactivity release in the past month, however, the
    cooling operates under emergency conditions.”

    Monitoring radiation levels in the Pacific Northwest
    The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis:Separating Fact from Fiction
    Simon Fraser University
    April 11, 2011

    measured CO60 TOO!

    • arclight arclight

      ANY EVIDENCE OF OTHER ISOTOPES IS WORTH DOWNLOADING.. might not be there for long!

      • Arclight

        do you think he meant for his data to contradict his reassurances?

        Also, if you have the time would you mind checking my post here to make sure i’ve not made some sort of error in my analysis of the FDA’s intervention levels for radionuclides

        I want to be sure i’ve not made a mistake somewhere

        • arclight arclight

          this report is from a german server.. not usa i believe. it was an early report and its fallen under the radar.. the values given are low but we see how they dont monitor other releases properly.. however the mention of CO60 might have been cleaned up on the usa servers.. i havent checked yet..

          as to your data.. i have a bit of free time on my hands and might like to look into it over the next couple of days as i want to get my head around some of this anyway..

          from the llrc site

          “A measure of the amount of radiation given off by a radioactive substance, based on the radioactivity of one gramme of radium, which is one Curie (1 Ci.). Now replaced by the Becquerel (Bq). One Curie = 37,000 million Bq. ”

          there are more conversions and such on llrc site, ive just got to find them.. have you a deadline or can i mosy on this one? (got a bit of miscief to get up to 🙂 but if you have a dealine i will try to meet it!
          oh and once again great site!

  • arclight arclight

    heres what the IAEA had to say

    Starting Right

    Developing Countries Make Progress Toward Nuclear Power 26 jan 2012

    “Building a new nuclear power infrastructure is a major undertaking that requires careful planning, preparation and a significant investment in time and resources. The infrastructure to support the successful introduction of nuclear power covers a wide range of issues, from the physical facilities for the delivery of electricity, the site and supporting facilities for handling radioactive waste, to the legal and regulatory framework to the human and financial resources necessary to implement the required activities. It entails attention to many complex and interrelated issues over a long duration – and a commitment of at least 100 years.”

  • Anthony Anthony

    Radioactive water spills at N.B. nuclear plant

    NB Power officials say a radiation alert at the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station Tuesday was caused by a small spill in the reactor building.

    The station has been shut down for nearly four years for refurbishment and the utility is refilling equipment with heavy water as it gets ready to restart, spokeswoman Kathleen Duguay stated in an email.

    “Preliminary information indicates that a small spill occurred within the reactor building,” she said. The heavy water is radioactive.

    Although an initial statement from Duguay indicated the event did not pose “any risk” to the public or environment, an updated statement said it “does not pose significant impact to the public or environment.”

  • getoutwhileyoustillcan

    He’ll probably get a Nobel Peace Prize too.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    This story is very painful for me – I have a couple of degrees from SFU.

    I know none of these people – my time there was decades ago.

    Still, when I search for “award nominator Kate Scheel, an SFU radiation safety advisor”, I find this:

    … which appears to describe someone with no expertise whatsoever in radiation issues.

    This really creeps me out. Sorry, I can’t deal with it further right now. I have no idea what is going on. SFU seemed absolutely “normal” back in the day – no hint whatsoever that they were anything but seekers of truth and wisdom.

    The story brings me great shame, but that is irrelevant.


    • When I first saw it, I was horrified. Universities are increasingly owned and influenced by private enterprise these days, and this is a good example of why they should not be.

      If you’re alumni, you should write a letter of complaint.

  • StillJill StillJill

    I can imagine aigeezer. I was at Chico State in ’89’ and ’90’,…and I felt “IT” then. Political correctness. Ultra liberal. Open debate seemed to end about then, IMO.

  • Something strange between these two stories: (1) The Enenews headline above about the award; and (2)the Ex-SKF article below:


    [EX-SKF WRITES]”The rainwater data also raises questions about how Ottawa monitors radiation after a nuclear crisis:

    Some of Health Canada’s numbers are much lower than those reported by other radiation researchers. Simon Fraser University nuclear chemist Krzysztof Starosta found iodine levels in rainwater in Burnaby, B.C., spiked to 13 becquerels per litre in March – many times higher than the levels Health Canada detected in nearby Vancouver.”

    end quote

    • arclight arclight

      University complicity with the nuclear industry (repost from november)

      heres some links weve had here on enenews that began to uncover world wise duplicity both in the west and east

      i think some of the investigations on these two links and other linked posts/articles in the thread are worth reading to gain an understanding of the processes within the universities and there interactions with the outside world (generally lying to the outside world, as well as themselves! my opinion!)..

      it cant be stressed the way educational establishments have power within society…and market forces on these establishments over the past decades have weakened the teaching standard creating factories churning out corporate “cogs” for the machine!

      corporate funding is a powerful incentive for universities to “tow the line”. in japan we are seeing the mobilisation of the whole educational system to furthering corporate greed…/rant

      good point about canada though! 🙂

      • My bet (no evidence) is that he found the radiation, publicized it, and then got hell.

        Maybe he was some how enticed or compelled to go around discussing the health effects of radiation, which he may not have been very well grounded in…

        Academics don’t always know a lot outside of their specializations…

        • aigeezer aigeezer

          The story comes to us as a press release from the university. I keep thinking about this part of it:


          “He became a trusted authority on the situation, and calmed the public’s fears about exposure to ionizing radiation,” says award nominator Kate Scheel, an SFU radiation safety advisor.

          “He put his scientific knowledge and his lab at the service of the community during a period when the province crucially needed it,” adds Abderrachid Zitouni, provincial radiation specialist with the BC Centre for Disease Control.


          … which strikes me as spin telling us how to interpret what Professor Starosta did. These statements appear to put the weight of the university and the provincial government behind the “calm the public’s (irrational) fears” spin. I posted earlier that searching for data on “award nominator Kate Scheel, an SFU radiation safety advisor” yielded a somewhat controversial instructor of English literature, rather than a radiation expert. Further digging suggests it is the same person, namely:

          Please take a moment to look at the link above. It’s an interesting profile. Here’s a repost of Kate Scheel’s English Prof persona as viewed by some students (who may or may not be useful observers).

          … and here’s a link to her radiation safety persona:

          Now I’m wondering why Ms. Scheel would nominate Professor Starosta for an award and how it came to be that the government health guy chimed in with a gushing endorsement. Why wasn’t the “radiation safety advisor” the university’s face to the media all along rather than a chemistry prof? Does the press release match up with what Professor Starosta actually did?

          Tangled web.

          • Tangled web indeed. None of this makes sense…

          • arclight arclight

            its interesting when you dig that a small amount of people keep rearing their heads on reports, awards and msm interviews.. they can keep it contrived due to the small cadre that supports the ideas and gets all the airtime!

            great bit of sleuthing aigeezer!

            the statement “follow the money” is appropriate here i think?

            • aigeezer aigeezer

              Thanks, arclight.

              I’ve been intrigued that only a small number of people show up in the media on the anti-nuke side also: Caldicott, Busby, Gundersen… not many more. Most everyone seems to keep heads down.

              I know the media tend to be lazy in these matters – they go to their regular sources over and over and over rather than digging for new ones, but this story has always seemed too big for that to get in the way.

              As for “follow the money” on the SFU story – I just don’t know where to look. SFU has a presence in TRIUMF (the only Vancouver-area nuke project I can think of) but the older, larger UBC has a much larger stake.


              UBC would normally be the main academic voice from BC, I would think, not the relatively small “upstart” SFU. As far as I can tell though, UBC has been silent about Fukushima throughout.

              I did stumble on one blog when digging for UBC material. It’s an interesting account of a day trip to Fukushima, but it’s a far cry from an official university reaction to the crisis.


              Bottom line for the moment: the big university with a major long-term nuclear project on campus has been silent. The small university a few miles away did some modest whistle-blowing early on, then retracted and/or whitewashed it.

  • Mack Mack

    Maybe it’s time to have an ENENEWS award.

    An annual award, with press releases, and awards given out at a red-carpet event.

    Wouldn’t that be something?

    “And the winner for the worst nuclear radiation polluter goes to…”

    “And the winner for the biggest nuclear lie goes to…”

    “And the winner for the biggest nuclear troll goes to…”

    “And the Humanitarian Award for the person who did the most to inform the public on the dangers of nuclear energy and its health effects goes to….”

  • It’ll be interesting to follow the money on this one as well. I suspect they were paid rather handsomely:

    Chernobyl experts hopeful on Fukushima

    To be compared with:

    Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment

  • Karl LeMay

    At UW Madison, where they have a scandal-ridden TRIGA II reactor in an engineering school building basement, the University has controlled the state of Wisconsin’s public Radio and Television with a complete blackout on Fukushima news since April 12th 2011.

    You can use the website’s search engines to confirm this.

    Even the local cops don’t know about the school’s reactor, and there are no iodine pills for any emergency here. The University system’s Health administration (very large, incleudes hospitals and Medical school) told me that their suppliers don’t even carry them.

  • patman

    I could vomit.

    • or-well

      Another Professor
      from under the rug
      scoffs an award
      and gets a hug
      for doing a gypsy dance
      to quell the fire
      of “fear epidemic”
      public reaction
      to something dire.
      “Don’t get manic or panic
      Don’t take ANY action –
      The Profs have your back
      and that’s satisfaction-
      guaranteed!” Just don’t call them
      When you start to bleed.

  • Very little has changed since Chernobyl blew up and radiated everyone, except that many more nuclear accidents, meltdowns, melt throughs and ‘accidental’ radiation releases happened, plus way more radioactive substances are now in the air, on the ground and in the ocean as well as inside all of us.

    How many radioactive elements and isotopes are released from something like Fukushima, some of which eventually end up inside all of us?

    According to Asahi: about 1,000 kinds of radioactive materials have been released from Fukushima reactors.

    Let’s focus on just 93 out of the 1,000 total, shall we? There are 93 different long lived radioactive elements that hang around and pollute both the environment and us for at least 17,000 years and up to BILLIONS of years in total decay life. Want to see the list of all 93?

    This is what we can tell our kids that we left this all for them to clean up, once we are gone, because there is no way we can clean up this mess. The best we can do is shut down all of the nuclear reactors. But that does not clean up the mess we made.

    The Egyptian pyramids are only 5,000 years old, and the Bible is about 2,000 years old.

    How much sense does it make to heat water for only 30 years with radioactive ‘fuel’ that blows up and melts down (creating huge non livable zones for 50,000 years to 5 Billion years?

    Do we really want our future generations of kids and grandkids to have to deal with the radioactive leftovers from the spent fuel, laying around for billions of years, just so we can have hot water TODAY?

    Do we REALLY want our kids and grandkids for infinite future generations to pay for the storage and guarding of these dangerous, terrorist inviting waste products?