Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima

Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima
We feel very sad for the people of Japan who want to end nuclear energy whilst a potential new government and big business are desperate for it

No Fukushima at Oldbury

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Tritium risks - The French Nuclear Safety Authority issue a new paper which suggests these have been underestimated!

The French Nuclear Safety Authority have published a paper which suggests that the risks of tritium could ne underestimated. We were told at the Environment Agency's seminar on the GDA consultation that they plan to discharge the tritium waste in to the sea (or in the case of Oldbury, the river).

See story carried in Le Monde July 8, 2010:

The risks of tritium on health could be underestimated

The risks of tritium - the radioactive form of hydrogen - could be undervalued because it could be bound into the DNA of cells, according to experts who participated in a White Paper published on Thursday (July 8) by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) . In France, the overall impact of tritium releases is low however: ASN officials emphasized at the outset of the press conference: the average annual dose is a thousand times smaller than the threshold limit of 1 mSv, a unit which measures its radioactive effects in the human body.

Tritium is a radioactive element considered "slightly toxic" if one takes into account the average energy deposited in a body, said Dr Patrick Smeesters of the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control who chaired various "thinking groups” created at the initiative of the ASN in 2009. But tritium may be combined with certain cellular components, even DNA, said the expert noting reports of tritium measurements made in the UK, including Sellafield, which has a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant. "In Cardiff Bay, the tritium concentration in marine fauna is 1,000-10,000 times that of seawater" he said. At Cardiff, "organic molecules containing tritium were released into the sea" which may explain this concentration. "In the case of Sellafield, tritium concentrations in marine fauna concentration were only increased by a factor of 10, but only tritiated water was released."

Hence his questions: it is assumed that the nuclear plants release only tritiated water, but what is the real nature of their tritium releases? Do marine micro-organisms play a role in the accumulation of tritium? Tritium, when released as tritiated water, would then be ingested by animals and integrated into complex biological molecules. In an embryo with only a few cells, such organic compounds containing tritium could integrate with their DNA and may cause mutations.

Faced with these issues, the Director-General of the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire (ASN), Jean-Christophe Niel, wants the investigation "on new approaches in relation to possible hereditary effects”. After the publication of the White Paper of tritium, the ASN intends to establish a "monitoring committee" and calls on nuclear operators to control their (tritium) emissions. ASN’s action plan also provides for the monitoring of various forms of tritium in the environment and for assessing their impact.

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