Alva Press, Inc.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Vermont Senate Rejects Yankee Nuclear Plant Relicensing 26-4
Dear Vermont. I am so fond of its people. And they
did it! There should be dancing in the halls:
9:17 pm est
Today the Vermont State Senate voted 26-4 against re-licensing
the Entergy Vermont Nuclear Power in Vernon, Vermont. The question will be considered again next year in preparation for a
final decision on the renewal of Entergy's license for the plant which runs out in 2012.
Perhaps you can see why.
First of all, boiling water nuclear reactors (BWRs) were built to last a reasonable length of time and the Vernon
plant is thirty-eight years old and leaking radioactive tritium into the Connecticut River. (The Connecticut bounds Vermont
on its east and New Hampshire on its west. No wonder the executive director of the Connecticut River Watershed Council
called for its temporary shut down.)
Entergy concedes that tritium is leaking into the Connecticut, but due to the amount of water rushing
by and the size of the tritium plume, so far levels in the river have been found to be acceptable. Yet consider
this: one well was found to have one hundred and thirty times the acceptable level. (Instead of a maximum of 20,000 picocuries
per liter, the level of radioactive tritium measured 2.6 million.) Hmm. I wonder if that is ominous.
there is that special quality to Vermont. Home of the Green Mountain boys. A state with a strong sense of both independence
and community. Back a couple of years ago in discussing the state's long term goals, common understandings included
the need for every resident to have internet access. Pretty forward looking. (The state is mostly Democrat and Liberal,
but Republican Governor Jim Douglas was big for that.)
And along with computer access for all, everyone talked
of going green. Really green. Water power. Solar power. Keeping the cows but reducing methane. And converting it to power
in as green a manner as possible. Which Governor Douglas also supported.
I was there two years ago and by time
students had reached sixth grade they were watching their carbon footprints and encouraging others to do so, too. I recall
fondly the little orange paper cutout of a foot they stuck to my computer to remind me to turn off my computer at night
to save electricity and reduce my carbon footprint.
Even the windmills of Vermont turn out to be not
only green and acceptable but pretty to watch.
A nation could learn from Vermont. As could the world.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
A Chance Meeting with a Hiroshima Survivor
11:17 pm est
By chance he mistook me for someone else. I was just at the
point of giving a neighbor a bookmark celebrating, Jolt: a rural noir. A slender, alert man in his seventies,
I thought, with well-cared for teeth, a ready smile, a perky cap, and a leather-like jacket with the logo of his
place of work on it.
I told him he was just in time to receive a bookmark. He accepted it graciously and commented
on Jolt, adding, "I was there, you know. Walked all over it. Hiroshima. Nakasaki."
W. was with me and I mentioned my interest in radiation sickness. I told him I wanted to include it in my next book.
We talked a bit, and then he said, "I got it you know. They didn't tell us anything. We just walked over everywhere.
Terrible sights. Charred bodies all around. I still can't get over it. It's not a sickness. It's a disease."
Asked if he would talk about it, meaning the radiation sickness, he understood me to mean the scene. He said
I was the second to ask him to do so. He wouldn't then. He wouldn't now. Too painful.
No, I told him. I meant
the sickness. Like, how did he feel?
Well, there were times like now when he felt great. But then every month or
so he had to go for chemotherapy. After that it was not so great.
He continued. "I have a lethal form of cancer,"
he stated. "I'll live about two more years . . . I wouldn't tell everyone that. But since you're writing."
So this was radiation sickness. In its aftermath. Its latermath.
I admired the man's courage. I admired his
style. I took him for much younger, but as it turned out he was eighty-two year; he read the writing on the wall yet
knew how to whistle.
I thought of the timing of the second World War. 1945. He would have been
seventeen at the time. Probably had jumped up, signed up, and gone off to the save the world at sixteen. Perhaps his father
signed for him. Or his mom.
Maybe he was one of the young sailors my dad brought home during that time to
whom my mom fed hamburgers and fruit cake and coffee. Strangers they were. But my mom said they were really just
kids and my dad brought them home to lessen their homesickness. And here was one of them. A Hiroshima
survivor with radiation sickness turned lethal cancer and a few more years left and smiling.
It had not occurred
to me that among the Hiroshima survivors were young Americans in the military, how many I couldn't guess. And probably nobody
really knows. Or tells.
Later, in the Mall, walking along, we saw a young woman soldier in desert camoflage. Probably
just back from Iraq on a visit.
Like an endless continuum it proceeds. Only the faces change.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Criticality in a Worst Case Scenario
2:27 pm est
In preparation to write my next novel, Too Close,
I am researching the potential effects of nuclear power plant criticality accidents such as might result in someone being irradiated.
To understand what would occur in such rare instances, I am reading, A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation
Sickness, NHK-TV "Tokaimura Criticality Accident" Crew, Translated by Maho Harada. It discusses the events in
the life and care of Ouchi, a critically irradiated man, injured in a probably preventable accident that
occurred on September 30, 1999, at a nuclear fuel processing plant in Tokaimura, Ibaraki, Japan. It was the first of its kind
in that country.
The first concept I needed to understand was that criticality occurs when fission chain reactions
occur continuously. When it happens, a blue light known as the Cherenkov light is generated at the site of the fission
when criticality is reached. At that moment neutron beams, the most powerful form of radioactive energy, are
released that convert the sodium in a nearby person's body into radioactive substance Sodium-24.
concept I had to understand is that while the substance Sodium-24 irradiates the cells of the affected person's body, it does
not irradiate those who come in close proximity to or touch the person. This contrasts with what one finds when a person is
covered with nuclear fallout. Nuclear fallout is made of substances such as Strontium-90 and Cesium-137. They do
give off radiation causing the risk of radiation exposure when those attending them touch or breathe in the radioactive
materials from a patient's body or clothes.
Were the irradiation to have been caused by fallout therefore,
before unprotected treatment could begin, the person so affected would have to be decontaminated by a thorough washing
with soap and water. But in Ouchi's instance, this strong, healthy-looking man who was, so to speak, dying from the inside
out, from the first was safely both approachable and touchable. The fact there was no risk was a reality many of
the staff had to struggle to accept. Nonetheless, they did, and Ouchi's care was relentlessly of the highest
medical and personal quality.
As the criticality accident was the first of its kind in Japan, no
one in the country had other than a theoretical knowledge of the best treatment protocol for Ouchi. Because of this, an enormous
team composed of all kinds of medical specialists was gathered to collect data on Oushi's condition daily and to
determine the best course of treatment. This they did out of a combination of disbelief, untried hope based on what they
knew theoretically, and humanism facing the edge of life with inadequate experience.
The case had had
no precedent on which to build a protocol. They did what they could with what they knew. But from the beginning, the odds
were against them.
From previous study I know that the most important information in treating radiation sickness
is the exposure level experienced by the patient. According to this book, radiation levels of above 8 sieverts (8 Sv) result
in a mortality rate of one hundred per cent. Ouchi's exposure level was estimated as being at about 20 Sv, approximately 20,000
times the amount of exposure we can individually tolerate in a year. The telltale symptom of almost immediate vomiting and
passing out following Ouchi's exposure would have been a first alert to any informed doctor.
Well, I shall
continue reading the story of Ouchi and his treatment for the purpose of better understanding the most severe effects of radiation
sickness. However, as the numbers of persons likely to be so affected in a nuclear meltdown would be small, I have decided
to write about one or more persons who are irradiated less and to an extent that permits them to survive. In that way,
I hope to tell not only a more gentle story, but also an informative one that might help the reader understand what he
or she might do in the way of home care for a loved one less severely affected were the necessity ever to present itself.
I want to do this because were there ever a larger, real event in which radiation from any cause--meltdown criticality, dirty
bombs, or other--it would be likely the hospitals would be overrun and those who survived and were in need of help would best
be tended to at home.
Roberta M. Roy incorporated Alva Press www.alvapressinc.com on October 5, 2004. The express purpose of Alva Press, Inc., was to ensure a safe venue for
the publication of her works and those with similar focus. As such, upon the completion of the science
fiction novel Jolt: a rural noir, Alva would immediately publish it. Further Alva Press, Inc., would offer a
venue for Roy to publish her children's books, including Yell'n'Tell. (At this point Yell'n'Tell needs
only design as the watercolor illustrations by Dan Dyen are complete and the text fully edited. But then there is also Wedding
Ready, complete, but in need of an illustrator talented in the art of drawing forest animals. But all that anon.)
Currently, until the soft cover version of Jolt's Library of Congress Number
is in, Jolt waits to go to press. Usually the LCN takes but a few days after which will become available in hard cover
at $24.95 and Trade paper at $14.95 (plus $5.50 mailing).
was some five years in the writing; its research took longer. It's scientific basis for nuclear survival has been
carefully reviewed by oncologists and experts in the effects of ionizing radiation for accuracy of representation. Jolt
is a fast-paced novel that spans two years in the lives of a group of diverse urban, suburban, and rural residents brought
together in an imaginary part of the northern United States. There in Locklee, the small town to which those who are forced
emigrants flee, they become mutually caught up in the necessities associated with post-nuclear survival.
Check www.alvapressinc.com for a more thorough review of Jolt as well as the most recent updates on its publication
and availability. And should you be so inclined and care to help defray the last payment of its first printing, a check
in the mail to Alva Press for your very own pre-publication autographed copy of Jolt: a rural noir would be a
Thinking of self-publishing? Emergency response?
Send your questions, comments or ideas to RobertaMRoy@alvapressinc.com
With your permission, we may choose
to publish on this web site, questions posed of particular interest to the community with your or our
haven't ordered your prepublication copy of Jolt: a rural noir, now is the time to do. Go to www.alvapressinc.com |
Alva Press, Inc., Guest Idea Share
By joining Alva's Guest Share you will be
- Able to comment on weblog entries
- Share helpful Emergency Response tips
- Ask questions related to community health and safety
Do click in now! We'd love to
1) If you walk out uninjured from a nuclear event, you probably will survive.
bywords to survival from
a nuclear event are TDS: Time,
3) Use regular soap and water to decontaminate from fallout.Strip and shower or cleanse as best you can. Use bread.
4) Nuclear fallout contaminates open water and plants.If there is fallout (ashes),use bottled water and canned goods.
5) Babies as well as adults can take Potassium Iodide (KI) to protectthe thyroid against ionizing radiation.
6) There is no plume with a nuclear power plant meltdown.
7) A large event may seem ‘over there’ if you can’t define its impact.Ionizing radiation is invisible.
8) A family needs an escape plan.
9) A community can respond as a team to mass events.
10) After a mass event, a communitymay heal changed but well.
Alva Press, Inc., PO Box 2089, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA
Telephone (919) 239-3791 Phone/Fax (845) 454-5200