Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

A Maralinga nuclear veteran’s grim story

Maralinga nuclear bomb test survivor reveals truth of what happened in the SA desert  https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/east-hills/maralinga-nuclear-bomb-test-survivor-reveals-truth-of-what-happened-in-the-sa-desert/news-story/697b17f6d3427a78aa0262b09727c169, 24 Apr 19

The nuclear bomb tests, under British Government control, at Maralinga in far west South Australia in the 1950s were conducted at the highest level of secrecy. But they had thousands of witnesses. Most were Australian servicemen, innocently used as guinea pigs and exposed to deadly radiation. Craig Cook talks to a survivor, one of the last of a group of men who built the Maralinga camp as part of 23 Construction Squadron and watched in awe as the bombs were exploded, little knowing they were risking their lives and the futures of their children.

Tony Spruzen knew the drill at the top secret Maralinga facility in the South Australian desert in the spring of 1956.

Just like hundreds of others at the nuclear site at 11-mile camp during Operation Buffalo, he was told to turn his back and cover his eyes to protect himself from the gigantic glare of the exploding atomic bomb.

What they didn’t tell the Australian Army sapper was, at the moment of the flash of detonation, he would see the bones of his hand through his tightly shut eyelids.

“It was like a massive x-ray,” Tony, 83, from Glengowrie says. ‘Unlike anything I’d ever known before.”

A week after One Tree, on October 6, 1956, Spruzen witnessed the detonation of Buffalo 2, named Marcoo.

The bomb was only a tenth the size of One Tree but this time was detonated directly above and just under the ground.

“The bomb was in an amphitheatre of hills and we were far closer to that one, maybe only 200 yards away,” he remembers.

“We were close enough to see the trenches with dummy soldiers in them holding rifles and fake aeroplanes and tanks used to test the blast effect.

“And we could see the scientists walking around in their white suits checking out the site before and afterwards but we were just in khaki shorts and short sleeved shorts. Even the dignitaries had no protection.”

Every hour, from five hours out, an elaborate PA system across the complex announced the timing of the bomb detonation.

In the final 30 seconds, and with a rising and excited inclination, the voice on the PA dramatically counted….ten, nine, eight…down to zero.

When Marcoo exploded at 7am it only took a few seconds for a heavy shower of dust to descend on the witnesses.

“We had this large piece of litmus paper attached to our shirts,” Spruzen recalls

Spruzen, originally from Victoria and a carpenter by trade, enlisted in the Army at just 16.

Four year later he was at Maralinga as part of a detachment of 23 Construction Squadron, an acclaimed unit of the Royal Australian Engineers and exclusively raised in South Australia.

Around 40 young men were selected from the unit to build a desert tent camp with cook houses and latrines for the Commonwealth military ‘high-ups’ who were having their first look at the impact of the devastating nuclear weapon.

Around 200km from the ocean, the tent city gained the facetious name of the ‘Sea View Holiday Camp’.

“It was an adventure…we were all excited,” he recalls.

“A lot of young single guys together and we had some fun.”

The lads knew it was serious too as this was a hush-hush operation. They weren’t even allowed to take a camera along for snapshots so Spruzen has no personal photos from Maralinga.

“Then we all turned around to see this mushroom cloud climbing into the sky. The next thing was the blast. The boom was deafening…and then the wind came about thirty seconds after that blowing dust and soil and debris all over us.”

But he does have a terrible reminder of his three months spent in far western South Australia.

“Of the 40 men who went up with me I only know of three of us still around,” he says. “The rest have all died – many from cancers.”

The first Maralinga bomb, Buffalo 1, with the nickname One Tree, was detonated after being dropped from a 31m high tower.

At 15 kiloton it was the same size as Little Boy, the bomb dropped by the US air force that demolished the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945, killing more than 100,000 instantly and tens of thousands slowly in the aftermath from burns and radiation poisoning.

“They said, keep an eye on that and if it changes to pink come and see us. Well it turned pink for every one of us.

“Had I have known what I know now I wouldn’t have been so close.”

Transferred to Sydney on a training course, Spruzen missed the final two detonations at Maralinga that year: on October 11, 1956, Buffalo 3 (Kite) was released by a Royal Air Force Vickers Valiant bomber, the first drop of a British nuclear weapon from an aircraft; and then on October 22, and again dropped from the 31m tower, (Buffalo 4) Breakaway exploded.

There were a total of seven nuclear desert tests at Maralinga performed during Operations Buffalo and Antler.

The 1985 McClelland Royal Commission heavily criticised the detonations, declaring the weather conditions were inappropriate and led to the widespread scattering of radioactive material.

The radioactive cloud from Buffalo 1 reached more than 11,000m into the air and with a northerly wind blowing radioactivity was detected across Adelaide.

Radioactive dust clouds from other bombs were detected in Northern Territory, Queensland and across New South Wales, as far away as Sydney, 2500km from Maralinga.

Around 12,000 Australian servicemen served at British nuclear test sites in the southern hemisphere between 1952 and 1963.

In recent years, the British Government’s claim that they never used humans “for guinea pig-type experiments” in nuclear weapons trials in Australia has been revealed to be a lie.

Tony Spruzen has struggled to come to terms with being placed in danger by his own government who had full knowledge of the consequences of exposure to radiation.

“Once we all found out later what we’d been exposed to at Maralinga it makes you very angry,” he says.

“We believed them when we were told we would be safe — but we haven’t been.”

Spruzen met his wife Shirley, the daughter of an army veteran, in Adelaide where they settled after marriage in June 1960. He left the army seven months later to work in civil construction. He thought his Maralinga days were well behind him but soon after they came to haunt him.

In the first four years of marriage, the couple agonisingly suffered six miscarriages, including twins.

Alarm bells started ringing when he was sent a survey from Veterans Affairs asking about his general health and, specifically his history of cancers.

“It turned out those involved in the atomic tests had a 30 per cent higher chance than getting cancers than the general public,” he says.

“Most of those got them within the first five years and a majority of those were dead before a decade had passed.”

Spruzen, who eventually had three children with Shirley, didn’t get cancer at that time, although he has since had several melanomas removed.

But when his son was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of 41, he wondered about the possibility of faulty genes, damaged by exposure to radiation, as has been documented in Japanese survivors of the atomic bombs, jumping a generation.

“My son was told by the QEH (Queen Elizabeth Hospital) there was nothing could be done for him but we went up to Queensland and after a bone marrow transfer from his sister he survived,” he adds.

“A decade on he’s working as strong as he has but I don’t think his condition was a coincidence given my history.

“There’s been nothing (compensation) for those of us who were there although they gave us a white card for our cancers and now we have a (full health) gold card.”

Ken Daly, President Royal Australian Engineers Association says it is the least the men, who literally put their bodies on the line, deserve.

“You get these young men, aged around 25-30, with a history of exposure to radiation, coming down with cancers in those numbers and you just know what has caused it,” he says.

“Many died within a few years of being exposed to the fallout and many passed on generational health problems and birth defects to their children.”

Mr Daly, who was based at Warradale Barracks for 15 years, where 23 Construction was based until being disbanded in the early 1960s, hadn’t heard of the Squadron until around five years ago.

Since then he has been central to the group gaining due recognition.

In its earliest days the Squadron, with a strength of eight officers and 160 in other ranks, built the El Alamein Army Reserve camp, part of which later became the Baxter Detention Centre, outside of Port Augusta.

It also assisted the South Australian community by providing aid during bush fires, the grasshopper plague of 1955, and significant infrastructure construction.

During the record flood of 1956, while those squad members were at Maralinga, the rest of 23 Construction were out sandbagging River Murray towns and then cleaning up after the water receded.

In 2011, the Royal Australian Engineers constructed a memorial at Warradale to all who have served in its ranks.

This year a bronzed engineer’s slouch hat, of actual size, by Western Australian sculptor and former army engineer Ron Gomboc will be incorporated into the memorial.

“The hat will be mounted on the memorial in such a way it will look like it’s suspended in mid-air,” Daly adds.

“It acknowledges the ultimate sacrifice of the more than 1250 engineers who died in World War I and the remarkable service and sacrifice of 23 Construction Squadron that has never been recognised before.”

The slouch hat, costing $6,000 and one of only six to have been cast, will be unveiled during a service at Warradale Barracks at midday on Sunday April 28.

Contact Ken Daly at dailydouble@bigpond.com for further details.

Subscriber only https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/east-hills/maralinga-nuclear-bomb-test-survivor-reveals-truth-of-what-happened-in-the-sa-desert/news-story/697b17f6d3427a78aa0262b09727c169

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April 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, personal stories, reference, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The health dangers from climate change – catching Australia unprepared

Australia’s health system unprepared for climate change, experts warn, New Daily, 15 Apr 19, Australia is unprepared for coming health emergencies caused by global warming disasters, public health experts have warned.

From floods to heatwaves, droughts, cyclones and bushfires, the “frequency, intensity, and duration” of natural disasters in Australia is increasing, and our health systems are struggling to cope, three leading public health experts said.

While Australia is geophysically stable and protected “to some extent” from “catastrophic events” such as earthquakes and tsunamis, we are vulnerable to “climate-related disasters and emergencies”, the researchers wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday.

Titled Resilient health systems: preparing for climate disasters and other emergencies, the article was co-authored by Queensland University of Technology professor of Public Health Gerard FitzGerald, University of Sydney’s Professor Anthony Capon and Queensland Health Disaster Management Unit’s Dr Peter Aitken.

Australia must prepare its health systems for climate-related disasters and emergencies by adopting a “comprehensive whole-of-system approach” integrating “all elements of population health and health care”, from preparedness to response and recovery, they said. ……

The warning follows the release of a landmark report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate in October, which found that some of the most dire consequences of global warming will occur earlier than predicted, with time running out to avoid the most catastrophic effects…….

Across Australia, two-thirds of the population will be vulnerable to infection for eight months of the year, while the top end of the country will be vulnerable to infection 12 months a year, the study found.

Climate change an economic and national security risk…… https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/04/15/australia-health-system-climate-change/

 

April 18, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, health | Leave a comment

Independent report found ANSTO’s health staff lacking in knowledge about radiation exposure

Kazzi Jai  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA

“In addition, based on interviews with ANSTO Health staff working in high hazard areas, the majority of staff did not understand the various health effects of radiation exposures, this being appropriate to individual duties with respect to the hazardous areas in which they work. This is believed by the reviewers to put at risk the ability to verify all persons
performing high risk activities are fully competent to do so. More importantly, this puts the individual at risk.”
– (excerpt from page 7) “INDEPENDENT SAFETY REVIEW OF THE ANSTO HEALTH APPROACH TO OCCUPATIONAL RADIATION SAFETY AND OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES”
OCTOBER 2018

On 5 October 2018, following a direction from ARPANSA’s CEO Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) provided ARPANSA with a report produced by an independent expert review team outlining 85 recommendations to improve ANSTO’s occupational radiation safety processes and operational procedures.
Dr Larsson issued the direction to initiate an independent review on 29 June 2018 under section 41(1A) of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the Act) following four separate events with safety implications at ANSTO Health in less than 10 months.

https://www.arpansa.gov.au/sites/g/files/net3086/f/independent_review_of_ansto_health.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2xPg2bd2radOa8-vobBySWY_kHUrKR3_FuVoKIo8IbrtNzRvwmg9UJl-U

 

Seems this report was somewhat “buried” in ANSTO’s bright new webpages..….but I got mine from ARPANSA’s webpage instead, since they are the regulator.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

March 23, 2019 Posted by | health, New South Wales, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia already has cyclotrons, producing medical isotopes with no need for nuclear power

Kazzi Jai   Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 12 Nov 18 
So often we are focused on things when forget to take a step back and reassess the situation……

Hands up those people who know of ANSTO’s Synchotron in Melbourne, which they write is a “major research facility” and “one of the Australia’s most significant pieces of scientific infrastructure”. ANSTO took over operation in 2013. It began operation in 2007 funded by Victorian Government.
According to their blurb…”The Australian Synchrotron produces powerful beams of light that are used at individual experimental facilities to examine the molecular and atomic details of a wide range of materials. The advanced techniques are applied to research in many important areas including health and medical, food, environment, biotechnology, nanotechnology, energy, mining, agriculture, advanced materials and cultural heritage”….

Or ANSTO’s National Research Cyclotron (2011) in Sydney.

Or the MRI-Linac at the Ingham Insitute’s research bunker within South West Sydney’s Cancer Therapy Centre at Liverpool Hospital – patient trials mid 2018.

Or that NT is getting a PET and Cyclotron after much lobbying at the last Federal Election….PET this year – cyclotron next year.

Of course, Adelaide has its own cyclotron in the SAHMRI building operating since 2015, combined with patient imaging through partnership with a private imaging company housed in the same building.

Also remember cyclotrons can produce a variety of different isotopes for diagnostic imaging that are used in medicine – it is not just Tc-99m isotope production….

The world is a-changing…….

For completeness I should mention the other cyclotrons currently in use in Australian hospitals. They are located at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (NSW), Austin Health & Medical Imaging Australia & Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute (VIC), Royal Brisbane Hospital and Wesley Hospital (QLD) and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (WA).  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

November 12, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Genetic effects of nuclear testing in Australia in the 1950s and 60s

UK to probe poisonous genetic legacy of nuclear test ‘guinea pigs’ SMH, By Nick Miller, 19 October 2018 London: The UK government is considering a new study into the health of the children of British veterans used as guinea pigs in its Australian and Pacific nuclear weapons tests, to test fears of a poisonous genetic legacy.

If a link can be found it may form the basis of a claim for compensation from the UK government, despite courts previously turning down such claims from the veterans themselves.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has told officials in the Ministry of Defence to look at the feasibility of a study into the health and well-being of the children of nuclear test veterans, an MOD spokesman said.

Decades ago, around 22,000 British military personnel witnessed nuclear weapons tests in South Australia, on the Montebello Islands off Western Australia, and on Kiribati’s Christmas Island in the Pacific.

Some felt the heat of the explosion on their backs and were ordered to turn around and observe the mushroom cloud. One veteran told the BBC in February the tests “bowled people over” and left them on the ground screaming. He had watched “another sun hanging in the sky”, dressed only in a t-shirt, shorts and thongs.

“We were guinea pigs,” Bob Fleming, 83, said. He said 16 of his 21 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had birth defects or health problems: his youngest daughter has thyroid problems and severe breathing difficulties.

The family believe it is a result of the radiation Mr Fleming was exposed to during the test.

Another veteran, RAF sergeant Roy Kirkland, slept a half a mile from Ground Zero and was ordered to collect dead seabirds from the Christmas Island test site.

His grandson, Wayne, was diagnosed with cancer of the nervous system at age three and died before he was 10. Wayne’s aunt told the Daily Mirror “the biggest health issue for these veterans now is their descendants”.

The new feasibility study follows a campaign by the Mirrorand Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, who have been pushing for recognition and compensation for the veterans who were exposed to radiation during the tests in the region between 1952 and 1967 – and their families.

In 2007 a study of New Zealand nuclear test veteransfound they had more than double the expected amount of genetic damage for men of the same age – even higher than that detected in workers close to the Chernobyl nuclear accident or involved in the clean-up.

The study by researchers from Massey University found the genetic damage was most likely attributable to the veterans having been on board NZ navy frigates observing nuclear tests at Christmas Island.

Britain’s Health Protection Agency reviewed the Massey research and agreed with their conclusions. Earlier this year the UK’s Centre for Health Effects of Radiological and Chemical Agents at Brunel University in London announced a three-year genetic study looking for any possible damage to the veterans’ DNA caused by the tests.

In 2014 a study by European researchers found a “significant excess” of infant mortality and congenital illnesses in nuclear test veterans’ children. The veterans’ wives had five times as many stillbirths, and 57 children of veterans had congenital conditions – ten times the rate in the control group and eight times the national average. There were also significantly higher congenital illnesses – and cancer – among the veterans’ grandchildren. The researchers said their results were “highly statistically significant”. …….. https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/uk-to-probe-poisonous-genetic-legacy-of-nuclear-test-guinea-pigs-20181019-p50alz.html

October 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation to continue legal fight over proposed nuclear waste dump

Kimba District Council, 28 Sept 18 : The Australian Human Rights Commission has today formally terminated conciliation between the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation and the District Council of Kimba. The matter is now likely to proceed through a judicial process. In the meantime, the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility site selection ballot will not be undertaken until the matter is resolved.

A spokesperson for Council said that during the conciliation, alternative options for resolution were put to BDAC by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, but were not accepted. For this reason, the outcome is disappointing, but Council remains committed to facilitating a forum on behalf of the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia that ensures the Kimba community has an opportunity to be heard on the issue.

Given the matter is still before the court, Council will be making no further comment, but will keep the community informed as the situation develops.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, health | Leave a comment

Morrison government ignores climate change, and so imperils the health of Australians

September 12, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, health, politics | Leave a comment

Australia could set up a network of cyclotrons to produce medical isotopes

Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 8 Sept 18

I  think it is time for politicians to start demanding a look at a network of Cyclotrons for producing our isotopes – not only for reliability but to stop the production of unnecessary nuclear waste.

“Nuclear medicine crisis drags on despite ‘fix’” – Australian, 7 Sept 2018
“Australia’s supply of nuclear medicine generators needed for crucial diagnostic tests remains disrupted almost three months after a conveyor belt breakdown.” … “Amid doubts over the ability of ANSTO to satisfy demand, nuclear medicine expert Geoff Currie last night hit out at the “unexpectedly lengthy crisis” that appeared likely to continue into next month. ……”

(Note: Geoff Currie in his twitter feed strongly advocates for nuclear power, denigrates renewables and often retweets Shellenberger and Heard. I think Australia needs to find nuclear medicine experts willing to learn from Canada’s amazing progress in Cyclotron research.) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

September 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Queensland’s nuclear medicine from cyclotron produced at the hospital, leaving no nuclear waste problem

Cancer care in Queensland relies on nuclear medicine made in this concrete bunker http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-03/nuclear-medicine-concrete-bunker-central-to-states-cancer-care/9920624  ABC Radio Brisbane By Hailey Renault

Staff at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital’s nuclear medicine department get to work in the morning around the same time as a baker starts serving up hot bread.

But instead of kneading dough and priming ovens, the labcoat-clad workers manufacture medicines that diagnose and treat cancer.

It’s a delicate operation with rigorous quality control and testing protocols that start deep in the bowels of the hospital behind several layers of thick concrete.

A vault with walls more than a metre thick houses a particle accelerator called a cyclotron.

“It creates a proton beam which bombards oxygen-18 water and turns it into fluorine-18. That’s what we attach to those pharmaceuticals,” Dr Marissa Bartlett, manager of the Radiopharmaceutical Centre of Excellence, said.

The cyclotron is switched on at 4:00am every day to make a new batch of radiopharmaceuticals for lifesaving treatments and therapies.

“We make products that are taken up by cancer cells, so when a patient goes under the [PET] scanner the doctors can see pictures and images of where the cancer cells are,” Dr Bartlett told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Katherine Feeney.

“One of the therapies some patients who have cancer can have is a radionuclide therapy, which goes to the cancer cells and uses radiation to kill those cells.”

There’s no hazmat suits in sight — they’re not needed in a lab largely devoid of dangerous chemicals — but Dr Bartlett said lab workers were protected from radiation by a series of lead, lead-glass and concrete shields.

“When the cyclotron is on it generates very large amounts of radiation so it would be extremely dangerous to be anywhere near it when it’s on,” she said.

“In order to have it on campus we have it inside a concrete room. The walls of that room are thicker than I am tall.”

Medicines go direct to patients

Even though Dr Bartlett described the nuclear medicine department as an “obscure little branch” of hospital operations, many Queenslanders would come into contact with the radiopharmaceuticals it produced.

The Cancer Council of Queensland estimates nearly 27,000 people receive a cancer diagnosis each year.

“One of the things that makes this an amazing place to work is that you literally walk past the patients to get to the lab,” Dr Bartlett said.

“They might get news they really don’t want or maybe they’re coming back to see how their cancer is progressing or responding to treatment.

“We’re very aware of the patients who are lining up every day to get the products we make.”

And what happens to any radioactive materials that aren’t used?

“Everything we make has a very short half-life, so we basically store it until it decays away,” Dr Bartlett said.

“Then it’s completely cold and you wouldn’t know that it had been radioactive.”

July 6, 2018 Posted by | health, Queensland, technology | Leave a comment

Australia’s Maralinga Nuclear Veterans unrecognised – (Government strategy – wait for them all to die?)

Maralinga nuke test crusader Avon Hudson’s plea for the Australian Nuclear Veterans’ Association getting lonelierTory Shepherd, State Editor, Sunday Mail (SA) June 9, 2018  https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/maralinganuke-test-crusader-avon-hudsons-plea-for-the-australian-nuclear-veterans-association-getting-lonlier/news-story/3a88136d594912f0aa8a12b59b218649

AVON Hudson is still fighting – but his crusade is becoming lonelier.

The Australian Nuclear Veterans’ Association founder has fought for the rights of those exposed to deadly radiation at Maralinga in the 1950s and ’60s.

But the association is crumbling since so many of the survivors of those long-ago explosions have died.

“We had so few members we couldn’t keep going. The members all died,” Mr Hudson, of Balaklava, says.

Describing himself as an OBE – “Over bloody eighty” – Mr Hudson is worried they will all be gone before an apology is offered for what they endured in the British nuclear test program. He reckons there are about 1500 veterans left – but no one really knows.

He wants proper compensation but, more than anything, he wants recognition that the government of the time put them, and their as-yet-unborn children, in danger.

From 1952 to 1963, men in flimsy clothing – such as shorts and singlets – watched mushroom clouds bloom as the British carried out nuclear bomb tests at three sites in Australia. They were military personnel or civilians with little or no idea what radiation could do to them.

Since then, many have suffered cancers and disabilities, and their children have had deformities. There have also been reports of early deaths and high numbers of stillbirths.

Maralinga’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara people were hit by the fallout. They saw a black mist floating across the desert, blocking the sun. Then people started to get sick.

Britain wanted to develop a nuclear capacity, and Australia’s vast outback was the place to test the weapons. The UK’s then prime minister Winston Churchill struck a secret deal with Australia’s prime minister Robert Menzies, who wanted to keep Britain happy.

They called it Project Hurricane, and it started on October 3, 1952.

There were minor trials and major tests.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency describes the detonations setting off a large fireball.  “Everything inside of this fireball vaporises and is carried upward creating a mushroom-shaped cloud,” ARPANSA says. “The material in the cloud cools into dust-like particles and drops back to the earth as radioactive fallout. This radioactive fallout is carried by the wind very long distances away from the site of the explosion.”

Mr Hudson, who worked at Maralinga while in the air force, has had cancer treatments and other health issues.

He is furious that the Government has spent millions on war memorials like the $100 million Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux in France.

“They spend $100 million on the dead but can’t even look after the living,” he said.

“It’s too late for the dead – they’ve got no more pain and suffering like we have.

“Why have we been sidelined? Aren’t we entitled to some compensation?”

Since the tests, there have been decades of court cases here and in the United Kingdom, but all legal avenues are now exhausted and the veterans’ hopes are pinned on the Government.

Last year’s Budget included $133 million for survivors exposed to radiation and they can now get Medicare gold cards – but that has come too late for many.

Part of the problem is the difficulty in ascribing a specific cancer to a specific incident. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has previously said there is “no significant danger of ongoing health effects for the descendants of participants”, although some research has shown an elevated risk.

The department said there had been “decades-long controversies” over compensation. In a recent Senate estimates hearing, SA Labor senator Alex Gallacher asked if the department was considering further support.

“No,” DVA spokeswoman Lisa Foreman said. “We’re focusing on making known that the gold card is available to those veterans.”

Senator Gallacher asked if they knew how many veterans were still alive. They didn’t.

He then asked if they were tracking deformities or illnesses in the descendants of veterans. They are not.

Meanwhile, Mr Hudson vows to fight on as long as he is able.

“I will not go quietly, I’ll give them hell. They deserve it,” he said.

June 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What is electromagnetic radiation? and how safe is it?

Why does this article not mention the difference in vulnerability between children and adults?

What is mobile phone radiation and how safe is it? ABC Science,By science reporter Belinda Smith

“…. What is electromagnetic radiation?

We are surrounded by all sorts of different types of electromagnetic radiation every day: your eyes pick up visible light, your bag is scanned by X-rays at airport security, microwaves heat your lunch and too much ultraviolet light gives you sunburn.

At its essence, electromagnetic radiation is energy comprising an electric field and magnetic field, which travel together, but perpendicularly, in waves.

Sometimes the length of these waves (or wavelength) is very short — a few nanometres for X-rays — while others are much longer — a few centimetres up to kilometres.

It’s these long wavelengths, called radio waves, that are the electromagnetic radiation of choice for mobile phones and base stations.

Unlike shorter wavelengths, such as visible light, radio waves can pass through walls. The longer the wavelength, the better it can penetrate solid stuff.

Another term you might see is frequency, which is the number of times a wave makes a full oscillation each second.

Frequency and wavelength are closely related. Wavelength is the speed of light divided by the frequency, so long wavelengths also have low frequency.

What are ionising and non-ionising radiation?

The radio frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum is home to what’s known as “non-ionising radiation”, said Rodney Croft, from the University of Wollongong and director of the Australian Centre of Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research.

It’s the high-frequency, short wavelength radiation, such as X-rays, that can tinker with your DNA and are linked to cancer.

These waves are small enough and carry enough energy to knock electrons off atoms, ionising them.

Radio frequency used in mobile communications simply doesn’t have the energy to do that. But that’s not to say it doesn’t exert any effects on the matter it travels through.

“It’s an oscillating wave, which swings between positive and negative,” Professor Croft said

“If you have a bunch of molecules rotating, that causes friction, and energy is given off as heat. It’s how a microwave oven works.”

Does anyone regulate radio frequency limits?

In Australia, mobile phone and base station exposure limits are set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The ARPANSA standard looks at how much energy a user absorbs from a mobile phone over time.

The maximum limit is currently 2 watts per kilogram of tissue. Phone manufacturers usually specify their maximum absorption rate in their manual.

You can find how much radio frequency is emitted by base stations at the Radio Frequency National Site Archive.

According to ARPANSA, it’s “typically hundreds of times below the [ARPANSA] limits”.

What are the effects of mobile radio frequency on tissues?

So are we microwaving our head whenever we answer the phone? A tiny bit, but not enough to be worried about, Professor Croft said.

He and his team found mobile phone radiation exposure increases the temperature of the outer grey, wrinkled layer of the brain called the cortex, but it’s only “maybe about 0.1 degree, which is very small compared to the temperature variation the body normally has to contend with”, he said.

“We do find that we get a slight change to thermoregulation, so the body, even with that small change, is sending a bit more blood out to the periphery to cool it, so your body doesn’t end up warming up.”

……...What about cancer in rodents?

Mobile phones are classed as “possibly carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, putting them in the same category as aloe vera, bracken fern and Asian pickled vegetables.

And while radio frequency is non-ionising radiation — remember, it can’t knock electrons off atoms, fiddle with genetic material and trigger tumour growth like ionising radiation can — studies still investigate possible links.

Research published in February this year by the US National Toxicology Program found tumours grew in the nerves around the heart of male rats if they were bathed in extremely high levels of mobile radiation.

But, Professor Croft said, “there were so many difficulties with that study.

………Risks and benefits

Despite research showing no link between safe levels of radio frequency and cancer, telecommunications companies and other organisations do offer suggestions if you want to reduce exposure.

The obvious action, Dr Halgamuge said, is to limit mobile phone use: “You have no control over base stations, because that radiation is around you all the time, but you do have control over your mobile phone.”

The ARPANSA also recommends using hands-free or texting instead of calling, “but none of those things are actually based on any health effects”, Professor Croft said.

………So: does radio frequency have any effect on human tissue, apart from heating it a fraction of a degree?

That question is still open, Professor Wood said.

“Even though some of the evidence [that radio frequency causes damage] on the face of it looks quite compelling, there’s still a question of consistency…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-04-30/mobile-phone-radiation-health-explainer-biophysics/9702630

 

May 4, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

South Australia Health now dealing with infectious disease threats increased due to climate change

Disease threat forces SA Health to prioritise adapting to climate change

HEALTH threats from extreme weather events and diseases spread by mosquitoes have prompted SA Health to prioritise adapting to climate change in a new blueprint. http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/disease-threat-forces-sa-health-to-prioritise-adapting-to-climate-change/news-story/fc734296a4580dda2c60320f8e8ac463#.ajdi8  Matt Smith

Chief medical officer Paddy Phillips has told The Advertiser the frequency and severity of heatwaves and bushfires, and the increased risk of the spread of disease by insects and bugs, meant climate change threatened the wellbeing of South Australians.

His warning comes as SA Health released its draft State Public Health Plan for the period from 2019-2024. Professor Phillips said multiple government agencies needed to consider the impact of climate change when developing policies and strategies to manage and prevent public health risks.It should also be front of mind when agencies assessed the suitability of health infrastructure and assets.

“Variations in our climate have increased the frequency and severity of weather events such as floods, droughts, bushfires, storms (and) periods of extreme heat, as well as the spread of vector-borne diseases,” Prof Phillips said.

“These events threaten the wellbeing of our communities, especially in vulnerable populations.”

Increases in diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, sandflies, triatomine bugs, blackflies, ticks, tsetse flies, mites, snails and lice have in recent years been linked to climate change on Australia’s east coast.

The draft report, that has been published for public consultation, lists four priorities:

CREATE healthier neighbourhoods and communities.

PROTECT against public and environmental health risks and adapt to climate change.

PREVENT chronic disease, communicable disease and injury.

FURTHER develop and maintain the statewide public health system.

Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade said he would review the plan, which was drawn up on the watch of the former Labor state government, to determine if any additional issues needed to be addressed. Mr Wade welcomed the inclusion of climate change as a priority. “It is prudent for public health plans to consider the impact of climate change,” he said.

SA Greens leader Mark Parnell said a suite of measures, including better town planning and the design of individual homes to be more resilient to changing climatic conditions, was needed.

That would help South Australia adapt to the challenge of climate change.

“We know that with a hotter climate comes more health problems including increased hospitalisations and premature deaths from increasing heatwaves,” he said.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, health, South Australia | Leave a comment

Time to close the unnecessary Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, now that bushfires are contained ?

With the prospect of more bursts of extreme weather in the future, yet another danger of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor is apparent.

Meanwhile, other countries are turning to the safer and far more practical methods of producing medical radioisotopes.  (After all, the  tax-payer funded Australian National Science and Nuclear Technology Organisation ANSTO  claims that the only purpose of the reactor is medical) . Map above shows Canada’s network for production and distribution of the most important medical radioisotope, Technetium-99m , as well s as others.

Bushfire now contained   About 200 firefighters worked on Tuesday at Holsworthy and Barden Ridge backburning and creating containment lines.

By 6:30pm, the Holsworthy bushfire was considered contained, Mr Garlick said.

“Over the next few days our crews have a lot of hard work ahead of them mopping up and extinguishing all the hotspots within the containment lines of this fire,” he said.

“As these days continue, we are expecting milder conditions which will ease that threat, but residents should monitor those conditions and take advice from firefighters on the ground and through our website.”

As a result of backburning operations, some smoke would continue to remain in the Sydney area, potentially even as far as the Blue Mountains.more https://tinyurl.com/yaky4nqf

April 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, politics | Leave a comment

Children especially, need protection from increasing UV radiation

Going to extremes: UV radiation is on the way up, https://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/going-to-extremes-uv-radiation-is-on-the-way-up-20180308-p4z3cp.htmlSMH, Nigel Gladstone 

The combination of a thinning ozone layer and farming practices in India may add up to more days of extreme ultraviolet radiation across Australia.

Sun-Herald analysis of daily UV index readings since 1997 in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane found the number of days when ultraviolet radiation reached or passed extreme levels had risen slightly.

The amount of UV that hits Australia is influenced by fluctuations in cloud cover, ozone levels and the solar cycle.

In Sydney, four of the 10 highest UV index days since 1996 have been recorded since December 2016.  While the ozone layer is recovering over the poles, it is thinning in mid-latitudes from Russia to the Southern Ocean below Australia, a study published last month in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics found.

“Decreases in ozone are less than we saw at the poles before the Montreal Protocol was enacted [in 1987], but UV radiation is more intense in these regions and more people live there,” said report co-author Joanna Haigh, from Imperial College London.

The weather bureau studied UV radiation in Australia between 1959 and 2009 and found an annual increase of 2 to 6 per cent since the 1990s, above a 1970-80 baseline. The bureau found these changes were related to ozone depletion.

Associate Professor Clare Murphy, from the school of chemistry at Wollongong University, said ozone trends were not fully understood.

“The largest factor involved in mid-latitude ozone depletion is the nitrogen cycle, which operates by nitrous oxide turning into reactive nitrogen in the stratosphere,” Dr Murphy said.

Nitrogen fertiliser is converted into nitrous oxide by soil microbes, creating a stable greenhouse gas that can reach the stratosphere, where the ozone layer protects the earth from most of the sun’s UV radiation,” she said. “However, once in the stratosphere, nitrous oxide is broken down by high energy radiation from the sun to become reactive nitrogen, which can deplete ozone.”

Dr Murphy said that last century, concerns about ozone depletion centred on “chlorine chemistry” (CFCs) because of the massive hole over the poles. “Now it’s nitrous oxide, which almost stopped the Concord from flying because they were worried about reactive nitrogen in the stratosphere.”

Nitrous oxide damage to ozone is ubiquitous, whereas damage from CFCs creates a hole during extreme weather years over the Antarctic, Dr Murphy said.

Nitrous oxide was identified as the most damaging substance to the ozone layer in the 21st century by a 2009 study published in Science. That study also suggested one of the best ways to address the problem was to give insurance to Indian farmers.

“In India, particularly, they’re putting in 10 times more nitrogen fertiliser on their crops than they need to because if a crop fails they may starve,” Dr Murphy said. “Insurance could pick up the loss.”

Robin Schofield, director of Melbourne University’s environmental science hub, said UV in Australia should be trending downwards because factors such as surface ozone, which is contained in smog, is on the rise and there is evidence of a recovery of stratospheric ozone.

The UV Index and skin cancer

The UV index relates to the intensity of sunburn-producing UV radiation. Sun protection is recommended when the UV Index is above 3 in clear sky conditions. The higher the number, the more severe.

11+ = Extreme. Avoid sun exposure between 10am and 4pm due to extreme risk of harm.

8-10 = Very High. Unprotected skin and eyes may be damaged and can burn quickly.

6-7 = High. Protection against skin and eye damage is needed. Reduce time in the sun between 10am and 4pm.

3-5 = Moderate. Stay in the shade near midday when the sun is strongest. Moderate risk of harm.

1-2 = Low. There is a low danger from the sun’s UV rays for the average person.

Note: UV intensity can nearly double with reflection from snow or reflective surfaces such as water, sand and concrete.

Heather Walker, Cancer Council Australia’s skin cancer committee chair, said UV is the most common cause of skin cancer but the council has not seen any evidence of a trend of more extreme or high UV days.

“Queensland is the skin cancer capital of Australia and they get more UV all year round,” Ms Walker said. “Skin cancer rates continue to rise but look like they may be stabilising over the next few years in all age groups except for the under 40s.”

The continued high rate of skin cancer in Australia is partly due to the ageing population, because cancer is a disease of ageing, Ms Walker said.

Brisbane average monthly maximum UV index.
Brisbane average monthly maximum UV index.

Photo: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

But skin cancer rates are falling for people under 40, she said, because they have had the benefit of Sunsmart messages [slip, slop, slap, seek shade and slide on sunglasses], which started in the 1980s.

“This is a message we need to keep reinforcing, because as it was put to me: ‘you don’t tell your children to brush their teeth once and expect them to do it for the rest of their lives’.”

Because UV and heat are not related, people often get sunburnt when there is no sun.

“The heat will rise and continue to rise in the afternoon, whereas UV is more of a bell curve shape that peaks in the middle of the day. And that’s why the advice is to avoid being outside in the middle of the day.

“Cool and cloudy days when the UV is high, that’s when people are most likely to be caught out because they don’t think they need sun protection.”

March 25, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Group of Montebello nuclear test veterans have no medical insurance, not entitled to gold card

Montebello nuclear testing veterans exposed to radiation vent anger over gold card refusal http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-15/nuclear-testing-veterans-hold-protest-at-wa-parliament/9551658 By: Jacob Kagi 

March 17, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, personal stories, weapons and war | Leave a comment