“Rates of thyroid problems in children near Fukushima nuclear plant are high” — Expert: Parents have reason to worry — Gov’t accused of cover-up

Published: June 2nd, 2013 at 12:51 pm ET
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Title: Frightened to return: A Fukushima father’s story
Source: The Independent
Author: David McNeill
Date: June 1, 2013
h/t Anonymous tip

Rates of thyroid problems in children near the nuclear plant are high

[...] Last December, the eldest of the two was diagnosed with adenoidal cysts, the prelude to a type of cancer that often strikes the salivary glands. “I was told by the doctor that it’s very rare,” [Yoji Fujimoto] says. [...]

“I’m convinced this is because of the Fukushima accident.” [...]

[Steve Wing, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina] says that parents like Mr Fujimoto do have reason to worry. “We know that doses to populations are both unquantified by the official agencies, that evidence suggests relatively high doses, and that children and women are more vulnerable to radiation. So the questions and deep concerns for the people in Fukushima will continue for the rest of their lives.” [...]

“I expect a growth in the numbers of thyroid cancers in Japan from next year,” [Dr Alexey Yablokov, a Russian biologist] said. [...]

Parents accuse government scientists of making their minds up before the [thyroid] survey began – Professor Suzuki’s team said last July that their aim was “to calm the anxiety of the population”.

Yoji Fujimoto

  • “I have absolutely no faith in what the Fukushima government is saying”
  • “They want people to go back and live there so they clearly want to keep a lid on the impact of the disaster”
  • “There is so much information not getting out at the moment — It will be too late for my children when it is eventually released”

See also: UN: "Fukushima nuclear disaster poses no IMMEDIATE health risks" -- Unknown if increase in thyroid cancer is due to radioactivity

Published: June 2nd, 2013 at 12:51 pm ET
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21 comments

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  3. School Official in Fukushima: Almost every night parents come to our temple crying about kid’s health problems — My own children are sick and have diseases December 2, 2012
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21 comments to “Rates of thyroid problems in children near Fukushima nuclear plant are high” — Expert: Parents have reason to worry — Gov’t accused of cover-up

  • We Not They Finally

    Why doesn't this Prof. Suzuki and his team move their own families, children, grandchildren and all, to Fukushima? And yeah, we would care about the kids. But "calming HIS anxiety"? Crap, no! Let him have a freaked-out nervous breakdown right on national t.v.! Then let him and his team volunteer to do the "honorable" thing for traditional Japanese who have brought mortal shame onto themselves and others. Let there be NO MERCY for HIS "anxiety" at all.

    Look. Millions of people are being forced to have THEIR families live in death traps. Then they are additionally forced to just stand there like passive statues and take it, while their children die?

    So let Prof. Suzuki and his team freak out right on national t.v. "but good." But that would be "insane"? No. It would look way more sane than what they are actually doing…. It's heartbreaking.


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    • Anthony Anthony

      You are exactly right. If there is integrity behind those words of his, he should be willing to move his family there. That would increase his scientific worth no doubts among his peer-group if he is correct.


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    • Jay

      LOL , 'WeNotTheyFinally' , Prof. Suzuki LIVES in Fukushima , he works at the Fukushima Medical University :

      In February , the government said it had found just three cases of thyroid cancer after checking 38,000 people, a figure Shinichi Suzuki, professor of thyroid surgery at Fukushima Medical University, said was statistically insignificant. "It's difficult to imagine that there is a relationship between the cancer and the nuclear accident ," he said …

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/frightened-to-return-a-fukushima-fathers-story-8640818.html

      BTW , from a statistical point of view he is correct ( based on That data package … ) .


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      • KitemanSA

        Jay,
        Sometimes I think "don't bother, logic and data doesn't work on WNTF." But then I remember that other folks may be reading this and should be informed about the "needless cyst freakout". The article mentions what appears to be a large number of thyroid cysts in Fukushima kids. What it DOESN'T mention is that kids were examined with the same intensity in 4 other prefectures, and ALL of those four prefectures had HIGHER cyst rates than Fukushima. If anything can be said from the data i is that Fukushima Diichi may have HELPED the kids. But most of these folks can't accept that.


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  • IMO – It's better to be a fear-monger than an arrogant criminal nuclear expert.

    "The debate has hardened into two sides: people… who say the authorities are playing down or even covering up the disaster, and the increasingly vocal official view that their worries are overblown. Those who stray too far from the official line risk being accused of fear-mongering." – article

    Based on past experience I would say the 'official view' is a bunch of bologna.
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/baloney


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  • Lion76 Lion76

    The only offense of the "non-fear mongerers" is to use fallacy logic or straight up ignorance. "Fear" is a response which originates from the oldest, most base parts of the brain… the amygdala, which is on the same part of the brain that nearly all vertebrate animals share. A healthy "Fear" response is the "survival response" of a well fitted animal.

    Fear [edit]
    There are cases of human patients with focal bilateral amygdala lesions, due to the rare genetic condition Urbach-Wiethe disease.[47] Such patients fail to exhibit fear-related behaviors, leading one to be dubbed the "woman with no fear". This finding reinforces the conclusion that the amygdala "plays a pivotal role in triggering a state of fear".[48]
    Alcoholism and binge drinking [edit]
    The amygdala appears to play a role in binge drinking, being damaged by repeated episodes of intoxication and withdrawal.[49] Alcoholism is associated with dampened activation in brain networks responsible for emotional processing, including the amygdala.[50] Protein kinase C-epsilon in the amygdala is important for regulating behavioral responses to morphine, ethanol, and controlling anxiety-like behavior. The protein is involved in controlling the function of other proteins and plays a role in development of the ability to consume a large amount of ethanol. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amygdala

    Sorry, just thought that might be interesting rather than the usual response of anger posting. ;)


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    • Lion76 Lion76

      Oh and more:

      From the thalamus, a part of the stimulus goes directly to the amygdala while another part is sent to the neocortex (the "thinking brain"). If the amygdala perceives a match to the stimulus, i.e., if the record of experiences in the hippocampus tells the amygdala that it is a fight, flight or freeze situation, then the Amygdala triggers the HPA (hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal) axis and hijacks the rational brain. This emotional brain activity processes information milliseconds earlier than the rational brain, so in case of a match, the amygdala acts before any possible direction from the neocortex can be received. If, however, the amygdala does not find any match to the stimulus received with its recorded threatening situations, then it acts according to the directions received from the neo-cortex. When the amygdala perceives a threat, it can lead that person to react irrationally and destructively.[3]
      Goleman states that "Emotions make us pay attention right now – this is urgent – and gives us an immediate action plan without having to think twice. An amygdala hijack exhibits three signs: strong emotional reaction, sudden onset, and post-episode realization if the reaction was inappropriate.[4]
      Goleman later emphasised that "self-control is crucial …when facing someone who who is in the throes of an amygdala hijack"[6] so as to avoid a complementary hijacking [...] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amygdala_hijack


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      • Lion76 Lion76

        "If the amygdala perceives a match to the stimulus, i.e., if the record of experiences in the hippocampus tells the amygdala that it is a fight, flight or freeze situation, then the Amygdala triggers the HPA (hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal) axis and hijacks the rational brain."

        see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalcy_bias

        "The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation."

        you all have seen me post the normalcy bias link before ;)


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        • We Not They Finally

          Lion76, this is actually interesting stuff about brain function. But it is undoubtedly COMPOUNDED by a combination of violence, abuse, and indifference in the culture at large. The EFFECT may actually be similar to alcohol or drugs.

          The whole "normalcy" thing is true too. Like when me and husband were born, baby boomers just following WW II, cancer was RARE. But now i's "the new normal." So people's BRAINS don't even process it the same. It's like if you FIGHT and you SURVIVE, that's good, so no one eve reflects on the CAUSES or that it used to be so much DIFFERENT.

          On the positive, it's good that humans can ADAPT to different and/or stressed conditions, but a key thing is that that used to be TEMPORARY (like war) or REVERSIBLE (like economic depression.) We don't yet have paradigms engrained within us that beam to our brains as NOT-temporary or NOT-reversible. If we did, it might then go to the DEPRESSION part of the brain!!

          Our physiology probably helps us and hurts us both in those kind of straits.


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  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    My son was talking to me about this very topic and I need to ask him as he is majoring in neurology and just scored a 36 on his MCAT but it was fascinating to discuss how humans react to illness whether a sick individual stays home to prevent others from contracting the illness or whether it is due to illness itself vs the body healing and on and on evolution vs survival, etc. The brain is his forte and obviously not mine. lol


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  • alasanon

    I think we can all acknowledge that the quantities, degree of exposure, measurements, units, and media of measurements can vary or be subject to debate….

    The bottom line is that you have to maintain some basic common sense and regard for both scientific reality and sane judgment.

    If there is a nuclear meltdown–that's real bad and you have to get your family AWAY. If there are MORE than just 1 meltdown & 1 nuclear explosion or leak–yes, that means it's FAR WORSE!!…

    If your govt. can't seal off and cool the meltdowns despite an ultra-emergency urgent time frame….yes, that's even WORSE!!…


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    • alasanon

      So, don't sweat the details…Sieverts, Cesium, Strontium, radio-microminutiae, glowing in the dark…

      JUST GET OUT OF THERE!!! Get AWAY. FAST!! Thank you.

      I am very sorry for the children there. They need to run away from home!! :(


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  • paschn

    Aren't the reactors @ Fukushima a "bargain basement" type built by the U.S. arms manufacturer G.E.?

    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/how-can-the-nuclear-industry-profit-from-nucl/blog/44192/

    Aren't there a few reactors here in AmeriKa which have become suspect?
    Perhaps we should be watching how it's "handled" here?


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    • VanneV anne

      Reactor supplier was GE for Units 1, 2, and 6. Toshiba and Hitachi were the reactor supplier for units 3, 4, 5. Japanese architecture and construction for all of them.
      Unit Type[24] Containment Start construction[25] First criticality[25] Commercial operation[25] Decommissioned Electric power[25] Reactor supplier[24] Architecture[7] Construction[7] Fuel
      Fukushima I – 1[4] BWR-3 Mark I July 25, 1967 October 10, 1970 March 26, 1971 April 20, 2012 460 MW General Electric Ebasco Kajima LEU
      Fukushima I – 2[4] BWR-4 Mark I June 9, 1969 May 10, 1973 July 18, 1974 April 19, 2012 784 MW General Electric Ebasco Kajima LEU
      Fukushima I – 3[4] BWR-4 Mark I December 28, 1970 September 6, 1974 March 27, 1976 April 19, 2012 784 MW Toshiba Toshiba Kajima LEU/MOX[9]
      Fukushima I – 4[4] BWR-4 Mark I February 12, 1973 January 28, 1978 October 12, 1978 April 19, 2012 784 MW Hitachi Hitachi Kajima
      Fukushima I – 5 BWR-4 Mark I May 22, 1972 August 26, 1977 April 18, 1978 Still in operation 784 MW Toshiba Toshiba Kajima
      Fukushima I – 6 BWR-5 Mark II October 26, 1973 March 9, 1979 October 24, 1979 Still in operation 1,100 MW General Electric Ebasco Kajima
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_Nuclear_Power_Plant


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    • Paschn, everything Anne says is true but to answer your question in a different way yes. The GE designed Mark one two and three designs were built in Japan and US in the seventies and many are running in the states past there engineered lifetime. There has been lots of talk over this here but you missed it. Maybe your new here? If so welcome. Never mind the info is on the net. Try google and wikipedia for more information but it is a very good point you bring up. These old beater reactors should be de commissioned but the idiots in power don't want to do it for money reasons.


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    • KitemanSA

      Paschn,
      One other tid-bit of data that you probably wont find on this sight is that the units in the US all have various safety devices that were strongly recommended to the Japanese but refused. If the Daiichi reactors had the safety features that the US units do, the Fukushima Daiichi disaster would have been more like Three Mile Island; a complete loss of plant, but not much by way of radioactive release.

      There would not have been those roof destroying hydrogen gas explosions so the airborne contamination would have been much reduced.

      The NRA in Japan is now requiring those safety devices be put in before restart. Horse? Barn?


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  • Sickputer

    Interesting theories abound about the triple coriums at Units 1-3 at Fukushima.

    Did the melt-through of the reactor vessels occur with a single big burned hole in the bottom of the steel vessel?

    Or did the corium stream like linguini through the bottom control rod channels?

    It makes a big difference in how hot the escaped fuel is and how hard it is to cool it or any splatter left in the catcher basement.

    If the fuel stayed relatively blob-like as it burned through it probably did spread out on the concrete catcher floor like Arnie described it (a pancake). It would be more of a blob layer and the heat woulx be tremendous. Cooling would be very difficult.

    If the fuel separated through the control rod holes at the bottom then it possibly dispersed in spider web fashion and is easier to cool.

    So who knows since they can't get down there to see.

    Perhaps the nucleorats know more than they admit publicly because they created and examined a test corium melt in Russia 6 years ago. The experiment was known as Project #3831.

    "3831 «Design and experiments on large-scale installation of heating and retention corium» (VNIIEF, with the participation of IVTAN RAS – the study of interaction of large mass of melt corium (up to 1300 kg) with concrete under temperatures up to 3000°C."

    http://www.istc.ru/istc/db/projects.nsf/All/3EB1DB6DEC9CAB40C32577490043D3E7?OpenDocument

    SP: The experiment ended in 2010. They learned a lot about concrete ablation.


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