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Mutated Butterfly’s in Japan; Fluoride, Nuclear Waste, and Who Know’s What-else in Our Drinking Water.


TOKYO (AP) – Radiation that leaked from the Fukushimanuclear plant following last year’s tsunami caused mutations in some butterflies – including dented eyes and stunted wings – though humans seem relatively unaffected, researchers say.

AP Photo

AP Photo/Chiyo Nohara

The mutations are the first evidence that the radiation has caused genetic changes in living organisms. They are likely to add to concerns about potential health risks among humans though there is no evidence of it yet. Scientists say more study is needed to link human health with the Fukushima disaster.

List of civilian nuclear accidents

In listing civilian nuclear accidents, the following criteria have been followed:
  1. There must be well-attested and substantial health damage, property damage or contamination.
  2. The damage must be related directly to radioactive material, not merely (for example) at a nuclear power plant.
  3. To qualify as “civilian”, the nuclear operation/material must be principally for non-military purposes.
  4. The event should involve fissile material or a reactor.

New U.S. nuclear regulator says spent fuel a top priority

The new chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said she plans to concentrate on the disposal of spent atomic fuel, an issue that is holding up decisions on power-plant licenses.
Allison Macfarlane, in her first news conference since taking over at the NRC on July 9, today also called on Congress and the White House to identify a permanent disposal site for spent fuel from the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors.
The NRC this month suspended final decisions on licenses for power plants until it completes a reassessment of risks related to storing spent atomic fuel. U.S. plants keep used fuel rods on site, in water pools or dry casks, because of a lack of permanent storage. Yucca Mountain in Nevada, an initial candidate for a permanent nuclear-waste dump, was rejected by the Obama administration following opposition from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada.
“We are paying more attention to spent nuclear fuel,” Macfarlane told reporters. “We know this is a pressing issue.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled on June 8 that the NRC’s rules on permanent storage of nuclear waste failed to fully evaluate risks and new standards must be drafted.
The spent fuel, whether kept in pools or dry storage containers, is managed safely and securely, Steve Kerekes, a spokesman for the Washington-based trade group Nuclear Energy Institute, said in an e-mail.


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