The recent Japanese nuclear power plant meltdown has spurred scientists on to find better ways to detect radiation. They could also use these methods to search for countries (like Iran) that are secretly making nuclear weapons–as well as terrorists who want to use "dirty bombs." The International Atomic Energy Agency mandates nuclear safeguard systems to on these reactors, but one thing they DON’T show is how much plutonium or uranium is present in the fuel rods of these reactors, some of which could be diverted to use for manufacturing weapons. With nuclear reactors supplying large amounts of the power used on this planet–especially in Europe–this is not a small problem.
The French research group on radioactivity CRIIRAD is warning that the risks associated with iodine-131 contamination in Europe from the Japanese nuclear power plant meltdowns are no longer "negligible," and are advising pregnant women and infants against not to drink fresh milk or eat leafy vegetables. Should we be cautious here in the US as well?
We earlier reported that US milk is safe to drink, but new evidence shows this may not be true: The EPA reports that radiation from Japan has been detected in drinking water in several American cities, and cesium-137 has been found in American milk from Vermont for the first time since the Japan nuclear meltdown began.
The EPA is considering raising the levels of Iodine-131 it claims are safe by revising ‘Protective Action Guides’ that identify safety limits. It is being proposed within EPA that the level considered safe be raised up to a hundred thousand times levels currently considered safe. In effect, this would mean that a single glass of water could contain as much iodine-131 radiation as was previously considered a lifetime limit, according to the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility watchdog group. The radiation arm of EPA, called the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (ORIA), has prepared an update of the 1992 “Protective Action Guides” (PAG) governing radiation protection decisions for both short-term and long-term cleanup standards.