Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Cyclotrons for medical isotopes needed in other States, not monopolised by ANSTO in Sydney

Medical isotope productionTrisha Dee  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 28 Nov 16 ANSTO want to pick up where Canada has stepped off. Canada used to provide a significant part of the world’s radioactive isotopes. Now Australia wants to get in on this dying industry. They need to make room at Lucas Heights to do so. Hence their push to bury their toxic waste in the outback. There is no strong case for co-location.
 Noel Wauchope . The Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission recommended expanding a cyclotron industry in South Australia, to develop medical radioisotopes.
  Steve Dale   I heard that our Cyclotron at SAHMRI could produce even more of the diagnostic products locally – but are prevented from doing so by ANSTO. When Lucas Heights new reactor breaks down for an extended time, Australia will be wishing we put our money into a nationwide network of Cyclotrons https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/permalink/383529301991886/?comment_id=383790921965724

November 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, South Australia | Leave a comment

Cyclotrons for medical uses – a better option than Lucas Heights nuclear reactor

cyclotron - small partcle accelerator, CanadaA NEW REACTOR?  It’s the worst possible option! Nuclear Study Group  Sutherland Shire Environment Centre  1998 By R.D. (Bob) Walshe, OAM“…..There are attractive alternatives to a new reactor, especially cyclotrons. Why are they being ignored?

Dr Jim Green says, ‘There are several alternatives to a new reactor, including particle accelerators, spallation sources, and synchrotron radiation sources.’

But none of these were independently evaluated prior to the Federal Government’s 3 September 1997 statement of intention to proceed with a new reactor. Yet, says Dr Green, in all cases ‘the alternatives are preferable to a reactor, in relation to radioactive waste and safety’.

There is not room here to report the claims of all these scientific/technical alternatives, but the keenest contender, the cyclotron, suffices to demonstrate what is possible.

‘Particle accelerators’ are machines that charge particles to enormous velocities, whence they can be directed to hit a target and so produce the medical isotopes that ANSTO has led so many people to believe require a nuclear reactor. The cyclotron is at present the most useful of the accelerators.

Australia already has two cyclotrons, one in Sydney and a smaller in Melbourne. Dr Green says they are much cheaper to buy than reactors, cheaper to run, are powered by electricity not nuclear fuel, leave only a small quantity of low-level radioactive waste, and so avoid the intractable waste problem associated with a reactor.

Attractive indeed. How, then, to explain the churlish attitude of ANSTO to cyclotrons? The unavoidable answer is – because the nuclear industry fears it will be undermined by the cheaper, safer, electricity-based cyclotron industry.

Several authoritative voices have called for funds for cyclotron research; for example, the 1995 Senate Select Committee on Radioactive Waste was urged to recommend that $500,000 be spent over three years on cyclotron research – a fraction of the money lavished on the reactor – but none has been forthcoming.

The relatively cheap, safe and simple cyclotron undermines the case for a new, expensive, waste-proliferating reactor. The cyclotron and other attractive alternatives to a reactor promise better results in nuclear medicine. And ANSTO’s  last defence of the reactor – that it alone can produce the much-used isotope Technetium-99m which can’t be imported because its effective life is only six hours – neglects to say that its equally effective longer-lived parent , Molybdenum-99m, is being widely transported around the world. (Moreover, American research into cyclotron production of Technetium-99m has shown promising results in recent years, and further research is proceeding actively. )  http://ssec.org.au/our_environment/issues_campaigns/nuclear/a_new_reactor.htm

November 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Cyclotron – a little ray of light in Premier Weatherill’s otherwise dreary nuclear spiel

From Jay Weatherill’s  Response to Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Report

“I’m also excited about the many positive commercial opportunities that are on the table for South Australia in nuclear medicine around the SAHMRI cyclotron.”

This IS one positive outcome from this long drawn out process. ra ra http://nuclear.yoursay.sa.gov.au/news/get-to-know-nuclear-discover-discuss-decide-government-delivers-response-to-nuclear-fuel-cycle-royal-commission-report

Medical isotope production

November 16, 2016 Posted by | health, South Australia, technology | Leave a comment

Urgent need for public education and action on fluoridation of Queensland’s water

New Queensland Health data shows 3223 children aged 10 and under required hospital treatment in 2013-14 for dental caries (the scientific term for tooth decay or cavities).

More than 51 per cent of Queensland five to 10-year- olds who attended public dental clinics in 2014-15 had decay in their baby teeth. On average, four teeth were affected.

Decay in Queensland children aged five to 10 was 20 per cent higher than national averages to 2012-14 and 33 per cent higher in the permanent teeth of nine to 14-year-olds.

Queensland’s Chief Dentist Dr Mark Brown said he was concerned by the “high level of tooth decay” in children, describing it as “a significant problem”.

In terms of population, about three-quarters of the state has water fluoridation – up from less than 5 per cent before the Bligh government made fluoridated water supplies mandatory for communities of more than 1000 people in 2008.

But since 2012, changes made under former premier Campbell Newman have allowed councils to pull out of fluoridating water supplies.

“My concern is for the quarter of the population in regional and rural Queensland who don’t have access to fluoridation,” Dr Brown said. “That community is being left behind when most Australians now have access to water fluoridation.”.

Australian Dental Association state fluoride spokesman Dr Michael Foley said there was no doubt water fluoridation reduced the risk of decay.

  “We’re spending a fortune on general anaesthetics for kids with dental decay,” he said. “It’s stupid. Water fluoridation saves truckloads of money in saved dental costs.”

Dr Foley said he would like to see the State Government take control of fluoridating drinking water, rather than local councils. Continue reading

November 14, 2016 Posted by | health, Queensland | 6 Comments

Doubts over Australia’s Department of Environment Regulation (DER) commitment to public health

Environment regulator questioned over its measuring of how it protects public health, ABC News By Rebecca Turner, 20 Oct 16, The environmental regulator has been questioned why it is using the speed at which it issues environmental approvals to measure its effectiveness at protecting public health and the environment.

Between the lines of the department’s 2015-16 annual report lies a simmering disagreement between the public sector watchdog, auditor-general Colin Murphy, and the director-general of the Department of Environmental Regulation, Jason Banks.

Mr Murphy has taken the Department of Environment Regulation (DER) to task for choosing to monitor how effectively it fulfils one of its key roles — ensuring pollution and land clearing do not put the health of Western Australians or their environment at risk — by measuring how quickly it finalises environmental approvals, permits and investigations……..

While the disagreement is being played out in the most bureaucratic of language in a document which is likely to gather dust on departmental shelves, it is an interesting insight into how policy debates are conducted among public servants.

For example, Mr Murphy chose to issue a qualified opinion on the department’s annual report, a serious matter in the world of auditing.

He was critical of how the department used four Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)  which focused on the timeliness of regulatory activities — including the percentage of major resource projects work approvals decided within 60 days — to measure how it was avoiding risks to public health and the environment.

He called the KPIs to assess its effectiveness as a regulator “not relevant”…….

While the nature of this new KPI is unknown, this year’s annual report marked the first time the department has not published KPIs which show how many times environmental pollution exceeded safe guidelines.

It has prompted Greens MP Lynn Maclaren to call on the WA Government to reinstate vigorous environmental health and air quality measuring in the annual report.

Ms Maclaren said she agreed with the auditor-general, who had raised a serious issue with a department which she claimed was shifting its focus away from ensuring a healthy environment and towards speedy development approvals.

“Who else is going to challenge the director-general in this way?” she said.”It shows that he is taking his job very seriously.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-20/auditor-general-in-public-spat-with-agency-der-environment/7947734

October 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Cover-up of Australia’s Hiroshima -like story – Maralinga

This March, documents obtained exclusively by news.com.au revealed that hundreds of children and grandchildren of veterans exposed to radiation were born with shocking illnesses including tumours, Down syndrome, cleft palates, cerebral palsy, autism, missing bones and heart disease.

Other veterans posted to the Maralinga nuclear test site blamed the British Nuclear Test for an unusually high number of stillbirths and miscarriages among the group.

“The rest of the Aboriginal people in this country need to know the story as well,”    “This one’s been kept very quiet.”

Nuclear will be on show at the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, South Australia from 17 September to 12 November.

secret-agent-AustThe secret destruction of Australia’s Hiroshima,  http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/the-secret-destruction-of-australias-hiroshima/news-story/9eabf722dbe2f87e03a297c2a348a8e1   news.com.au, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 WHEN nuclear explosions tore through Australia’s vast, arid centre, some people living there didn’t even know it was coming.

It devastated the country for miles around, annihilating every bird, tree and animal in its path.

Even today, the effects of our very own Hiroshima are still felt by the families it ripped apart, and those suffering horrific health problems as a result.

The British military detonated seven nuclear bombs in remote Maralinga, around 800km north-west of Adelaide, plus two at Emu Fields and three off the coast near Karratha, Western Australia.

They also staged hundreds of minor trials investigating the impact of non-nuclear explosions on atomic weapons, involving tanks, gun, mannequins in uniforms and even tethered goats. In many ways, these smaller tests were equally dangerous, spraying plutonium in all directions.

Yet most Australians know very little about the blasts that shattered communities, and the dramatic story now buried under layers of dust. Continue reading

September 17, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, health, history, secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Montebello nuclear test veterans return to site – no compensation over 60 years later

Montebello atomic test 1952Atomic test veterans back at Montebello Islands as compo bid drags on  Malcolm Quekett – The West Australian on May 4, 2016 “……After returning to HMAS Fremantle, the sailors were tested with the Geiger counter and told they had to decontaminate themselves using a hard brush and soap under the shower.

They stayed under the water for hours and scrubbed. But they were then told they were wasting their time. They were showering under sea water which was itself contaminated.

Mr Whitby said he collapsed soon afterwards and was taken to a naval hospital in Darwin where he stayed for a week, lost one-third of his body weight and developed extreme anxiety and a chronic cough.He was transferred to hospital in Perth for another two weeks. “No one had any knowledge of radiation illness,” he said.

Mr Whitby was eventually discharged from the Navy in 1961, but the problems have followed him to this day. He said he developed skin cancers that had to be removed, and he still had the anxiety and the cough.

His best man, who had gone ashore with him, died at the age of 38 from cancer, and another mate died before turning 40. Wives of men on the ship suffered miscarriages.

After years of struggling to have his case acknowledged by officialdom, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal found in 2012 that he should be paid compensation and have his legal bills met.

Mr Whitby, 76, of East Fremantle, said he was still waiting. A Department of Veterans’ Affairs spokesman said the DVA was “investigating the claims and will be in a position to respond when that investigation is complete”.

Mr Whitby has allies among the other members of the Australian Ex-Services Atomic Survivors Association. Between 1952 and 1957, Britain conducted 12 atomic tests at the Montebellos as well as Emu Field and Maralinga in South Australia.

“Minor trials” were also conducted at Emu Field and Maralinga between 1953 and 1963. Next month, members of the association and family members will journey to the Montebellos to place a plaque to mark the 60th anniversary of the last test.Among them are Jim Marlow, 80, of Canning Vale, Rex Kaye, 76, of Melville, and Denis Flowers, 80, of Ferndale, who will all pay their own costs to be part of the expedition.

Mr Marlow was aboard HMAS Karangi near the Montebellos when one of the tests took place. He said the crew assembled on deck and were told to turn their backs just before the explosion, and then turned back again to see the massive cloud build up.

Mr Kaye was a general hand in the Royal Australian Air Force and worked with planes used in the SA tests. He said he was still fighting leukaemia and side effects……..https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/31511899/atomic-test-veterans-back-at-montebello-as-compo-bid-drags-on/

May 4, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Medical education now addressing radiation risk with medical imaging

medical-radiation30376 – Radiation protection of the patient, RACGP March 16  Gplearning

Many medical imaging procedures involve exposure to ionising radiation. The immediate and long-term benefits of these procedures are widely understood. However, in clinical settings, both referring and radiological medical practitioners often have limited awareness of the actual doses of radiation and risks involved.
While risk associated with any single procedure is likely very small, the cumulative effect of frequent, often repeated and potentially inappropriate radiographic imaging presents a real public health concern for risks such as radiation-induced cancer.
This activity will cover the measurement of radiation associated with medical imaging; the effects of radiation exposure; the radiation associated with specific imaging procedures; and issues in clinical decision making, including evidence based medicine and risk communication.

Relevance to General Practice
Patients often rely on their GP for education about the risks and benefits of tests, including medical imaging. All international regulatory authorities, including those in Australia, require that imaging procedures be justified before being performed to protect patients from unnecessary or harmful tests.
The premise of justification is simple: the benefit of the test must outweigh the harm. In clinical practice, the process of justification is often less clear.
GPs are responsible for more imaging referrals than any other group. Most of these referrals are justified (the benefits far outweigh the risks) however, recent reviews suggest that between a significant number of medical radiation exposures may be unnecessary.
This activity will discuss the radiation associated with specific imaging procedures; and issues in clinical decision making, including evidence based medicine and risk communication. …….http://www.racgp.org.au/education/courses/activitylist/activity/?id=32177

April 6, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Genetic damage to later generations from Maralinga radiation fallout

New generations of Australian families suffering deformities and early deaths because of ‘genetic transfer’,news.com.au MARCH 10, 2016 [EXCELLENT PHOTOS] PEOPLE who worked at Australian atomic bomb test sites claim they have produced generations of children with severe deformities and suffered a high number of stillbirths.

Documents obtained exclusively by news.com.au show hundreds of children and grandchildren of veterans exposed to radiation were born with shocking illnesses including tumours, Down syndrome, cleft palates, cerebral palsy, autism, missing bones and heart disease.

One veteran, who was posted to the Maralinga nuclear test site in South Australia in the 1950s as part of the British Nuclear Test (BNT) program, says the radiation contaminated his sperm and is to blame for the death of a child he never got to know.

But he is not alone, with the documents detailing a litany of miscarriages and stillbirths that has allegedly passed the devastation from generation to generation.

Australian ex-servicemen and their families originally made submissions to a Federal Government review in 2003 over deaths and disabilities they believe were caused by exposure to radiation from nuclear testing in South Australia and Western Australia in the 1950s and 60s.

The submissions were later compiled to use in a class action against the British Ministry of Defence, but the case was not allowed to proceed because it was deemed impossible to prove radiation caused their illnesses. Continue reading

March 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, reference, South Australia | Leave a comment

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES LINK BETWEEN RADIATION EXPOSURE AND ILLNESS

New generations of Australian families suffering deformities and early deaths because of ‘genetic transfer’, news.com.au MARCH 10, 2016 [EXCELLENT PHOTOSlifestyle/health/health-problems/new-generations-of-australian-families-suffering-deformities-and-early-deaths-because-of-genetic-transfer/news-story/5a74b7eab2f433402aa00bc2fcbcbea4 “……..   But the link between exposure to radiation at the test sites and subsequent illness of the BNT veterans and their descendants has never been accepted by the Australian Government.

A Department of Veterans’ Affairs study concluded that “only two per cent of participants received more than the current Australian annual dose limit for occupationally exposed persons”.

Those who can prove they sustained an injury or disease related to their service are eligible for compensation under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA), and its antecedent Acts.

But BNT veterans told news.com.au they are continually rejected on the grounds that the levels of radiation they were exposed to were “too low” to cause their illnesses.

It’s a stark contrast to a 1999 study for the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, which found that 30 per cent of the nuclear test veterans had died, mostly in their 50s, from cancers or cancer-related illnesses.

In addition, a 2007 New Zealand study found that New Zealand sailors who had been exposed to the nuclear testing had three times the level of genetic abnormality and notably higher rates of cancer than the general population.

Following a British decision in 1988, the Australian Government negotiated compensation for a small group of Australian servicemen suffering from two specific conditions — leukaemia (except lymphatic leukaemia) and a rare blood disorder known as multiple myeloma.

But the bulk of BNT Australian veterans have never been compensated over radiation exposure during the atomic bomb tests in the 1950s and 60s. Nor have their medical conditions been officially linked to their exposure.

While BNT service personnel have had access to disability pensions and health care under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) since July 1, 2010, and cancer treatments, many of them say they are not entitled to full benefits.

Mr Batchelor said he wasn’t even entitled to a veteran’s gold card despite all he has suffered, sacrificed and lost.

“Those (veterans) that are left could desperately do with a gold card,” he said.

“I don’t think that’s asking for too much.” http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/new-generations-of-australian-families-suffering-deformities-and-early-deaths-because-of-genetic-transfer/news-story/5a74b7eab2f433402aa00bc2fcbcbea4

March 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

The myth that a nuclear reactor is needed for medical uses

A very comprehensive 2010 OECD Nuclear Energy Agency report found reactor based isotope production requires significant taxpayer subsidies, as the cost of sale does not cover the cost of production.

The report concludes: “In many cases the full impact of Mo-99/Tc-99m provision was not transparent to or appreciated by governments… The full costs of waste management, reactor operations, fuel consumption, etc were not included in the price structure. This is a subsidisation by one country’s taxpayers of another country’s health care system. Many governments have indicated that they are no longer willing to provide such subsidisation.”

What is needed urgently is a debate about how much waste we make. We have a choice: whether we follow ANSTO’s expensive business model to ramp up reactor manufacture (and the long-lived radioactive waste that goes with it), or collaborate with Canada to develop cyclotron manufacture of isotopes that does not produce long-lived nuclear waste.

Debunking the myths around medicine and a nuclear waste dump

Nuclear Waste In Australia: A Few Home Truths https://newmatilda.com/2016/03/07/50511/   By  on March 7, 2016 Australia’s hunt for a central nuclear waste dump continues, but we already have more waste than we know what to do with, writes Margaret Beavis.

The Federal government is seeking a location for a nuclear waste facility. But the provision of information to communities has been problematic, with some major flaws.

Claims have been made that provision of nuclear medicine services is a key reason to build it, but existing medical waste makes up a very small proportion of the total waste requiring disposal.

In addition, little has been said about ANSTO’s business plan to greatly ramp up Australia’s reactor based production of isotopes from 1 per cent to over 25 per cent of the world’s market, which will massively increase the amount of long-lived radioactive waste produced in the future.

A new process may reduce the volume of the waste, but the actual quantity of radioactive material to store will be significantly greater, and will become most of the radioactive waste Australia produces.

In Australia nuclear medicine isotopes are indeed useful, but according to Medicare figures represent less than 3 per cent of medical imaging. They are most commonly used for bone scans and some specialised heart scans. They are not needed (as claimed by government) for normal X-rays, most heart scans and the vast majority of cancer treatments (surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy). Continue reading

March 7, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, New South Wales, reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission ignores the facts on low level radiation

 

radiation-causing-cancerChris Murray 16 Feb 16 The issue of low level radiation is crucial to the nuclear debate. If the threshold/hormesis outliers are successful in their campaign, radiation protection limits will be raised and nuclear costs will fall dramatically.

It is unfortunate therefore that The Royal Commission is so economical with the truth on low level radiation. It specifically quotes WHO and UNSCEAR to paint a particular picture. The omission of very relevant material from the same sources does not inspire confidence in its findings. Although it states that “a precautionary approach is appropriate”, by minimizing the possible casualties from Chernobyl and Fukushima, it effectively dumps any such precautionary approach.

While UNSCEAR, citing uncertainties, refuses to give any estimates for the absolute number of casualties from Chernobyl, it does state that “”Although the numbers of cancers projected to be induced by radiation exposure after the accident are very small relative to the baseline cancer risk, THEY COULD BE SUBSTANTIAL IN ABSOLUTE TERMS”
(My emphasis – even a “very small” increase of say, 0.5%, in baseline risk would cause 5,000 extra cancers in a 5 million population, assuming normal cancer mortality of 20% of all deaths.)

Also unmentioned is that the WHO/Chernobyl Forum (of which UNSCEAR was a member) stated that
“The Expert Group concluded that there may be up to 4 000 additional cancer deaths among the three highest exposed groups over their lifetime (240 000 liquidators; 116 000 evacuees and the 270 000 residents of the SCZs)”
http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/chernobyl/backgrounder/en/
(this is for the most exposed areas alone)

Also ignored is that the WHO/CF, while acknowledging considerable uncertainties (which can lead to underestimation of effects as easily as overestimation), estimated a possible further 5,000 fatal cancers from the most contaminated areas in wider Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, giving a total of 9,000.

“Predictions, generally based on the LNT model, suggest that up to 5 000 additional cancer deaths may occur in this population from radiation exposure, “
http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/chernobyl/backgrounder/en/

Nor is there any mention that even UNSCEAR accepts a proven risk down to 10 mSv:
“Risk estimates vary with age, with younger people generally being more sensitive; studies of in utero radiation exposures show that the foetus is particularly sensitive, with elevated risk being detected at doses of 10 mSv and above.”

Also ignored is that UNSCEAR, in its recent Fukushima report, no longer uses a DDREF (Dose and Dose Rate Effectiveness Factor). No DDREF means that the 9,000 could legitimately be doubled to 18,000. And again, this is from the most contaminated areas. The fallout and its effects did not stop there, unless one is claiming a definite threshold, an ideological position rejected again and again by the scientific establishment (See the recent US EPA statement athttp://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NRC-2015-0057-0436 ).

Again, unmentioned in the report, the WHO/CF admits that “Chernobyl may also cause cancers in Europe outside Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.“

The Commission seems to have adopted the nuclear industry spin that low level radiation is of no concern if it’s comparable to background radiation. This is like saying it’s ok to deliberately electrocute people so long as the numbers are comparable to those killed by “natural electricity” ie lightning. The Commission seems to have no awareness that the BEIR VII committee, the ICRP, the 21st H L Gray conference etc. examined the “evidence” for the claim that background radiation was harmless and found it wanting, the studies either being ecological or lacking statistical power.

Likewise the Commission seem unaware that a recent study – A record-based case-control study of natural background radiation and the incidence of childhood leukaemia and other cancers in Great Britain during 1980-2006 – has shown that background radiation may be responsible for 12% of childhood leukaemias. And if it’s responsible for leukaemia, it is almost certainly responsible for other cancers.

One of the authors of this study is Richard Wakeford, the former BNFL principal research sciencist, who can hardly be accused of being an unscientific tree-hugger, an anti-nuke idealogue, a Greenpeace or coal industry shill, etc. etc.

Shockingly, none of this, much from the Commission’s own sources, is mentioned. Instead it hides behind “ongoing scientific debate”, and cherrypicks the most reassuring quotes.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, South Australia | 1 Comment

​Calm heads and clear information needed on nuclear medicine and waste claims 

Medical Association for the Prevention of War, 5 Feb 16 Media reports today linking continued access to nuclear medicine to the development of a new national nuclear waste facility do not correctly reflect the situation or advance considered discussion of these issues, according to leading national public health group the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW).
 
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), which runs the Lucas Heights reactor, has increased pressure on the waste dump selection process by saying it will run out of storage capacity by early 2017, and will have to stop making medical isotopes for nuclear medicine use. This statement omits many facts. 
 
ANSTO has quietly decided to develop a reactor based export industry for medical isotopes, to supply 30% of the world market. This plan, made with no public debate or inquiry, would very significantly increase waste from reactor use. 
 
In contrast, Canada had an extensive public review of its reactor production in 2009, and decided it did not wish to continue using a reactor to produce isotopes. Reasons included lack of reliable supply (reactors only operate 80% of the year, and do break down from time to time), expense to the taxpayer of the production, and the burden of nuclear waste left in Canada due to international use. 
Medical isotope production
 
The Canadians have developed proven methods of isotope production using cyclotrons (which does not generate reactor waste), with a successful pilot in January 2015. They are now in the process of scaling up and getting regulatory approvals for this, and look to be able to supply Canada in the next 3-5 years. 
 
It should be noted that using medical isotope produces extremely little waste. It is reactor production of isotopes that needs public debate and scrutiny. 
 
We can continue with ANSTO’s business plan, and export to supply the world market. This will leave Australia with vastly increased burden of nuclear waste from international nuclear medicine use, and is the more expensive option.
 
We can return to business as usual supplying Australia, which means we produce isotopes less than one day a week (not five days a week), with a subsequent major decrease in radioactive waste. This would enable all parties to plan world’s best practice storage in a rational and calm manner. We could further partner with Canada and work to develop cyclotron production of isotopes at commercial scale in Australia. 
 
This is cheaper and more reliable than reactor production, and does not leave communities, taxpayers and future generations with a nuclear waste burden that will last for millennia. And unlike a nuclear reactor, it poses almost no accident, proliferation or terrorist risks. We do not need to choose between access to nuclear medicine and the time and processes needed to advance responsible radioactive waste management. 

February 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Medical isotopes: tax-payer funded ANSTO should be promoting non nuclear technology

ANSTO-draculaMedical isotope production in Australia: Should we be using reactor based or cyclotron technology? 15th January 2016  Dr Margaret Beavis MBBS FRACGP MPH Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia Health Professionals Promoting Peace

Executive summary ANSTO (the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) is currently planning to dramatically increase the use of the Lucas Heights OPAL reactor to supply a third of the world market with medical isotopes, and is constructing a new facility to be completed by the end 2016. This will result in 97% of the medical isotopes produced at Lucas Heights being sold on the export market, with 3% for Australian use.
1 Australia would be better served in the future by following the Canadian example and using cyclotrons to produce medical isotopes.
Recent advances create a choice as to whether we continue reactor manufacture, or develop cyclotron capacity in Australia.
Reactor production of isotopes has been shown to be unreliable with at times worldwide shortages of supply, due to unplanned outages. Cyclotron use would be more reliable, decentralised and both cheaper and cleaner.
Reactor isotope production and sale can only occur with significant subisidies from government. Canada, who supplies over 30 % of the world market, is phasing out reactor isotope production due to concerns about reliability, cost, radioactive waste accumulation and other issues.
Reactor use generates a significant long-lived Intermediate Level Waste waste burden which must be safeguarded for tens of thousands of years.
Provision of subsidised reactor based isotopes internationally is likely to slow the uptake of cyclotron technology in many countries.
In contrast, cylotron technology is cheaper, less prone to shortages of supply, and does not produce any long lived nuclear waste, and will be commercially feasible in the near future.
 ANSTO is a tax payer funded organisation. It should be leading the debate on this issue, and providing accurate and up to date information.
 The current proposal from ANSTO to markedly increase reactor isotope production should be subject to extensive public consultation, given it will have repercussions that include the need for major subsidies, less reliability of supply for nuclear medical care and result in the production of waste that will impact on future generations for millennia. …………

Continue reading

January 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, politics | Leave a comment

Highly misleading to say that Lucas Heights nuclear reactor is mainly for medical uses

nuclear-medicineit would be highly misleading to attribute this predominantly to medical isotope production given the broad range of uses of the HIFAR and MOATA reactors over the last 60 years.
Radioactive waste in Australia, Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) 18 Jan 16   “……..How much medical Lucas-wasteswaste will be deposited in the repository? Less than 1% is medical waste (leftover radium and some disused sources). Most states and territories each only have a few cubic metres of low level medical waste.
 There are broadly two areas in which radioactive material is used for medical purposes:
Nuclear scans for investigating disease. These produce the vast bulk of medical nuclear waste. This is short-lived and decays on the medical facilities’ premises until its activity is negligible. It then is disposed of safely and appropriately in the usual manner of most waste (sewers, incineration, landfill tips etc.) according to set standards.
Cancer treatment radiotherapy. Most radiotherapy uses X-rays or electromagnetic radiation which do not produce any waste at all. A very small proportion of cancer treatment actually relies on radioactive materials, which almost all decay rapidly. Longer lived sources must be returned to their (overseas) sources when used up and so do not need local disposal. The provision of nuclear medicine services does not depend on a permanent waste repository.
What about the radioactive waste derived from the production of medical isotopes at Lucas Heights?
 • Firstly, most countries import their medical isotopes and clearly do not store the waste involved in its production. Medical isotope supply is a globalised industry with five reactors supplying over 95% of the world’s supply. Australia’s domestic production of medical isotopes is a policy choice not a medical necessity.
 • Secondly, Canada (the world’s biggest supplier) is switching to non-reactor isotope production, which does not create radioactive waste. This will significantly reduce Canada’s accumulation of waste. In contrast, ANSTO is proposing to dramatically increase reactor isotope production to sell to 30% of the world market. As a result Australia will accumulate much more waste from international isotope sales. Developing cyclotrons instead (like Canada) would eliminate radioactive waste from isotope production. • Thirdly, as outlined above, the majority of waste requiring long term disposal is not medically related at all. ANSTO emphasizes “only 40% of low level radioactive waste” arises from its activities. But ANSTO does not just make medical isotopes; it also produces isotopes for industrial research activities , manufacture of semiconductors and analysis of minerals and samples2 . The contribution to waste production of medical radiopharmaceuticals has been overstated.
Although 61% of Intermediate level waste is ANSTO related, this is only 5.8% of the total waste for the repository. Furthermore, this does not include the returning reprocessed spent fuel, since ANSTO does not classify spent fuel waste. And again it would be highly misleading to attribute this predominantly to medical isotope production given the broad range of uses of the HIFAR and MOATA reactors over the last 60 years……… https://www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/Radioactive%20waste%20in%20Australia%20colour%20FINAL.pdf https://www.mapw.org.au/download/radioactive-waste-australia-fact-sheet-2016

January 18, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, New South Wales, reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment