december 21, 1997
Exercising Our Remarkable Powers of Response Ability
A database from a major accident such as Chernobyl
becomes a precious and irreplaceable health-resource
for humanity. It seems reasonable to assert that
humans have a sacred obligation to produce a database
which meets the most rigorous standards for
believability. By database, we mean the original raw
data on radiation exposure-estimates and on the health
status of participants in the database.
"Such [radioactive `plume'] analyses are irreplaceable tools for activists concerned with holding the correct parties responsible for radioactive trespasses on their communities." --Sam Miller
Talking with people these years, i'm struck by how often eyes glaze over when i bring up the subject of man-made nuclear pollution and its accumulating burden on the integrity of the gene pool -- not just for Homo sapiens, but of all life on Earth. Contemplating the actual biological and biospherical costs of nuclear power is deeply disturbing. Yet despite the increasingly pervasive paralysis of hope and numbing belief that nothing can actually be done to reverse this devolving situation, there are tangible, practical measures we can all participate in to reclaim our planetary home for the future of all that will follow us here. It is for each of us to determine which approach best suits our own superior powers of response ability.
The beginning quote urging the fiercest possible defense of objective, untainted databases refers to those like the Atomic-Bomb Survivor Studies (Hiroshima & Nagasaki) and the Chernobyl study of 1991 (both controlled by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), a joint enterprise of DOE and the Japanese Ministry of Health). In the same spirit, the following is presented on the scale of a grassroots-level Call for Participation for people to serve as "independent watchdogs" performing regular monitoring and assessment of the levels of radioactivity in our local communities.
With independent monitoring of the background levels of man-made radiation, we can re-establish a basis for understanding what the true nature of our local biophysical world actually is. Thus we free ourselves from the hopelessness engendered by the numbing psychic pseudo-dependency upon official reports and statements made by the public relations employees of utility and transportation companies -- as well as the recent signing of a contract by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with private companies guaranteeing said companys a profit on sales of radioactively contaminated metal to the marketplace (see Part 6, below) -- whose activities involving nuclear technology threaten the health and well being of our neighborhoods and communities. The owners and top-level managers of these companies are legally insulated behind a cloak of financial unaccountability in the guise of the `Limited Liability joint Stock Corporation'. Since the owners are legally and financially liable only to the stockholders they have no virtually no incentive to respond to the concerns of the people who live where their business operations and activities take place. This is compounded by the fact that unless there is an independent community-based group actively monitoring local area radioactivity, we cannot verify, confirm, or deny, the veracity of whichever company's constantly repeated claims that there is "no danger" from this, that, or the other mishap, accident, error, release, puff, spill, etc.
However, with independent watchdogs organized and capable of challenging the veracity and credibility of all such official pronouncements, the pressure for a heretofore impossible degree of accountability by such companies to literally clean up their act will be much more keenly felt and difficult to evade or ignore. In this way, the same premise in the beginning quote is actualized on the local level with citizens in any community, through their "independent watchdogging", creating equivalent "objective, untainted databases" to offset and curb the lethal mis-information produced by those interests which are creating the nuclear pollution in the first place.
The grassroots measures described below to help reverse the assault on the biosphere posed by man-made nuclear pollution can be summarized as follows:
Learn the basics about the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation Learn the Nine Basic Rules for Believable Bio-Medical Research Help make others aware of the Nine Basic Rules of Research Purchase and learn how to use an ionizing radiation detection device If one exists, join an independent group monitoring a local nuke If none exists, be the catalyst to start one in your area
References (all available on the web)
It's all too easy to feel cowed by radiation terminology. The rarified language of radiation physics intimidates all of us who didn't get a degree in nuclear/physical chemistry. Despite barely passing undergraduate basic chemistry in college, i was struck by the "lay-person accessibility" of the section on "Nuclear Radiation and its Biological Effects" from "Section 1, The Problem," of Dr. Rosalie Bertell's 1985 book, No Immediate Danger, Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth. This essential lay-person's primer, intended for anyone interested in understanding the basics, provides a wealth of details about radiation and its effects on living systems. Read this. Study it. Learn it.
To augment the above, the following additional reading is also recommended:
- What Is Factually Wrong with This Belief: "Harm from Low-Dose Radiation Is Just Hypothetical -- Not Proven", by John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D 
We wanted to know if the threshold issue, for ionizing radiation, could be settled. Our analysis proves, by any reasonable standard of scientific proof, that there is no safe dose or dose-rate of ionizing radiation. [I]
. . . "We have found no refutation of our proof. On the contrary, our method is extensively confirmed in the 1993 report of the United Nations (UNSCEAR 1993, esp. pp.627-636, p.681, p.696 Table 17)."
Chapters 18-21 from Section 5: Disproof of Any Safe Dose or Dose-Rate of Radiation-Induced Cancer from Low-Dose Exposure: AN INDEPENDENT ANALYSIS, 1990 comprise the proof that there is no safe threshold of exposure to low-level ionizing radiation.
- A Brief Discussion of Some Physics and Engineering Terms Associated with Nuclear Power, by Sam Miller 
The nuclear polluters love calling in their experts to bury us under a mountain of jargon. It impresses the media and stuns the rest of us into silence. So it's essential that we educate ourselves in the rarified language of radiation physics and nuclear engineering, and point out lies and propaganda when we hear them! This is a list of terminology with plain English definitions.
- Citizens Awareness Network "Glossary of Radiation Terms"
Dr. John Gofman is Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology in the University of California at Berkeley, and Lecturer at the Department of Medicine, University of California School of Medicine at San Francisco. From his work as co-discoverer of protactinium-232, uranium-232, protactinium-233, and uranium-233 in the early 1940s, recipient of the Gold-Headed Cane Award (UC Medical School, 1946, presented to the graduating senior who most fully personifies the qualities of a "true physician") to Founder and first Director of the Biomedical Research Division of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, (1963-1964), through to the 1992 Right Livelihood Award, for his pioneering work in exposing the health effects of low-level radiation, Dr. Gofman's career spans a lifetime of research in the fields of nuclear / physical chemistry, coronary heart disease, ultracentrifugal analysis of the serum lipoproteins, the relationship of human chromosomes to cancer, and the biological effects of radiation, with especial reference to causation of cancer and hereditary injury. 
On the occasion of receiving the Right Livelihood Award in 1992, Dr. Gofman presented a paper on Bio-Medical "Un-Knowledge" And Nuclear Pollution: A Common-Sense Proposal  in which he outlined Nine Essential Rules of Inquiry in Medical Sciences. If these Rules are scrupulously adhered to during the period the research is conducted then the integrity of the resulting database will be beyond question. But if any Rule is broken the effect will be to compromise the scientific credibility of the research. The following explains why it is of the utmost necessity to apply these Rules in the most rigorous manner with all bio-medical research:The key to believable bio-medical research is obedience to the Rules of Research, some of which are listed below. It follows that we can solve our problem if we figure out and establish a mechanism to ensure that the Rules of Research receive real implementation, not mere "lip-service."
Although we may focus here on nuclear pollution from Chernobyl, the principles involved are applicable to legions of other pollutants, such as dioxin, pesticides, mercury, and lead.
It is fortunate, indeed, that we do not have disasters with the scope of Chernobyl very often, as yet. The tragedy of this disaster for those overtly and covertly affected is great. This tragedy will be compounded manyfold if we squander the opportunity to learn everything possible about the health and ecological consequences.
A Trustworthy Database: A Sacred Obligation of Humanity
A database from a major accident such as Chernobyl becomes a precious and irreplaceable health-resource for humanity. It seems reasonable to assert that humans have a sacred obligation to produce a database which meets the most rigorous standards for believability. By database, we mean the original raw data on radiation exposure-estimates and on the health status of participants in the database.
If the database itself is false -- either from careless work or from intentional bias -- it poisons every conclusion which emerges from it. A false database causes innocent analysts of such data to fill the medical journals and textbooks with un-knowledge. It renders all its users into agents of possibly deadly mis-information.
If research on Chernobyl's radiation consequences is either poorly designed, or biased, or both, the false conclusions will nevertheless enter the textbooks. If the results exaggerate the true health hazards, it will be a real disservice to humanity. If the results underestimate the true health hazards, the mis-information will be literally deadly.
Suppose the new textbook wisdom says that "Chernobyl studies showed that no health hazards can be found if radiation doses are low and received gradually." True or false, such a claim throughout the professional literature would endure, and would result in great increases in "permissible doses" and unnecessary and preventable human exposures to radiation (environmentally, occupationally, medically).
If the textbook wisdom is false, the extra radiation exposures will inflict misery on hundreds of millions of people over time, in the form of early deaths, unnecessary cancers, mental handicaps, deformities, and genetic diseases (which include heart disease, diabetes mellitus, schizophrenia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many, many additional disorders).
In the area of nuclear pollution from man-made sources, the way to prevent the creation and promotion of such "false textbook wisdom" is for as many as possible of us "just plain folks" to learn these Nine Basic Rules of Research to assess for ourselves the legitimate scientific credibility of any study.
To help prevent production of false databases and false "findings," either through bias or scientific error, medical science has developed some basic Rules of Research. Adherence to these rules is essential for conducting scientifically credible studies of Chernobyl's radiation consequences. For comparing exposed and non-exposed groups in epidemiological studies, some basic rules are abbreviated below
FIRST RULE: Comparable Groups.
SIXTH RULE: "Blinding" of Diagnostic Analysts.
EIGHTH RULE: No Excessive Subdivision of Data.
Dr. Gofman then goes into extensive detail describing Some Examples of Rule-Breaking in Radiation Research  in the following three subsections:
Violation of Rule 7, in the database for the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic-Bomb Survivor Study  Violation of Rules 2, 3, and 4 in the 1991 IAEA Study of Chernobyl  Violation of Rule 9 in the 1989 WHO Study of Chernobyl 
As more and more of us become familiar with and conversant in the Nine Basic Rules of Believable Bio-Medical Research we can provide a significant, life-supporting counter-weight to the false claims made by "official sources" reported in the news media. This is because such propaganda can only be accepted when people do not know the key questions to ask and challenges to pose where the credibility and integrity of any study is the fundamental issue. We can, ALL OF US become "Common Sense Experts" in assessing whether or not each Rule of Bio-Medical Research has been adhered to for any given study, and hence whether pronouncements made based on such studies have any legitimate basis or must be soundly rejected and all of their respective conclusions fiercely challenged. This is the way to confront the sort of false and irresponsible claims like these made in 1991 about Chernobyl:
- "United Nations Report Blames Stress, Not Radiation, for Chernobyl Illnesses" (Washington Post, 22 May 91)
- "Chernobyl Effects More Psychological Than Biological" (Associated Press, 21 May 1991)
- "United Nations Chernobyl Study Says Effects Are Overblown, Prompting Outcry" (Wall Street Journal, 21 May 1991) 
To augment the above, the following essays are also recommended:
- What Is Humanity's Most Harmful Law? The Law of Concentrated Benefit over Diffuse Injury, by Dr. John W. Gofman and Egan O'Connor 
The law of Concentrated Benefit over Diffuse Injury can be stated as follows:
A small, determined group, working energetically for its own narrow interests, can almost always impose an injustice upon a vastly larger group, provided that the larger group believes that the injury is "hypothetical," or distant-in-the-future, or real-but-small relative to the real-and-large cost of preventing it.Many scholars have written about this extremely important axiom before -- it is not original with us. The fact that narrow special interests are always at work for their own benefit at the expense of others is not at all surprising, given human nature. And it is not surprising that the victims select what appears to be the strategy of least cost to themselves.
The surprising aspect is the failure of so many victims -- especially in peaceful democracies -- to appreciate the aggregate consequences which inevitably accrue, when each small injustice has such a high chance of prevailing.
We regard Concentrated Benefit as the most harmful law of all humanity. . . .
The terrible feature of this law is that each incremental injustice has a very high chance of prevailing. So, even when new injuries or injustices truly are small, the aggregate abuse can accumulate to tragic proportions after the axiom of Concentrated Benefit has operated on behalf of various narrow interests again ... and again ... and again.
- The Bonds of Trust vs. Deceit by DOE: Some Enduring Measures for Your Health and Safety, by Dr. John W. Gofman and Egan O'Connor 
Provides a wealth of material on existent Radiation Databases and strategies for assessing their integrity as well as supporting legitimate public dissent. Part 2 establishes A Set of Premises about Truth and Deceit while Part 3 explores
What are some essential ingredients of a system which would produce information on health and safety issues which the public could believe? We propose, for discussion and modifications, some ideas about the required ingredients. . . .
Believable information requires trustworthy databases --- computerized collections of data from which analysts can derive relationships (for example, the relationship between the amount of exposure to a pollutant and health status). It is urgent to guard the databases from falsification (Parts 5, 6, 7, 8).
- A Wake-Up Call for Everyone Who Dislikes Cancer and Inherited Afflictions, by Dr. John W. Gofman and Egan O'Connor 
Several notable events have intensified the campaign to deny harm from low-dose radiation: (a) The Chernobyl accident, and the resulting "need" to deny health damage, (b) The estimate that it will cost over $250 billion to clean up nuclear pollution from our weapons facilities, and the resulting desire to spend much less, (c) The difficulty of obtaining public approval for the electric utilities to transfer their radioactive poisons to Yucca Mountain and other rad-waste dumps, and (d) The decisions to persuade women to take yearly mammograms (low-dose xrays).
Today, a growing number of people associated with the nuclear and medical industries assert, falsely, "there is no evidence that exposure to low-dose radiation causes any cancer --- the risk is only theoretical," or the risk is "utterly negligible," or "the accidental exposures were below the safe level," and even "there is reasonably good evidence that exposure to low-dose radiation is beneficial and lowers the cancer rate." . . .
By any reasonable standard of scientific proof, the weight of the human evidence shows decisively that cancer is inducible by ionizing radiation even at the lowest possible dose and dose-rate --- which means that the risk is not "theoretical." Therefore, we know that harm to human health will be immense, if the false claims about safety or benefit prevail and exposures rise. (See also Part 8, about inherited afflictions from exposure to low-dose radiation.) . . .
All types of communications media have a duty, in our opinion, to test the sincerity of their sources, before they print or broadcast any claim about radiation risk at low doses being "theoretical," "negligible," "safe," or "beneficial." After all, such claims are not innocuous. They easily lead to relaxed attitudes and increasing exposures to radiation. Indeed, if one considers the affiliations and funding of most people making such claims, it is reasonable to surmise that a relaxed attitude about low doses is their goal. . . .
Various media generally refer to "Gofman, long-time opponent of nuclear power," but they almost never label people who deny harm from low-dose radiation as "long-time advocates of nuclear-power" (or mammography, etc.) or as people who have a personal conflict of interest because their grants or livelihoods come from interests who irradiate people.
- Chernobyl: "Holocaust" versus "Nothing Happened", Tales from a Distant Place . . . with a Problem Very Close to All of Us, by Dr. John W. Gofman 
. . . the problems of falsified data, destroyed records, bias, conflict of interest, and lack of trust have never been more self-evident on a radiation issue than on Chernobyl's radiation consequences. . . .
If the world allows the truth about Chernobyl to become distorted by bias in the direction of underestimating its radiation consequences, it would be a warning that the truth about every chemical pollutant is also in danger of comparable distortion.
And if all these hazards are systematically distorted by conflicts of interest in the research, humanity everywhere will face not only a vast harvest of radiation-induced misery from "permissible" nuclear pollution, but additional giant harvests from "permissible" chemical pollution of every type. And "mysteriously rising" rates of illness can occur even while the average length of life is growing.
Therefore, one of the most vital activities in the field of citizen action and preventive medicine -- today, tomorrow, and forever -- is the fiercest possible defense of objective, untainted databases.
There can be no activity more important for human health, for if the databases cannot be trusted and relied upon, then medical science can be turned on its head by mis-information, which can persist as textbook wisdom even for centuries.
Each one of us can, with great effect, truly be a "Common Sense Expert" in countering the problem of spreading mis-information from "official sources" who are nontheless compromised by conflict of interest since their grants, funding, or livelihoods come from interests who irradiate people. By applying our knowledge and understanding of the Nine Basic Rules of Research to challenge the false claims based upon faulty and scientifically non-credible studys -- such as the 1989 WHO and 1991 IAEA Chernobyl Studies (see bullets 2 and 3 above citing Some Examples of Rule-Breaking in Radiation Research) -- we can serve as independent watchdogs to qualify the validity of any and all research done in the area of nuclear pollution.
Most news reporters themselves do not know about the Rules of Research. Otherwise they would be analysing each study's methodologies themselves and identifying flaws in the conclusions based upon violation of any Rule throughout the creation of the raw data during the research phase of the study. The Rules of Research provide an exceedingly powerful tool to genuinely promote as high a degree of objective reconstruction and reporting of past events as we are ever likely to see.
Each of us who learns the Nine Rules of credible Research can thus serve in the enormously productive capacity of helping to make them be more commonly known and understood by the vast majority of people in our society, including mothers, teachers, nurses, students, doctors, activists, journalists, news reporters, and elected officials. Consider the significant positive effect that will result when the the Nine Basic Rules for Believable Bio-Medical Research attain the status of a common household term. It will enable all of us to examine and ask the hard questions ourselves whenever an "official expert" or news report claims that, according to such-and-such a study, a nuclear accident, or release of radioactivity, did not pose a threat to, injure, or kill anyone.
An ion is an atom, molecule, or elementary particle that has lost or gained one or more electrons, therefore taking on an electrical charge. A positive ion has lost one or more electrons; a negative ion has gained one or more electrons. Ionization is the process of adding or removing electrons so as to form ions and can be caused by high temperatures, electrical discharges, or nuclear radiation. Ionizing radiation includes xrays, gamma rays, beta particles, alpha particles, and lots of other high-energy particles (neutrons, positrons, etc.). When ionizing radiation passes through matter it can ionize it. Ionizing radiation can cause cell damage as it passes through living tissue.
Whenever man-made ionizing radioactive pollution occurs in the biosphere we are usually beholden to whatever news sources to learn what specific levels of alpha or beta particles, gamma rays or x-rays were released. But the newspaper or radio or television source is, of course, itself beholden to the company creating the pollution. And even if the company wanted to, it will never be able to accurately monitor all the local areas affected by the release of ionizing radiation. However it is possible to ascertain what the radiation levels are in one's own community by obtaining and learning how to operate a hand-held radiation detection device. This is an area where our own powers of response ability can be most effectively applied since in the final analysis, there is no one besides our self who is response able for our own safety and those around us where we live.
International Medcom is a company that offers a range of Ionizing Radiation Detection Instruments including Geiger Counters, Scintillation Detectors, and Radiation Monitoring Systems.  They design and manufacture high quality instruments and systems for detecting nuclear (ionizing) radiation, and are used for health and safety applications, medical and scientific purposes, environmental protection, and education. Located on the web at www.medcom.com, their product list includes
- The Geiger, a simple and inexpensive instrument that is used with a personal computer for collecting and analyzing data.
- The Radalert 50, a handheld instrument that detects alpha, beta, gamma and X-radiation.
- The Inspector, a handheld surface contamination meter with excellent sensitivity to alpha and beta radiation.
- Environmental Monitoring Systems and Probes used for continuous monitoring of ambient radiation levels.
One of the fundamental factors that is always a consideration is the financial "bottomline". As of December, 1997, The Geiger, which detects primarily energetic betas and gammas, and can also measure X-radiation, starts at $140 (for the instrument and battery) and goes to $175 (which includes IBM PC compatible software and a 9 or 25-pin PC serial cable). The special glass Geiger Mueller detector tube is visible through the translucent Lexan label on the rear panel. It fluoresces (lights up) when exposed to radiation. This phenomenon can be viewed in a dark room. The output jacks on the side of the instrument interface to computers and other devices. The Radalert 50 costs $299. Its digital display shows readings either in counts per minute (cpm) or mR/hr, up to 50,000 cpm or 50 mR/hr, or in accumulated counts. A red LED blinks and a beeper chirps with each count (the chirp can be muted). An audible alert sounds when the radiation reaches a user-adjustable level. The inspector (superior for detecting noble gases that are routinely emitted from nuclear power plants) costs $475. It includes a Total/Timer feature which can take timed readings for periods from one minute to 24 hours for precise measurement of low-level contamination and a calibration feature that can eliminate radiation exposure to the calibration technician.
Such technology is affordable by the workingwoman and man. Especially when a group of neighbors get together and pool their resources to purchase an instrument that benefits everyone who gets involved in monitoring and analysing the data that is recorded. (If you are a member of an environmental non-profit organization be sure to ask about a discount.) It is precisely this sort of local organizing and activity that can infuse people with a rich life-affirming sense of participation in promoting the health and safety of their own communities.
While doing the initial study for this, i had the occasion to meet Eric Epstein via e-mail, the Coordinator of the EFMR Monitoring Network, which monitors radiation trends in the Three Mile Island area. Eric has added me to the mailing list for their publication, EFMR Monitor, and i was very pleased to read an article in it by Linda Schatz titled, "Radiation-Monitoring Reveals Interesting Data". i especially value Linda's narrative as it describes her own interest in finding out what the actual radiation levels were at her boyfriend Rick's cabin in the woods five miles south of the Peach Bottom Nuclear Reactor in northern Maryland which she was considering moving to. She explains in very basic terms how she and Rick, after obtaining two Radalert radiation monitors from EFMR, learned how to measure radiation levels using these devices and what they discovered. (Among other observations, it turned out the cabin actually had lower readings (14.3 cpm) that her Philadelphia apartment (17.5).)
What is being discussed here is nothing less than the ability to take one's own measurements and to collect and analyse one's own data to understand the fact of what is actually occurring in an on-going manner in one's local area. Such ability to monitor will also provide the necessary difference between life and death if ever there is another Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, or Church Rock disaster, any crash of a train, truck, or ship containing nuclear cargo, as well as to ascertain the actual levels of routine and non-routine nuclear reactor venting of radioactive material into the atmosphere and ocean. The only time to prepare for any such nuclear accident, meltdown, or release that occurs is before it happens. Those who are already monitoring their own environment can provide immense assistance to everyone and everything in their local communities.
There are a number of sources available on the web to learn about what is involved in working with radiation detection instruments including:
- Safety Rules for Handling Small Radioactive Samples, (a.k.a Check Sources)
As unpleasant as it may be, if you're going to use geiger counters and other radiation detection equipment to monitor your local nuclear polluter, then you'll have to periodically calibrate your equipment using small radioactive samples. But it is vital that you handle even small, sealed sources safely. This radiation safety instruction sheet was developed with help from government, industry, and academic experts.
- CRMN Radiological Instrument Checks.
A "how-to" booklet for maintaining the calibration of radiation detectors, developed with help from government, industry, and academic experts. Includes necessary equations and forms.
- University of Chicago Radiation Safety Training Tutorial
This tutorial is a companion to the Radiation Protection Manual that presents topics on fundamentals of radiation physics, radiation biology, safety guidelines, and general laboratory procedures and techniques that should minimize radiation exposure. This guide is not a licensing document.
- Caltech Radiation Safety Training Tutorial
This manual is a companion to the Radiation Safety Manual (RSM). The RSM describes the radiation protection program at Caltech. The policies and procedures contained in the RSM have been approved by the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC), and submitted to the California Department of Health Services as part of our Radioactive Materials License.
In one's own community, transportation of nuclear wastes and materials passing through and/or the existence of a nuclear power plant, pose significant health hazards. The greatest possible independence one can achieve from vulnerability to the transportation or utility company's claims that no health danger exists from such activities, is to work with other members of one's community to set up and operate an independent radiation monitoring network. This is what true participatory democracy is all about: coming together in voluntary association to form whatever level and system of governance is appropriate to govern ourselves. By doing so we are acknowledging acceptance of the fundamental response ability for our own lives and those around us, and for our common, collective welfare.
There are a number of independent monitoring groups in existence that can be contacted to learn from regarding how they got together, and how they do what they do. The remainder of this section highlights a few of these groups.
- Sam Miller is a member of the New Hampshire/Great Bay Region Greens. He is an applied meteorologist, holds a degree in physics, and has been a volunteer of the C-10 Radiological Monitoring Network since 1991.
This organization began in 1980 as a citizens' direct action organization, called Citizens Within The 10-Mile Radius (C-10), whose purpose was opposition to the construction of the Seabrook nuclear reactor in southern New Hampshire. In 1991, C-10 evolved into a non-profit educational foundation (C-10/REF), and merged with the embryonic Citizens Radiological Monitoring Network, creating the C-10 Radiological Monitoring Network (C-10/RMN). The C-10/RMN is operated as a public education project by the C-10/REF. C-10 currently has about 1500 members. . . . 
The C-10 Radiological Monitoring Network (C-10/RMN) has been monitoring airborne radioactive emissions from the Seabrook nuclear plant since 1990. We have about 25 stations inside Seabrook's 10-Mile Emergency Planning Zone in southern New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts. A typical station, mounted on the home of a volunteer, consists of a beta/gamma detector, a gamma-only detector, and a weather station. These instruments feed minute-to-minute data into a computer inside the house, which stores it for later retrieval. Eventually the data is collected at our office in Newburyport, where we analyze it. 
By means of The Critical Information Project, Sam has created an important and exceedingly valuable web resource service called "Downwinder's Homepage" containing a great deal of printed materials, written articles for publication, and computer software. Anyone with web-access is strongly urged to study and become familiar with this exemplary treasure-trove of informational tools from creditable resources. Of particular note here is the highly informative essay by Sam entitled, Why Should I Be Involved In Monitoring the Local Nuke? At the bottom he defines Monitoring (as distinct from Modeling) as follows:Monitoring is the work carried out by the C-10/RMN and other citizens radiological monitoring networks, and is performed by several people with radiation detectors at many locations away (i.e. potentially downwind) from a nuclear power plant. Once the network's individual sensor records are collected in one location, a person familiar with streamline analysis can plot the data on maps of the area, and trace a radioactive "plume" back to its origins. Such analyses are irreplaceable tools for activists concerned with holding the correct parties responsible for radioactive trespasses on their communities. 
The ultimate goal of independent monitoring is precisely for the purpose of "holding the correct parties responsible for radioactive trespasses on their communities." One more page (amongst many others at Downwinder's ) i would like to cite here is the Incoming Messages from Downwinders and Nuclear Whistleblowers  including e-mail messages from various Whistleblowers, Downwinders, as well as one from a "True Believer" where the "author raises several commonly voiced criticisms about our stance against nuclear power, and we take this as an opportunity to answer them."
- As briefly mentioned above, Eric Epstein is Coordinator of the EFMR Monitoring Network based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This organization is described on page two of their December issue of the EFMR Monitor :
The EFMR Monitoring Group at TMI is a nonprofit, nonpartisian organization that monitors radiation trends in the Three Mile Island (TMI) area. The Group was formed as a result of a settlement between Eric Epstein and GPU Nuclear.This is a group "in it for the long haul" monitoring the activities of Three Mile Island with a tenacious consistentency and perseverance. Along with providing quarterly Low-Volume Air Sampler Reports and Alpha & Beta Charts of TMI emissions, the EFMR Monitor also covers news on GPU, the utility company that manages TMI, other nuclear plants in the U.S. and abroad, as well as news on and from the NRC, EPA, and DOE. EFMR works closely with Los Alamos National Laboratories SWOOPE (Students Watching Over Our Planet Earth) Program, GPU Nuclear, the NRC and the Bureau of Radiation Protection, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources. As part of the agreement with Epstein, GPU has committed to spend $700,000 over seven years on decommissioning research via robotics.
EFMR owns 60 Radalert monitors which measure beta and gamma radiation, these monitors are deployed at 50 stations in eight Pennsylvania counties around the TMI nuclear power station; there are two additional Radalert stations in Maryland.
EFMR has five low-volume air samplers installed on the East and West shores of TMI, and a control station located at Dickinson College. Dickinson College's Physics Department collects the filters and cartridges on a weekly basis. Analyses performed include, but are not limited to, weekly gross beta and alpha measurements, a monthly gamma isotopic analysis, a weekly iodine-131 analysis, and a semiannual Strontium-90 analysis.
The Group also enjoys on-line access to the General Public Utility's Reuter-Stokes gamma monitoring system and information from the remote temperature detector installed at the base of the TMI-2 reactor vessel. 
Although EFMR works closely with the likes of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, this doesn't mean they necessarily hold such official agencies in any high regard. As stated in an article from the October 26, 1992 Harrisburg Patriot News, ``[the] NRC, Epstein will explain to the uninitiated, actually stands for ``Not Really Concerned.''" But people like Epstein, who spent more than a decade endeavoring to hold GPU accountable for what had happened in 1979 at Three Mile Island, are very concerned about their community and its welfare. In a page 1 article from the September 20, 1992 Patriot News titled "GPU settles with activists on monitors", Epstein, speaking on the $1 million agreement reached with GPU "to increase independent monitoring and fund research for retirement of the Unit 2 reactor", described the bottom-line in all this: "I think the agreement is good for the community. . . . It empowers the community, and gives us the means to independently monitor and verify what's being emitted at TMI."
- i was able to speak briefly on the phone with Debbie Baker, President of the Three Mile Island Citizens Monitoring Network (TMI-CMN). This group, formed in 1989, is in the unique position of having received an $880,000 grant from the TMI Public Health Fund to pay for the monitoring equipment it is now using and continuing to put in place. "The Public Health Fund was created as a result of a class-action suite filed against GPU Nuclear after the 1979 accident at Unit 2. GPU is the operator of TMI."
TMI-CMN uses 2 different Environmental Radiation Probes manufactured by International Medcom: one is a VISTA 1600 and the other is a VISTA 240EC both of which are radio-frequencied so that every minute, 24 hours a day, data can be electronically transmitted to a central site. In this way, their system is largely automated providing a constant, steady stream of raw data to where it is logged and analyzed on computers. Currently they have 21 pairs of each of these probes at sites in 1, 3, and 10 mile radiuses around TMI. They are funded to have 40 sites and and the remaining 19, when put in place, will cover all 16 quadrants in distances of 1, 3, and 10 miles from the power plant.
The VISTA 1600 radiation probe provides high sensitivity to noble gases and other sources of beta radiation as well as being capable of detecting gamma and x-ray photons. It operates in a semi-sheltered outdoor environment in almost all weather conditions. Beta radiation is detected through a "pancake" GM tube with a mica window protected by a mylar shield. (The shield can be removed for alpha particle detection.) The VISTA 240EC is an energy-compensated gamma radiation probe for environmental monitoring. It operates in an outdoor environment in almost all weather conditions. Both Probes contain anti-saturation circuitry which prevents jamming in high-radiation fields.
Debbie explained how, when the plant releases or vents its radioactive gases, the utility uses a Reuter Stokes system which doesn't measure gamma and beta separately. Another practice that the plant uses, that they rely on faithfully, are TLDs (Thermo Luminescent Dosimeters) which have to be sent to a lab to be analyzed. If there is an accident, and the TLD measures the release, the instrument is not read or analysed on a daily basis. Most of them tend to be read only once per month or even less frequently than that. So any spike that occurred will be leveled-out over the given time period between logged readings. They'll see a certain amount recorded on a TLD, but that quantity is spread over a number of days, weeks, or longer.
TMI-CMN is interested in how long it takes for the noble gases released from the power plant to dissipate. And it has devised a system that measures both the gamma and the beta particles independently. Their primary focus in taking the measurements is to factually determine What was it that was released?, How much was released?, and Where did it go?
Debbie was also very clear about the importance of having consistent and constant meteorological data and records. "You have to have your weather data. You have to have correct wind speed and direction as well as barometric pressure. With the barometric pressure the pressure can force radon out of the ground. That's why it's important to have those probes at a certain height up off the ground. If it snows, a snow cover on the ground is like a blanket that will cover the radon. In the summer months you'll see a higher background level because the radon from the earth is more prevalent. The reason it is so important to have accurate weather data is because the utility will attack you on that by saying `It was raining when you were seeing your elevation increases in radioactivity'".
Debbie urged anyone monitoring a nuke to be meticulous about factually ascertaining if the utility releases during inclement (all forms of precipitation) weather. The reason is that one of the primary ways airborne radioactive fallout falls back down to Earth is when it is carried by rain. Hence utility companies may release and vent radioactive gases during inclement weather as it makes it more difficult for independent monitoring groups to accurately identify and pinpoint them as the true source of the pollution. This is why it is also essential to have the exact wind speed and direction nailed down for each period of each day.
Debbie spoke about how TMI-CMN, like any group that is serious about this work of monitoring, has to be in it for the long haul. "What we're looking at is patterns over time. It is so important to have those patterns accurately logged to qualify the measurements taken during the given time interval with the actual behavior of wind and air and rain." In this way, if probes to the northeast of the power plant register increased radioactivity, and there is no equivalent increase from the southwest area, and the wind direction was verifiably toward the northeast in the given time-period, then there is no way the utility company can evade or deny the fact that it caused the release. In this way it is able to be held accountable for its activities.
The work of TMI-CMN continues to go on. They are hoping to have more of the probes in place in the coming year as well as their own presence on the web. As more information becomes available i will append all relevant references to this ratitorial. In the meantime Debbie agreed to my request to include her address and phone number  for anyone who is interested to confer with her. She is not looking forward to the 20th anniversary of the Three Mile Island accident because she does not want to be in the limelight of the media which she experienced during the 10th anniversary. But she is committed to this work of seeing that independent monitoring is employed as the most immediately efficacious way to hold utility companies accountable for the radioactive trespasses they commit in the communities where the reactors operate.
- ECOLOGIA (ECOlogists Linked for Organizing Grassroots Initiatives and Action)  is another exemplary "Common Sense Experts" organization with an impressive track record in helping people globally in independent environmental organizations with technical assistance and information. Their website is well-crafted in its organization and presentation of information including the following introduction on the main page:
ECOLOGIA is an independent international environmental organization with headquarters in the United States and offices in Moscow, Russia; Minsk, Belarus; and Vilnius, Lithuania. ECOLOGIA was founded in 1989 in order to assist independent environmental organizations across the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with technical assistance and information. ECOLOGIA now provides these services to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local government officials in Eurasia and the United States. . . .
ECOLOGIA promotes and supports public participation in environmental decision making by providing training, professional quality technical information, consultation, and environmental monitoring capability to NGOs and local governments.
The beginning of the History and Background page expands on the above:
It was apparent that these [Former Soviet Union] nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were playing a critical role in the political, social, and economic reform movements transforming countries with a Soviet history. ECOLOGIA supports "green movements" in order to simultaneously encourage democratic reform processes and improve environmental quality. We develop technical support programs, such as our citizens' environmental monitoring network, in response to our colleagues' requests. 
Although "ECOLOGIA does not typically offer grant money to either independent organizations or individuals," and although they are not specifically involved in monitoring of man-made radiation sources, they are certainly worth studying and possibly contacting to find out more about how they did their own Citizen's Environmental Monitoring Network  program:
Because environmental information has traditionally been difficult to obtain in countries with a Soviet history, ECOLOGIA established the first non-governmental environmental monitoring network composed of 20 sites in Central and Eastern European, the Baltic nations, Russia, and at the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan. All monitoring network participants are equipped with portable laboratories, HACH spectrophotometers, and are provided with extensive technical training and on-site assistance. The labs are capable of measuring over one hundred water quality parameters (e.g. heavy metals, nitrates, phenols). ECOLOGIA's technical scientific staff is now developing the means to add an extremely cost effective air quality monitoring capability to this water quality monitoring network. 
Although Part 5 focuses on on citizen monitoring of radiation releases from nuclear power plants and from transportation of nuclear waste and materials through one's communities, there is a different and deeply troubling situation currently unfolding wherein the the Department of Energy (DOE) has signed a precedent-setting contract with private companies that guarantees the company a profit on sales of radioactively contaminated metal to the marketplace.  Like every other "Below Regulatory Concern" (BRC) practice, commercial use of radioactive scrap-metal amounts to permission to commit premeditated random murder.  With such a new policy, sanctioned by the U.S. Government, that makes it legal to put radioactive scrap-metal into civilian commerce, the need for people in every community to join in monitoring their own local environments for radioactive contamination becomes ever more imperative and critical to counter this new threat to our health, the health of our world, and of our future.
If there are no such independent monitoring watchdog groups in your own area, consider exploring the possibility of creating one yourself. If this subject is important to you, you've already got the motivation to talk to your friends and whoever else you can meet who shares the same concerns. It will take dedication and perseverance but there are people, groups, and resources available to assist and support you in your efforts. At the very least, learning and teaching/exposing others to the Nine Rules for for Believable Bio-Medical Research will serve those who follow us here by increasing awareness about how to measure the validity of any official study and the ensuing claims based upon it.
It is hoped the additional (admittedly incomplete) list of web resources may prove useful -- if anyone knows of other sources that should be included here, please send mail to dave. For the Earth, the children, and all that follow us here, keep expanding.
- Nuclear Waste Shipment Routes, MPC Base Case
High Level Nuclear Waste Transportation across America, indexed by state. In early December, 1997, the Hoosier Environmental Council completed an exhaustive project on nuclear waste transportation to Yucca Mountain related to the passage of HR 1270 and S 104. Find out about shipments through your state via this set of maps.
Hoosier Environmental Council
1002 E. Washington
Indianapolis, IN 46202
- RADNET, A [Massive] Freedom of Nuclear Information Resource
Information about source points of anthropogenic radioactivity (Human Ecology: Rituals of Aversion)
An information resource for persons interested in the public safety consequences and radioecological impact of nuclear accidents and industries. The purpose of RADNET is the documentation of the dispersion of anthropogenic radionuclides into the biosphere. "Anthroprogenic radionuclides" specifically refers to radioactive contamination of the biosphere by human activities, with special reference to weapons production and commercial nuclear electricity production which result in the accumulation and dispersion of long lived radionuclides.
Center for Biological Monitoring
Hulls Cove, ME 04644
- Rad Watch -- Radioactive Monitoring
This page is host to an informal group of citizens world-wide who measure the level of radioactivity near their home. The device used to monitor radiation levels is RadAlert which picks up levels of cobalt-60 and cesium-137, both typically found in releases from nuclear power plants. They have radioactive lives of 100 and 600 years, respectively.
We take readings daily, averaged over a period of ten minutes. Ideally, perhaps, we might take a reading over 24 hours, but this ten minute reading should give sufficient indication of daily levels, tell us of any larger releases or accidents among the world's 400 nuclear power plants, and provide an overview of the gradual increase in ambient radioactivity world-wide.
Paonia, CO, USA
- World Information Service on Energy Amsterdam
The World Information Service on Energy (WISE) was set up by safe energy activists in 1978 to function as an international switchboard for local and national safe energy groups around the world who want to exchange information and support one another. Information is spread by WISE relays in 12 countries (see address list) and a worldwide network of contacts. WISE primarily covers topics related to the nuclear industry, such as new developments in policy and technology, nuclear proliferation, accidents and activities of local movements. For this WISE International publishes the WISE NEWS COMMUNIQUE 20 times a year.
PO Box 59636
1040 LC Amsterdam
(Visitors: Ketelhuisplein 43, 1054 RD Amsterdam)
Tel: +31-20-612 6368
Fax: +31-20-689 2179
- State of Nevada Nuclear Waste Project Online
The mission of the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects is to assure that the health, safety, and welfare of Nevada's citizens and the State's unique environment and economy are adequately protected with regard to any federal high-level nuclear waste disposal activities in the State.
Great Resource -- among its voluminous contents, includes a running list of weblinks to current newspaper articles (updated almost daily).
Agency for Nuclear Projects
Nuclear Waste Project Office
Carson City, NV 89710
(702) 687-3744 -- voice
(702) 687-5277 -- fax
Toll Free in the State of Nevada
email@example.com -- e-mail
Downwinders is a research and educational foundation established in 1978 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Downwinders takes its name from the residents living in the prevailing wind pattern surrounding the Nevada Test Site, and who have been constantly exposed to radioactive fallout from America's nuclear testing activities conducted there. Downwinders was founded with two primary goals:
Since its founding Downwinders has expanded its efforts to other nuclear, military, and environmental projects and issues where the health and safety of residents surrounding them have been placed at risk. Over the years these have included such problems as chemical and biological weapons research and testing at the Dugway Proving Ground. Other issues of concern are high and low-level nuclear waste, uranium mining, milling and tailings disposal, phosphate mining and wastes, groundwater issues, land and air space grabs by the military, and military toxics. Downwinders has also expanded its scope of operations from regional work confined to the Great Basin of Utah and Nevada to one of global outreach.
- To expose the plight of downwind residents whose fallout exposures have caused cancers, leukemia, and other illnesses, and to obtain justice for their injuries.
- To fight for an immediate end to all nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site and elsewhere.
P.O. Box 111
Lava Hot Springs, ID 83246-0111
- Nuclear Waste Citizens Coalition
The Nuclear Waste Citizens Coalition unites 16 different groups working on various aspects of the nuclear waste problem. Our broad coalition includes anti-nuclear power groups, nuclear reactor communities, peace activists, nuclear weapons opponents, groups from contaminated DOE facilities, residents of sites targeted for nuclear waste dumps, and national environmental groups. Seven organizations have now formally joined the coalition under the new category of "Friends of NWCC." We also have close ties with the Military Production Network. For more information on us, go to Background on NWCC.
Nuclear Waste Citizens Coalition
110 Maryland Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
- Citizen Alert
Citizen Alert is a 22-year-old grassroots environmental group based in the State of Nevada, that provides education, advocacy, and empowerment to citizens on matters of environmental policy and environmental justice. They are one of Nevada's few sources of independent, critical and comprehensive information about problems vital to Nevada and its residents.
P.O. Box 17173
Las Vegas, NV 89114
(702) 796-4886 Fax
- The Energy Net / Abalone Alliance
The Abalone Alliance has been working since 1977 to promote safe renewable energy sources to nuclear energy in California.
We are committed to a permanent halt to the construction and operation of nuclear power plants in California. Nuclear power is dangerous to all life. We encourage the real alternatives of conservation and safe, clean and renewable sources of energy.
To achieve these goals, we join together from throughout the state to form the Abalone Alliance to oppose nuclear power through direct action and education.
Beginning with Diablo Canyon nuclear power reactor, our non-violent action wil be directed to existing and planned nuclear reactors in California. We will continue until nuclear power has been replaced by a sane end life-affirming energy policy.
THE ENERGY NET, For the Abalone Alliance & Ward Valley
2940 16th street #310
San Francisco, California 94103
- NIRS - Nuclear Information and Resource Service
NIRS is the information and networking center for citizens and environmental organizations concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation, and sustainable energy issues.
Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS)
1424 16th Street NW, #404
Washington, DC 20036
- Three Mile Island Alert (TMIA)
Whether or not TMI is responsible for increases in cancer rates and deaths is still making news. The final chapter on this accident won't be written for decades to come. The most recent study shows that this area suffers from increased cancer deaths attributable to the accident. It has been heavily criticized as "out of step" with all previous studies. Although the science of epidemiology is subject to the interpretation of data, TMI Alert clarifies why this study is more accurate and why the previous studies are flawed. TMIA is a non-profit organization.
Three Mile Island Alert, Inc.
315 Peffer St.
Harrisburg, PA 17102
- Utah Rad Watch
Provides information and insights into Utah's expanding role in managing the nation's radioactive wastes. Utah disposal sites now handle radioactive and mixed wastes from EPA Superfund and U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons complex cleanups, commercial low-level wastes including nuclear power plant residues, and NORM waste. As the U.S. administers the cleanup of the nation's Cold War legacy, as the utility industry searches for a home for spent fuel, and as the states and Compacts deliberate their future plans, events in Utah will continue to have far-reaching effects. Through our regularly updated news page on the World Wide Web and quarterly hard copy editions, Utah Rad Watch brings you timely news, analysis, and contributed articles and comment. Cost for a web subscription is $595 per site per year.
Utah Radiation Watch, Inc.
1015 South Gaylord Street, Suite 225
Denver, Colorado 80209
- Lost and Stolen Nuclear Materials in the United States
Includes the following sections:
Three Mile Island Alert, Inc. (a non-profit organization)
- Recent Incidents
- Contaminated Floor Scrubber Taken Home -- 1,000 Times Higher Than the Safe Level
- Bizarre Death of 82 Year Old Woman
- Radioactive Train Gets Side-tracked
- Radioactive Lighting for Sale
- Stolen Radioactive Cameras Irradiate Many at Texas Scrapyard
- The NRC and Atomic Energy Commission's Failure to Regulate
Security Committee Chairman Scott D. Portzline
c/o 315 Peffer St.
Harrisburg, PA 17102
- Radioactive Scrap
The steel industry is increasingly exposed to radioactive materials in the ferrous scrap supply. To combat the problem, steel companies have installed and use sophisticated radiation detection systems to monitor all incoming shipments of scrap, by truck, rail or vessel.
Steel Manufacturers Association
1730 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Suite 907
Washington, DC 20036-3101
Fax: (202) 296-2506
Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D, GNSH, No Immediate Danger, Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth, The Book Publishing Company -- Summertown, Tennessee, 1985, "Part One, The Problem: Nuclear Radiation and its Biological Effects", pp. 15-63.
7497 Kennedy Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Fax: 707 823-7207
EFMR Monitor, Monitoring radiation trends in the Three Mile Island area, December 1997
C-10 Research and Education Foundation
44 Merrimac Street
Newburyport, Massachusetts 01950
United States of America
Resources for anti-nuclear activists living downwind of nuclear facilities, and anyone else interested in monitoring their local nuclear polluter.
A Service of The Critical Information Project.
The goal of the Critical Information Project is to participate in the environmental and anti-nuclear movements by creating informational tools from creditable resources. These tools take the form of printed materials (pamphlets, leaflets, lists, diagrams), written articles for publication, and computer software (applications and databases). Base resources for these items include U.S. government and industry documentation, mainstream commercial publications, and movement and nontraditional materials. The Critical Information Project is not a profit-making enterprise, nor is it associated with any profit-making enterprise. Tools are provided to movement activists for free, at cost, or for barter.
Critical Information Project
377L Governor's Road
Farmington, New Hampshire 03835
United States of America
2308 Brandywine Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17110
70 Eastgate Drive
Camp Hill, PA 17011
717-730-0712 (TMI-CMN message machine w/menu -- option 5: daily radiation readings)
P.O. Box 142
Harford, PA 18823
Fax: (717) 434-9589
Replacing Cold War Competition With Environmental Cooperation
Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltic Nations, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan. Independent Environmental Monitoring Ends Decades of Government Control of Information About Pollution, Provides Open Access to Information, and Enables Victims to Become Problem-Solvers
From the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), 10/7/97
Contact: Diane D'Arrigo @ NIRS 202/328-0002
http://www.ratical.org/radiation/BNFL+DOE.html (local html copy)
http://www.nirs.org/Bnflprdd.txt (original ascii text release)
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