News & Information on Nuclear Weapons,
Power, Waste & Nonviolent Resistance



Radiation is a daily fact of life. It is all around us. Since radiation is naturally occurring, there should be no need to be concerned about radiation. Right? Wrong.

While radiation is indeed a fact of life, there is no such thing as a "safe" dose of radiation exposure other than that which is in fact naturally occurring. Uranium exposed though the process of mining is not naturally occurring once it is removed from the ground.

Radiation is emitted when elements break down into simpler and more stable elements. It is also created as a byproduct when certain isotopes -- especially uranium and plutonium -- are split apart artificially in nuclear weapons and nuclear power reactors.

There are three primary forms of radiation. Alpha radiation is the least dangerous and damaging -- so long as material that's emitting alpha radiation isn't ingested. Alpha radiation travels slowly and is easily blocked by skin or clothing. Humans are harmed by alpha radiation only if they ingest the material -- for example, by eating an apple or other radioactively contaminated material or by having the contamination enter our blood stream via an open wound.

Beta radiation is a more serious threat to humans and other life forms. It has one hundred times the penetrating power of alpha radiation and is also far more ionizing (i.e., it changes the substance with which it comes into contact). It is still possible to stop beta radiation with simple measures such as aluminum foil, but still quite dangerous to the health and wellbeing of humans, especially if ingested.

Gamma radiation is by the far the most dangerous radiation. It penetrates deeply into surfaces and causes great damage very quickly, changing the structure (or killing) the cells with which it comes into contact. One need not worry about having to ingest a contaminated substance in order to be gravely harmed by gamma radiation.

So, when you hear someone say that radiation is all around us and therefore it is not necessary to worry about radiation -- ask them exactly what form of radiation they are talking about.

In addition to the type of radiation that is emitted, each radioactive substance has a half-life, the length of time it takes to decay into another element. All elements strive for stability and are constantly working towards becoming stable. Elements do this by shedding off neutrons or protons (or sometimes adding them), trying to find a balance in their existence. This process creates radiation -- energy-that radiates outward. Ultimately, even if it takes millions of years, the element becomes stable and stops decaying.

You can think of it as being a rubber ball bouncing on a floor. You throw the ball up into the air. Its highest level is its life. It then falls to the floor (decaying), hits the floor and bounces back up. Gravity being what it is, it bounces to exactly half the height it originally achieved -- that's the ball's half-life. It keeps doing this until it finally reaches the point where its bounce is either so minimal that it is unobservable or the ball comes to rest on the floor.

Through this whole process, the ball is sending out waves of air -- that's the radiation. Imagine that some waves of air are simply air molecules. They arrive at you and bounce off, with no damage done -- that's the alpha radiation. Some air waves though, carry small specks of sand with them. These specks hit you and you feel discomfort. Perhaps a few enter your eye and you feel pain and discomfort. Some might enter your mouth and, as they accumulate, begin to affect your ability to breath. This is the beta radiation reaching you.  And then there are the pebbles that are carried in the air waves. These strike your face and you begin to bleed. A few enter your mouth and block your air passage immediately, keeping you from breathing. This is the gamma radiation that is causing immediate damage when it touches you.

No matter how you cut it, radiation causes damage. Even when used for medical purposes, radiation causes damage (e.g., the use of radiation to treat cancer by destroying the cancerous cells). The mining of uranium and its use in the nuclear power and nuclear weapons industries (as well as in the manufacture of depleted uranium weapons) brings the radioactive substances to the surface, creates fissile materials, and exposes us, animals and other living things to radiation that otherwise would rightfully be buried and contained deep underground where it can do no harm.

Nukewatch Quarterly

Spring 2016

McClatchy: US Workers Died from Weapons Work
Continued on Page 4
Twin Reactors at Indian Point, 25 Miles from NYC, Leak Radioactive Water--Again
Triple Reactor Disaster: Fukushima Five Years On
"The most toxic war in history"--25 Years Later
"We are the Miner's Canary": Indigenous Groups Call for Clean Up of "Homegrown" Radioactive Polllution

Winter 2015-16

Fukushima Radiation Plume in Pacific Reaches West Coast
Child Cancer Cases Soar in Fukushima Contamination Zone
US Radiation Monitoring System Fails, is Turned Off
Truck Watch Finds Hot Spots in Unlikely Places
St. Louis Blues: As Fire Inches toward Dump Site and Cancer Numbers Rise, Community Groups Push for Resolution of Manhattan Project Contamination
Continued on Page 7

Fall 2015

Nukewatch Plans Truck Watch to Alert Public to Radioactive Transport Dangers
Continued on Page 2
Fukushima: Thousands Have Died, Thousands More Will Die
Japanese Baby Milk Formula Again Declared Unfit by China

Summer 2015

Chernobyl and the Fire Next Time
Fukushima Triple Reactor Disaster--A Crisis Without End
Radioactive Ship "Discovered" in National Marine Sanctuary
Is Fracking Wastewater More Radioactive Than Scientists Thought?

Spring 2015

Fire at Rio Tinto's Open Pit Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia; 1,000 Evacuated
Watching the Nuclear Watchdog: Government to Report on Cancer Risks Among Neighbors and Down-Winders Near US Nuclear Reactors
Chernobyl: How much radiation was released?
Fukushima's Cesium-137 Release Trumps Chernobyl's
WIPP'ed Energy Department Shirks Responsibility for Leak

Winter 2014-15

Coordinates Needed for Clean-up of Dangerous Sites in Iraq
Accidental Uranium Release at Honeywell Site in Illinois

Fall 2014

Childhood Leukemia Cases Up 37% Near Nuclear Reactors
Continued on Page 6
Slow-Motion Cancer Pandemic
Continued on Page 7

Spring 2014

A Flawed WHO Study of Iraqi Birth Defects

Winter 2013-2014

Italy's Illegal Dumping Linked to Cancers
Truck Hauling Cobalt-60 Stolen in Mexico: Contaminated Suspects
in Custody; Family Under Medical Watch

Fall 2013

Government Misstatements on Radiation Risk Assailed by
Independent Scientific Group

'Extra Pollution Award' in EPA's Draft Radiation DIsaster Planning Docs

Summer 2013

Authorities Dismiss St. Louis Cancer Cluster
The Military's Boundless Pollution Legacy: Part II
Continued on Page 7

EPA Dramatically Weakens Radiation Protection

Spring 2013

Keeping Metallic Radioactive Waste Out of Your Water Bottle,
Hip Replacement, Baby Toys

Centuries of Reservations at Hanford
The Military's Boundless Pollution Legacy: Part I
Navy "Nukey Poo"

Winter 2012

Scattering Neutrons at Los Alamos

Fall 2012

CT Scans Called Cancer Threats to Kids
Canadian Nuclear Workers Contaminated

Summer 2012

Radiation - It's Not for the Birds
DOE Employees Contaminated

Spring 2012

Childhood Leukemia Spikes Near Nuclear Reactors
Drinking Water Contamination at Wind River
Fukushima Radiation Disaster One Year On
The Danger of CT Scans: The Leading Cause of Breast Cancer?

Winter 2011-12

Women and Children First to be Harmed by Radiation - National Academy of Sciences
    Continued on Page 6
Clean-up Workers Doused with Plutonium, Burned in Separate Accidents
at Idaho National Lab

Lobbying for Increased Radiation Dose Limits

Summer 2011

Radiation Exposure Debate Rages Inside EPA
Worried About Radiation in Breast Milk?
    Continued on Page 7

Spring 2011

Are CT Scans, Rad Imaging and Nuclear Medicine Doing More Harm than Good?
    Continued on Page 6

Winter 2010-11

50,000 Protest German Waste Transports & Policy
    Continued on Page 2
Radioactive Fallout From Nuclear Testing and the Rise of Thyroid Cancer in the US
Walmart & the High Cost of Radiation - Megastore's 15,800 tritium-laden Signs Still Missing

Fall 2010

Wildfires in Russia Spread Chernobyl Radiation Again
Sheep Declared "Edible" 24 Years After Chernobyl
Wild Boars Still Radioactive
Biodiversity Declines Around Chernobly

West Valley Still Exposing Workers
"Breathable" Plutonium Still Litters Rocky Flats

The Cancer Epidemic: Its Industrial Causes - Presidential Panel Calls for More Regulation
    By Karl Grossman
Mary Olson on the Stump

Summer 2010

FDA to Introduce Limited Oversight of Medical Radiation
Scrap Metal Killers
Disclosed: French Radiation Experiments
One-Third of U.S. Reactors Leaking Tritium
Vermont Yankee Tritium Moves Underground

Spring 2010

Radioactive Waste Co. Targeted African Americans for More Radiation than Whites
20 Canadian Doctors Resign Over Uranium Mining Proposal
Hundreds Contaminated at Shuttered Canadian Reactor
Vieques Citizens Sue U.S. Over Contamination
Indian Reactor Drinking Water Sabotaged
Exxon Hid Radiation Risks from Workers for Decades

Winter 2009 - 2010

EPA's Plan to Raise Radiation Exposures Challenged
EPA's Plan to Raise Radiation Exposures Challenged Continued backpage
Retiring Reference Man*
    By Arjun Makhijani, PhD., and Lisa Ledwidge
Retiring Reference Man Continued page 4
Retiring Reference Man Continued page 5
Retiring Reference Man Continued page 6
Indian Point Puts Public Health at Serious Risk
NASA's Monkey Radiation Experiments Draw Outrage
Hanford's Radioactive Waste Shell Game

Fall 2009

Depleted Uranium Weapons Under Siege
Uranium Legacy Remembrance and Action
Uranium Mining - a World of Destruction
Dresden Reactor Leaks Tritium
Braidwood Shutdown Causes New Tritium Release
Hanford is the Bomb
Denver Federal Center Site - Construction Workers Face Hazards Left from WWII
Sellafield's Reckless Endangerment
German Rad Waste Dump Explosively Dangerous
Nuclear Medicine Causing "Tens of Thousands" of Cancers

Summer 2009

British Subs Spill Rad Coolant in Scottish Waters
Leaks Plague New York's Indian Point Reactors
Weapons & Fuel Makers Sued for Deadly Rad Pollution
60 Years of Bomb Building Poison Oak Ridge, Tenn. for 25 sq. Miles
Uranium Weapons Update
Norway to Fund ICBUW Research
Charges Dismissed Against Shareholders Arrested at ATK
Feds Ignore Risks of Dumping Tons of DU in Trenches

Spring 2009

Strontium-90 in Breast Milk Near New York Reactors
Strontium-90 in Breast Milk Near New York Reactors Continued
Radiation Exposure Standard "Scientifically Inappropriate"
Radiation Exposure Standard "Scientifically Inappropriate" Continued
Uranium Mining, Native Resistance and a Greener Path -
   The Impact of Uranium Mining on Indigenous Communities
Canada's Cameco Contaminates
West Valley Waste Remediation Could Cost Billions
"Depelted" Uranium Weapons Update

Winter 2008 - 2009

France's Nuclear Mess
France's Nuclear Mess Continued
"Orphaned" Radioactive Wastes and the $3.1 Billion Cheese Grater
Hanford, Washington: The Country's Most Toxic Plume
Uranium Weapons Under Scrutiny Around the World
15,000 Protest German Waste Convoy

Fall 2008

Failure and Deception at German Waste Site
U.S. Salt Beds Getting More Military Radioactive Waste
Radioactive Baby Teeth: The Cancer Link
Uranium Weapons Updates
   National Academy of Sciences Slams Pentagon's Studies of Uranium Weapons Health Effects
   New Hypothesis for DU-Cancer Link
   UN Members Submit Tepid DU Warnings to Sec. Gen., Urge Study
   New Law Book on Combat Use of DU Urges Militaries to Approach With Caution

Summer 2008

When "Temporary" Means 200 Years
Depleted Uranium Updates
   13 Million Pounds of "Unimportant" DU Waste Sent from Kuwait to U.S.
   European Parliament Strengthens Call for DU Moratorium
   The U.S. Knew About Consequences of Depleted Uranium - British Expert
Three Mile Island at 29: Reactors and Infant Health
Should Women and Children be Evacuated?
Greenpeace Reveals Radiation Spewed in Spain
Contaminated Legacy Doesn't Scare Uranium Prospectors

Spring 2008

Hot Reactor Fuel Again Found Dumped at Hanford
Germany Says Childhood Leukemia Increases Near Operating Reactors
Atomic Highway
   By Michael Hopping
Wis. Reactors Unsafe at Any Speed - Operators Repeatedly Failed, Faulted, Fined
Yucca Mountain: A Scientifically Unsound Nuclear Waste Plan
Nuclear Proponents Ignore Uranium Mine Waste, Devastation

Groundwater Contamination from Nuclear Reactors Goes Nationwide