Welcome to Part 4 of the long-awaited Nuked Radio Special on The Wigner Effect, with Leuren Moret and Laurens Battis. Over the next few weeks we will be posting a series of articles that will address the following question from a multitude of perspectives:
Is Fukushima Radiation causing problems with aviation and infrastructure?
Part 1 in the series introduced my guests, and gave an overall view of what the Wigner effect is, and how entropy figures in when we are discussing the escalation of flight emergencies and radiation, from an engineering and data collection standpoint.
Part 2 in the series addressed metal and glass – from nuclear reactors to aircraft – and the historic evidence of radiation-induced damage known in the field of materials science.
Part 3 in the series discussed the recent viral story about American Airlines flight 2293, whose cabin walls began ripping apart after takeoff. We also revisited a nuclear story of the past, when weapons testing pitted car windshields from coast-to-coast; and perhaps even more importantly, how authorities dealt with public perception.
In part 4, Leuren Moret will explain at a cellular level what radiation exposure does to humans – and what pilots, flight crews, and frequent fliers can expect to see from repeated exposure when flying through fallout. Leuren will also explain how Gulf War Syndrome became one of the largest cover ups in the history of the U.S. Armed Forces from the illegal use of Depleted Uranium during the Gulf War, the Invasion of Iraq, and the ongoing Operation “Enduring Freedom” in Afganistan. The wide array of health effects experienced by not only our troops but the people who inhabit this region was covered extensively in the 2005 documentary “Beyond Treason” featuring both Leuren and former U.S. Army Health Physicist and Nuclear Science Medicine Officer, Dr Doug Rokke.
Like Man, like Machine
In the fall of 2011, I was contacted by a flight attendant working out of the Seattle-Tacoma airport who shared her concerns about various illnesses that were affecting pilots and flight crews. That one conversation is what set in motion the extensive research into “Airline Anomalies” and ultimately, this current series on “The Wigner Effect.” It had become increasingly obvious in the past 3 years that something was causing a significant increase in pilots who were experiencing medical emergencies during flights. I was able to find only 6 documented cases of pilots passing out mid-flight in the 7 years pre-Fukushima, but 17 events involving 19 pilots in the past 3 years post-Fukushima. This information does not include medical emergencies that resulted in crashes, or the 11 military pilots that passed out flying F-22’s in 2012. While researching the “fallout” of health effects, something else became strikingly obvious: that flight emergencies due to mechanical issues were also on the rise, almost exponentially. What we already know from the study of public health is that whenever there is a significant increase in sickness and that increase affects a large geographical area, it is always from an environmental cause. Would the same be true for sick pilots, and planes falling apart?
In February of 2014 I finally had enough data to interview with Alfred Weber of Exopolitics on the health issues surrounding pilots and flight crews. The day after the interview with Alfred, I started assembling what I needed to attempt to understand what connection Fukushima may have to mechanical issues on planes. The NTSB does not keep records of in-flight medical emergencies, unless it results in a crash. Since we have no way to research this further by compiled data, we must do so by meticulous web searches, by both year and by each individual airport. While collecting stories about pilots passing out, Leuren and I had started to collect mechanical emergencies that may have been caused by ionizing radiation. Ionization is the process in which a charged portion of a molecule (usually an electron) is given enough energy to break away from the atom. This process results in the formation of two charged particles or ions: the molecule with a net positive charge, and the free electron with a negative charge. Each ionization releases approximately 33 electron volts (eV) of energy. Material surrounding the atom absorbs the energy. Compared to other types of radiation that may be absorbed, ionizing radiation deposits a large amount of energy into a small area. In fact, the 33 eV from one ionization is more than enough energy to disrupt the chemical bond between two carbon atoms. All ionizing radiation is capable, directly or indirectly, of removing electrons from most molecules. The Wigner effect, also known as the discomposition effect, is the displacement of atoms in a solid caused by neutron radiation. And as Laurens Battis stated in a previous segment of our interview, “Wigner affects everything.”
We knew that the Fukushima Accident had resulted in a massive release of radionuclides into our biosphere. We also knew that releases continue from the plant via steam events, and the endless pouring of massive amounts of water on the reactors and pools, which makes its way to the Pacific Ocean. What we hadn’t realized until seeing the statistically significant increase of the pilot’s health data, the work of P. E. Wigner, and the increase in mechanical emergencies during flights, was that much like the bioaccumulation of radiation in the human body with subsequent degenerative effects, metal and materials experienced similar discomposition effects. None of this is new, because for as long as we have been able to fly, aircraft – and flight crews – have been exposed to radiation from cosmic sources. What is new, is the massive amount of radiation in our biosphere from the Fukushima Accident.
Radiation dose levels represent a complex function of duration of flight, latitude, and altitude. During normal solar activity, pre-Fukushima radiation levels at 10-11 kilometers cruise altitude are about 2-3 uSv/h, which is 20 to 30 times the radiation you’re exposed to on the ground. Thus, you get about the same dose as from 1-2 chest x-rays if you fly for 11 hours, but distributed to all of your body – not just the chest.
Based on data collected for the study “Evaluation of the cosmic-radiation exposures of flight attendants” radiation dose levels that would be experienced by a flight crew are well below current occupational limits recommended by the ICRP and the FAA of 20,000 uSv y-1. However, this is based on old data that was collected prior to 2000, 11 years before the Fukushima Accident. Only flight crews flying both a large number of hours during pregnancy (for example, 100 hours in a month) and strictly the highest dose-rate routes (typically global routes such as United States to Buenos Aires or United States to Tokyo) would exceed the NCRP monthly guideline.
In order to thoroughly and adequately asses what flight crews are exposed to post-Fukushima, dosimeters would need to be worn on each and every flight from this point forward. To keep this process honest, the dosimeter would only be collected by an independent organization tasked with the responsibility of protecting, studying, and sharing this data.
Similarly, in order to thoroughly and adequately asses what aircraft are exposed to post-Fukushima, a third “black box” would need to be placed onboard; a radiation-measuring device that logs the cumulative exposure of radiation on each individual aircraft. Again, to keep this process honest, the device would only be accessible by an independent organization tasked with the responsibility of protecting, studying, and sharing this data.
To my knowledge, there has never been a study in the entire history of aviation that examines the cumulative effect of radiation on an aircraft, or any of its various components.
To understand the concepts being presented, it is important to learn and understand these 2 terms: synergy and the multiplier effect.
- A dynamic state in which combined action is favored over the difference of individual component actions.
- Behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately, known as emergent behavior.
- The cooperative action of two or more stimuli, resulting in a different or greater response than that of the individual stimuli.
However, when discussing the health effects or Wigner Effects, synergistic effects will have a compounding harmful – or negative effect – on an organism or material.
The multiplier effect or force multiplier refers to a factor that dramatically increases (hence “multiplies”) the effectiveness of an item or group.
It has been well-established that radiation exposure is extremely bad for health, but when you add-in the combined effect of other factors or variables, you see the degeneration/discomposition occur with greater frequency, and on a significantly shorter timeline. Consider a person’s geographic location as one example of added exposure, such as a frequent flier that also lives near Hanford, the most contaminated place in the United States. The frequent flier probably has an existing exposure syndrome which may not even be recognized, or is dismissed as something “socially acceptable” because so many others in the community suffer the same problems (i.e. loosing teeth, skin rashes, increased cancer rates, etc). Flying through the now additional fallout from Fukushima puts that particular person’s health over the edge much further and faster than someone who does not live near Hanford, or directly downwind of any of the nation’s 100+ nuclear reactors. Other factors for frequent fliers would be age, genetic predisposition, number of X-rays, TSA scanner-exams, and body chemistry to name just a few – with additional force multipliers for polar routes, and flying during the months after the initial accident at Fukushima when the plumes were their most severe. As you can see, things can get complicated fast. One must also take into account that 2 people exposed to an identical force multiplier may yield different outcomes. This is the reason that identical twins are the most sought after group for clinical research without force multipliers. This becomes increasingly important when studying the complexities of health-related issues across an individual’s lifespan. When one identical twin develops a disease but the other doesn’t – or one twin adopts a particular lifestyle that’s completely different to the other – researchers can learn valuable information about environmental risk factors, or more importantly – how to mitigate those factors.
Which leads us to another massive contributor to the multiplier effect: toxins in the environment. Radiation plus chemicals has an effect on the body that is many times worse than if the person was exposed to just radiation, or just chemicals alone (see: Malibu High School as an example). Although there are many people with expertise in radiation or toxins, the multiplier effect or synergistic effects of radiation plus other things is of even greater importance when it comes to human health, when negative outcomes can be dozens, hundreds, or even millions of times worse depending on just one seemingly small factor. In seeing the similarities in both degeneration of health and discomposition of materials when it comes to radiation exposure, it appears we should be also paying attention to this in terms of materials science , and the effects that radiation may be having on the integrity of aircraft.
Gulf War Syndrome
Gulf War syndrome is a chronic multisymptom disorder affecting returning military veterans and civilian workers of the Gulf War. A wide range of acute and chronic symptoms have been linked to it, including fatigue, muscle pain, cognitive problems, rashes and diarrhea. Approximately 250,000 of the 697,000 U.S. veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War are afflicted with enduring chronic multi-symptom illness. From 1995 to 2005, the health of combat veterans worsened in comparison with nondeployed veterans, with the onset of more new chronic diseases, functional impairment, repeated clinic visits and hospitalizations, chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness, post traumatic stress disorder, and greater persistence of adverse health incidents. According to a report by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan also suffer from the syndrome.
Suggested causes have included depleted uranium, sarin gas, smoke from burning oil wells, vaccinations, combat stress and psychological factors. Multiplier effect, anyone?
“Since 1991, the United States has staged four wars using depleted uranium weaponry, illegal under all international treaties, conventions and agreements, as well as under the US military law. The continued use of this illegal radioactive weaponry, which has already contaminated vast regions with low-level radiation and will contaminate other parts of the world over time, is indeed a world affair and an international issue. The deeper purpose is revealed by comparing regions now contaminated with depleted uranium — from Egypt, the Middle East, Central Asia and the northern half of India — to the US geostrategic imperatives described in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 book The Grand Chessboard.
Extensive carpet bombing, grid bombing, and the frequent use of missiles and depleted uranium bullets on buildings in densely populated areas has occurred in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. The discovery that bomb craters in Yugoslavia in 1999 were radioactive, and that an unexploded missile in 1999 contained a depleted uranium warhead, implies that the total amount of depleted uranium used since 1991 has been greatly underestimated. Of even greater concern, is that 100 per cent of the depleted uranium in bombs and missiles is aerosolized upon impact and immediately released into the atmosphere. This amount can be as much as 1.5 tons in the large bombs. In bullets and cannon shells, the amount aerosolized is 40-70 per cent, leaving pieces and unexploded shells in the environment, to provide new sources of radioactive dust and contamination of the groundwater from dissolved depleted uranium metal long after the battles are over, as reported in a 2003 report by the UN Environmental Program on Yugoslavia. Considering that the US has admitted using 34 tons of depleted uranium from bullets and cannon shells in Yugoslavia, and the fact that 35,000 NATO bombing missions occurred there in 1999, potentially the amount of depleted uranium contaminating Yugoslavia and transboundary drift into surrounding countries is staggering.
Because of mysterious illnesses and post-war birth defects reported among Gulf War veterans and civilians in southern Iraq, and radiation related illnesses in UN Peacekeepers serving in Yugoslavia, growing concerns about radiation effects and environmental damage has stirred up international outrage about the use of radioactive weapons by the US after 1991. At the 2003 meeting of parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, discussing the U.S. desire to maintain its nuclear weapons stockpile, the Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi AKIBA stated,
“It is incumbent upon the rest of the world … to stand up now and tell all of our military leaders that we refuse to be threatened or protected by nuclear weapons. We refuse to live in a world of continually recycled fear and hatred”.
Nearly 700,000 American Gulf War Veterans returned to the US from a war that lasted just a few weeks. Today more than 240,000 of those soldiers are on permanent medical disability, and over 11,000 are dead. In a US Government study on post-Gulf War babies born to 251 veterans, 67 per cent of the babies were reported to have serious illnesses or serious birth defects. They were born without eyes, ears, had missing organs, fused fingers, thyroid or other malfunctions. Depleted uranium in the semen of the soldiers internally contaminated their wives. Severe birth defects have been reported in babies born to contaminated civilians in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan and the incidence and severity of defects is increasing over time. Women in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq are afraid now to have babies, and when they do give birth, instead of asking if it is a girl or a boy, they ask ‘is it normal?’”
“Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.”
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
With that introduction, here is the 5th video in the Wigner Effect series, with possibly the most astute explanation of radiation effects on cellular biology that you will ever hear, from the brilliant mind of Leuren Moret.
5: From Cells to Soldiers: Health Effects of Radiation[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meOaJglmO4U]
Next in the Series: Wigner on Earth ~ The Dust of Death
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