In the wake of this morning's amber alert sent out at 7:23am EST to residents of Ontario warning that people within 10km of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station that an incident was reported, I want to provide what is known about how to mitigate the risk of nuclear radiation holistically. It's beneficial info to store in the mind closet as a precaution. The alert goes on to state there has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity and we DO NOT need to take emergency measures... and to stay tuned in to local media, which, it presumes, if things escalate, will have accurate and timely info and be able to get it out to the public.
In response to this morning's events, many politicians have responded with a call for an investigation and greater clarity:
"Like many of you, I was very troubled to have received that emergency alert this morning. While I am relieved that there was no actual emergency, I am upset that an error such as this occurred. I have spoken to the Province, and am demanding that a full investigation take place." @mayordaveryan
If history has taught us anything about nuclear adverse incidents, it's that
a) decision makers do not generally get accurate / complete info to the public in a timely way and
b) small problems/mistakes can escalate quickly to very catastrophic levels
For a brief rundown of Nuclear reactor adverse events worldwide, there is a summary blog post here: https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/brief-history-nuclear-accidents-worldwide
and another here:
The debate on the environmental safety of nuclear reactors as a replacement for fossil fuel power generation has been wildly debated. In a blog post titled The 7 Reasons why nuclear energy is not the answer to solve climate change, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Director of the Atmosphere/ Energy Program at Stanford University, Mark Z. Jacobson (@mzjacobson) says:
"To date, 1.5% of all nuclear power plants ever built have melted down to some degree. Meltdowns have been either catastrophic (Chernobyl, Russia in 1986; three reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi, Japan in 2011) or damaging (Three-Mile Island, Pennsylvania in 1979; Saint-Laurent France in 1980). The nuclear industry has proposed new reactor designs that they suggest are safer. However, these designs are generally untested, and there is no guarantee that the reactors will be designed, built and operated correctly or that a natural disaster or act of terrorism, such as an airplane flown into a reactor, will not cause the reactor to fail, resulting in a major disaster."
Jacobson also speaks to the potential of nuclear weapons proliferation and the safety issues associated with mining the necessary elements to make nuclear energy, not to mention the cost, planning, and safety precautions that must go into nuclear power to keep the risks down. You can read the full post here.
For an equally sobering look at nuclear energy as a not-so-wonderful solution to the climate crises, you may want to look here or here. For a post on the benefits of switching to renewable energy you can read here. For a post on the benefits of nuclear energy, you can read here.
Herein though, we are going to explore the topic of the risks citizens can mitigate on their own. Obviously, if there is a meltdown and IF you have been openly told of it and given any notice at all, get the F#!% out of dodge. Get the kids, the pets, the spouse, the essentials and scram, Sam, as far away as you can, man.
But in the event that there IS a leak that IS disclosed (could happen, maybe), or you happen to live close to a power generator - which you are told is perfectly safe prior to the build, and just think of all the jobs... but then 20 years later come to find out that #woopsie, the soil (and ground water, presumably) are contaminated with radioactive waste material and yeah, guess somebody'll need to figure out how to clean that up - it might be a good idea to know the precautions you can take to protect yourself and your family from radiation damage preventatively.
The best data on this issue emerges out of Japan, following the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombs. The research showed a huge increase in adult onset thyroid cancers, nodules, and auto-immune disease.
The extent or range of the damage is problematic to identify because decades later, how do you know what is related to the blasts and to what degree the radiation played a role? People don't exist in a vacuum. And neither does contaminated air or water, for that matter. A few studies show there is a definitive link to thyroid and autoimmune disorders, but we don't yet know how much or how extensive this is. How far away are people affected? Do certain populations have increased sensitivity? We don't know. But we clinicians do recognize there has been a huge increase in incidence in thyroid disorders among our adult female clients from South Asian countries. But this emerges from conversations with other practitioners and I have not seen any "data" pertaining to this.
So What Can You Do?
There are dietary interventions that have been identified and studied by Japanese blast survivors in the medical profession. You will remember there were 2 bombs dropped on August 9, 1945, the first in Hiroshima and the second in Nagasaki. A doctor residing in Nagasaki with a clinic close to the blast site and within the danger radius (1.4km away) was asymptomatic and noticed all his colleagues were as well, despite people developing horrible tumours and radiation poisoning (if they didn't die almost immediately) all around them. He wrote about it extensively. An excerpt from a PDF on their diet, in which MISO is named as the primary protective factor:
The late Dr. Akizuki, a medical doctor in Nagasaki at the time of the bombing, survived and served to help the injured. He observed that these survivors had a common diet practice, which was a traditional Japanese diet enriched with Miso. Dr. Akizuki unfortunately passed away in 2005, but I was able to interview Mrs. Akizuki, as well as other atomic bomb survivors, a total of 30 people, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while I was in Japan in the summer of 2006. Utilizing the interview data, this study will examine atomic bomb survivors’ dietary history for the purpose of qualitatively discussing the relationship between traditional Japanese food enriched with Miso and their health conditions after exposure to the atomic bomb.
For the full PDF go here.
The doctor did not have medical supplies and was observing as people died of radiation exposure, trying to do what he could to help. He was 29 at the time and all he had to offer patients was dietary counsel. He ate vegetables, Miso, seaweed, soy sauce, and brown rice, and no processed foods or sugars. He later came to believe the diet was a huge factor in protecting those in the clinic. He felt in particular the Miso and probiotics it contains were of benefit.
Other sources talk about the seaweed as an important factor. What we do know is that potassium iodide can fill the receptors in the thyroid so that radiation is not taken up in those receptors. Kelp contains iodine 127, which prevents the body from absorbing radioactive iodine 131, which is what is released during a blast, leak, or meltdown, and arguably, as a result of normal nuclear manufacturing. You can include iodine 127 in your regular diet by eating kelp.
The nutrients you need to protect yourself, are:
Miso protects the gut biome and the immune system with its probiotics. Get aged miso at your healthfood store and stir it into hot, not boiling water.
Iodine protects against radioactive iodine 131 by filling receptors with "good iodione" iodine. Protects the thyroid gland. Iodine tablets can be used in emergency but best to get a daily dose of kelp and sea salt.
Potassium protects against cesium-137, as they have the same chemistry. Both are rapidly taken up into cells. Potassium orotate is a good potassium supplement but you can also eat potassium rich foods.
Calcium protects against strontium-90; Strontium-90 has the same chemistry as calcium, which means it's taken up by your teeth and bones. Supplement with calcium which lowers strontium absorption by up to 90%. Calcium goes hand in hand with Magnesium, so it's best to supplement both, especially since we are almost all deficient in Mg. I recommend epsom salts baths regularly to increase intake of Mg.
Iron supplements prevent the uptake of Plutonium-239 which affects your lungs and bones and has a half-life of a terrifying 24,000 years. Take it daily during exposure, but not as a long term option. Floradix is the best iron supplement I have found, or as an alternative take homeopathic tissue salts.
Vitamin B12 protects the body from exposure to Cobalt-60, which penetrates human skin and tissue. Methylcobalamin is the preferred form and you can get it in dissolving tablets. This is essential for vegetarians and vegans or anyone who has low stomach acid.
Cilantro protects the body from heavy metals. Clinatro naturally chelates (pulls) heavy metals from the body. I include it in my daily miso.
Saunas protect the body from heavy metals. When you use infrared and near infrared saunas you draw heavy metals out of the body safely. These are excellent ways to keep the body from accumulating toxins.
Clays Bentonite and Diatomite protect the body from heavy metals and intestinal toxins. They are very effective in chelating and removing toxins from the colon, including heavy metals from radiation. These are best taken in rotation as advised by a health practitioner.
Clean water helps remove toxins from the body. The only system I know of to remove radiation is RO, but remember you need to remineralize RO water before consuming it or feeding it to plants.
For an even more extensive list, you can visit this blog for a great post on preentative / protective measures:
Public health officials at the CDC warn that taking potassium iodide supplements have risks, but hand them out in emergencies after radiation as a protective measure:
People should take KI (potassium iodide) only on the advice of public health or emergency management officials. There are health risks associated with taking KI. KI (potassium iodide) does not keep radioactive iodine from entering the body and cannot reverse the health effects caused by radioactive iodine once the thyroid is damaged.
KI (potassium iodide) only protects the thyroid, not other parts of the body, from radioactive iodine.
KI (potassium iodide) cannot protect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine—if radioactive iodine is not present, taking KI is not protective and could cause harm.
Table salt and foods rich in iodine do not contain enough iodine to block radioactive iodine from getting into your thyroid gland. Do not use table salt or food as a substitute for KI.
Do not use dietary supplements that contain iodine in the place of KI (potassium iodide). They can be harmful and non-efficacious. Only use products that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The thyroid gland cannot tell the difference between stable and radioactive iodine. It will absorb both.
KI (potassium iodide) blocks radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid. When a person takes KI, the stable iodine in the medicine gets absorbed by the thyroid. Because KI contains so much stable iodine, the thyroid gland becomes “full” and cannot absorb any more iodine—either stable or radioactive—for the next 24 hours.
KI (potassium iodide) may not give a person 100% protection against radioactive iodine. Protection will increase depending on three factors.
Time after contamination: The sooner a person takes KI, the more time the thyroid will have to “fill up” with stable iodine.Absorption: The amount of stable iodine that gets to the thyroid depends on how fast KI is absorbed into the blood.Dose of radioactive iodine: Minimizing the total amount of radioactive iodine a person is exposed to will lower the amount of harmful radioactive iodine the thyroid can absorb.
I keep these tablets on hand in case of emergency and always start my day with a cup of miso, with an egg and diced cilantro whisked in. Even better if it's added to bone broth. The benefits of MISO and kelp are so many, and it's a delicious broth. If, like me, you don't like kelp you can take it in tablet form or in your daily greens.
Here's hoping you never need to use this except for longevity and good health!