Friday, January 11, 2013

US National Cancer Institute I-131 Thyroid Dose Calculator for Nevada Test Site Fallout

For readers in the US who were born before 1971, there is an online calculator available from the National Cancer Institute to assess your radioactive iodine (I-131) exposure (thyroid dose equivalent) from nuclear tests in Nevada:

I-131 Thyroid Dose/Risk Calculator for Nevada Test Site (NTS) Fallout

You input gender, date of birth (month, year), state, county, and primary type of milk you drank. The number may surprise.

NCI has reports on I-131, here.

State and county level exposures in an interactive map (which wasn't working when I checked), here. The maximum exposure was 16 rad (thyroid dose equivalent), which is 160 milligray which is 160 millisieverts. That is rather high.

I got the links to the site from a tweet by a young nuclear researcher in Japan I follow on Twitter. He said in a later tweet, "It would have been very nice if Fukushima Prefecture's system to estimate the radiation exposure had been available for the residents to run the calculation like this." I can't agree with him more.

Instead in Japan, the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS), a government agency, built a proprietary system based on the questionnaires from the Fukushima residents (low response rate), and came up with model cases. (For details, see this PDF, in Japanese.) I don't think the residents who submitted the questionnaires have received any individualized estimate, but I could be wrong.

In nuclear testing in Nevada by the US government, soldiers were made to watch without any shielding.

The US Department of Defense has a website to assist ex-soldiers file a claim if they think they were exposed to ionizing radiation.

The recent study "Childhood Thyroid Radioiodine Exposure and Subsequent Infertility in the Intermountain Fallout Cohort" by University of Utah Department of Family and Preventive Medicine considers up to 1,245.5 milligray exposure. (PDF file of the paper is here.)


Anonymous said...

WATCH a nuclear test..without protection. Now why in the world? What does this prove except a few photos look impressive? The dangers of radiation were known..what was there to gain or prove? And do you cure...??? Guess thats a silly question..ignore and takes years and no way to prove the silent killer, radiation did it!

Anonymous said...

One thing to keep in mind is this calculator wasn't available until decades after the fact and it is based on government data. When this information was needed most it was hidden from the public behind a top secret veil of lies. In addition there is proof that not unlike Fukushima the people in charge of the NTS regularly fudged exposure/release numbers in order to continue their "vital" work unhindered. The Eastman Kodak company's film division was detecting high levels of test fallout that was ruining their film. The government didn't want people to know detectable levels of fallout were traveling all the way to New York state after each test. The government agreed to warn Kodak about future tests as long as they kept this information secret.

" Scientist Pat Ortmeyer wrote in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists,

While the public was not warned to refrain from milk consumption and was continually reassured that fallout posed no danger, the AEC was providing advance notice, including "forecasts of contaminated areas based on meteorological data" ... but only to the National Association of Photographic Manufacturers. Why them and them alone? So that they could "anticipate local contamination and take preventive action" to protect photographic film from being ruined by radiation exposure. (The warning to the photographic industry began in 1951 -- the first year of testing in Nevada -- as a result of the Eastman Kodak Company's threat to sue the AEC over damaged film from nuclear fallout. The warnings continued throughout the atmospheric testing program but were not extended to the public at large.)"

Anonymous said...

Apparently most people reading this article are too young to know that the prevailing thought in the 1950s was that WW III was inevitable and would likely be nuclear. Short term radiation effects were known but little was known about the long term cancer effects. As a consequence, short term nuclear war preparation superseded any long term health concerns.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed that the radiation miraculously stops right at the border to Canada.... yes I know, it's only the map that ends there, but it's not hard to guess how many dark red areas would be there...

Anonymous said...

@anon 9:04

I am quite old enough to know what the AEC knew and when they knew it. Radiation wasn't new nor were it's dangers early X-ray pioneers were known to die from exposure as did Madame Curie and she didn't die the day of exposure the same went for Uranium miners for centuries. Thomas Edison renounced all research into X-rays after an employee died a horrible death 4 years after exposure.

"The fundamental design of Edison's fluoroscope is still in use today, although Edison himself abandoned the project after nearly losing his own eyesight and seriously injuring his assistant, Clarence Dally. Dally had made himself an enthusiastic human guinea pig for the fluoroscopy project and in the process been exposed to a poisonous dose of radiation. He later died of injuries related to the exposure. In 1903, a shaken Edison said "Don't talk to me about X-rays, I am afraid of them.""

Norris Brabury was instrumental in developing the continental proving grounds he was also notorious for governing by edict he had such contempt for lawyers he didn't allow them to live in his secret nuclear city. According to Dr. Shields Warren the director of The Atomic energy Commissions Division of Biology and Medicine they were excluded from civilian safety meetings. The AEC instead relied on Major General James P. Cooney an army Dr. who helped spearhead the creation of the NTS for safety advice.

Dr. Sheilds Warren was the main catalyst in the formation of the Atomic Bomb Causality Commission (ABCC) in 1947. He did this because he was concerned about the effects of radioactive contamination on humans. This is why he was excluded in the NTS decision making process the government knew there was a problem with fallout from day one this was reinforced during the Crossroads tests.

According to Dr. Shields Warren in 1953 it was well known that doctors who endured repeated low level exposures when administering x-rays died of leukemia at 9 times the rate of ordinary Americans. They also knew from the Trinity test that fallout doesn't deposit evenly weather condition can concentrate dangerous hotspots. They had also learned from the ABCC that radiation induced leukemia had a latency period of 3-4 years. All of this and more was known in 1953.

In 1953 Gordon Dunning was the AEC's top cover up man he was officially a low-level RAD Safe official. This man mystified his peers with his lack of qualifications to be involved in radiation safety. Dunnings first claim to fame was covering up 5000 dead sheep from the Upshot-Knothole series with claims of malnutrition and "toxic weeds" the Utah Health Dept. didn't accept this claim but they were pretty much told to stuff it.

Anonymous said...

@anon at 7 a.m.:
If you're wondering about the "why," I can suggest watching a 1982 documentary called "The Dark Circle." It's an anti-nuclear-power documentary that made quite a few waves in it's time and is still worth watching, imho.

In roughly the middle of segment 5/9, it starts leading up to the claim made in the beginning of segment 6/10 that humans were deliberately used as guinea pigs in the race to gain or maintain nuclear superiority during the cold war. Maybe that's the "why" you are looking for.

Anonymous said...

Here is a compilation of fallout maps

"From the beginning of America's continental nuclear test program in January 1951, the Atomic Energy Commission (which later become part of the Department of Energy) recorded the deposition of nuclear fallout in the continental United States. This information was classified secret until well after the above-ground nuclear testing ended. By 1983, when I began research for my book Under The Cloud, many of the trajectory maps had been declassified. Thus, we knew where the nuclear debris traveled, but not how much actually was deposited on the earth below.

In 1997, after 15 years of research, the National Cancer Intitute published a lengthy document that showed where one isotope of fallout--Iodine-131---was deposited. Unfortunately, this isotope comprises only 2 percent of all fallout. Still, from that information it was possible to determine where many of the 124 other fallout radioisotopes ended up. That was the subject for the original U.S. Fallout Atlas series as well as the new series of books listing regional fallout values by county.

Included here are links to maps showing fallout depositions in the United States as well as local fallout in the Northeast, the Midwest and the West Coast. These maps are part of a book project that will eventually include high-definition downloadable maps to be used in conjunction with the data found in our publications on nuclear fallout . All maps were prepared using Golden Software Mapviewer 5.0 and 6.0.

--R.Miller 11 Feb 2006 "

Anonymous said...

Let Them Drink Milk
By: Pat Ortmeyer and Arjun Makhijani
Article published as "Worse Than We Knew," for November/December 1997 issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

"On August 1, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) revealed that as a result of U.S. nuclear tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), American children were actually exposed to 15 to 70 times as much radiation as had been previously reported to Congress. As a result, many thousands of today's adults are at risk of developing thyroid cancer. "

Unknown said...

I have mentioned Dr. Linus Pauling's study backed up by the U.S. government on cancers from radioactive fallout during this 1950s'-1960s' testing at least a dozen times in print. That is Linus Pauling, phd. Winner of more medals and citations in the advancement of science and research than 99.9% of the world's top researchers. Why not mention his name and studies? Many are dying because his studies are swept under the rug by papa Bush(Bush41) and the U.S. criminal government.

Unknown said...

this looks like a declassified information in which the public wants to know even before a decade ago. i'm just wondering if their are still active members in the military today for those who are directly and indirectly involved?

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