tähän mennessä tapahtunut / happened so far:

Ranua Rescue -kampanja sai alkunsa heinäkuussa 2009 Tervolassa, Etelä-Lapissa, järjestetyllä kansainvälisellä "Ei uraanivoimaa /no uranium power" -leirillä, jonka järjestävänä tahona oli Ydinvoimavapaa Suomi / Nuclear Free Finland -verkosto. VIDEO Tervolan leiristä täällä. Video from Tervola "No Uranium Power" -camp can be found here.
Ranua Rescue on Suomen ensimmäinen maastoon jalkautunut uraanikaivossuunnitelmia vastustava kampanja. Arevan toimia tarkkaileva leiri pystytettiin Asentolamminojalle elokuussa 2009. Kampanjan puitteissa on järjestetty AREVAn Ranuan suunnitelmia vastustavia mielenosoituksia ympäri Suomen sekä muualla Euroopassa, Suomen uraanikaivostilanteesta kertovia infotilaisuuksia sekä uraanikaivosten vaikutuksia käsittelevä seminaari Ranualla 7.11.2009 - jonka yhteydessä järjestettiin myös Ranuan historian suurin (80 hlöä) ja värikkäin mielenosoitus. Ranuan tilanteesta ja uraanikaivoksista on tiedotettu tukikeikoilla, elokuvailloissa ja muissa tapahtumissa useilla muilla paikkakunnilla Suomessa. Ranua Rescuen leiri päätettiin laittaa talviteloille joulukuun alussa, sillä silloin alkoi työ - ja elinkeinoministeriön antaman valtauspäätöksen pitkä odottelu. Kaivosyhtiö vaihtui vapun aattona 30.4.2010 kauppojen myötä AREVAsta kanadalaiseksi Mawson Resources Limited:iksi.Päätöstä valtausoikeudesta ei ole vielä tehty.
Lue lisää blogistamme!
This blog is written both in Finnish and English. English texts written in this colour. Check also our links and news ------>
Canadian uranium mining company Mawson Resources Limited is threatening to poison vast areas in Finnish Lapland by uranium mining. Ranua Rescue campaign started on summer 2009 to stop uranium prospecting in Ranua, a municipality in Southern Lapland. The campaign is internationally oriented and in addition to having a camp in Ranua has arranged demonstrations, info-nights, seminars and support gigs in many cities in Finland to draw attention to the destructing sides uranium mining - an issue hardly discussed in Finland.
Meidät löytää myös Facebookista! You can also find us in Facebook! Here is a video from Ranua Rescue camp (Aug 2009-Dec 2009).

lauantai 14. marraskuuta 2009

Health Effects of Uranium Mining in Workers and Residents and the Experience in Germany

Ranua, November 7, 2009

Prof. Dr. Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake, Hannover, Germany, ingesf@uni-bremen.de
German Society of Radiation Protection

Ladies and gentlemen,
I am a physicist and worked for some decades in the field of radiation dosimetry and radiation protection at the university of Bremen. I was also involved in cases at court of potential radiation-induced diseases after occupational exposure. After my retirement from the university in 2000 I continued my efforts in the German Society of Radiation Protection which is a NGO, a non govermental and non-profit group. One of the aims is to support victims of occupational exposures as for instance those from uranium mining in the former German Democratic Republic in Eastern Germany.
Victims of occupational exposures in Germany are not well situated in our experience because compensation of occupational diseases has to be done by a trade association called “Berufs-genossenschaften” which are to be organized and supplied by the employers. The physicians who have to evaluate the disease of the worker as occupational are usually not independent if occupied in one of those great enterprises which have their own company doctors. This is the case in nuclear enterprises.
Moreover, there is a great deficit in accepting the health effects by low dose exposures of ionizing radiation for historical reasons. It is well known that the so-called peaceful use of nuclear energy followed the development of the atomic bomb. Many experiments about the health effects of nuclear radiation in the early period were done under military auspices and the results were kept a secret for decades in order not to disturb the use of this technique. There was always consent in this field between the Western and the Eastern world also during the time of the Cold War, and on conferences you heard the same phrases about negligible damages if keeping the radioactive rays in the limits which they propose.
Such rare concordance between the interests of the Western nations and the former Soviet Union and its satelletites was continued up to now. An example is the international official denial of Chernobyl damages in large populations which is also adopted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – against local and well documented scientific evidences (Busby 2009; Pflugbeil 2006). The international public is certainly convinced that the WHO is an independant institution which has the only aim to identify health risks for the people and to serve for protection and prevention. But that is not the whole truth.
In 1956 the United Nations organisation (UN) founded the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as an institution to promote the world-wide introduction of nuclear power for industrial purposes with their head quarter in Vienna. They are also engaged in exchanging information about the side-effects for health, but, of course, in order to maintain the benefits of these techniques. This organisation made an agreement with the WHO which is also a foundation of the UN.
This contract between IAEA and WHO reduces the evaluation of radiation risks to concordance with the promotion of nuclear power, see below:
Agreement between WHO and IAEA
[Res. WHA 12/40 from 05.28.1959]:
Article I – Co-operation and Consultation
I.1.“..............they will act in close co-operation with each other and will consult each other regurlarly in regard to matters of common interest.”
I.2.”..............it is recognized by the WHO that the IAEA has the primary responsibility for encouraging, assisting, and co-ordinating research on, and development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses ......”
Article III – Exchange of Information and Documents
III.1.”The IAEA and the WHO recognize that they may find it necessary to apply certain limitations for the safeguarding of confidential information furnished to them...........”

You may know that the German government decided some years ago to get out of nuclear power when cancellor Schröder of the Social-democratic Party held a coalition with the Green Party. There are now forces to cancel that law with the well-known argument that nuclear power saves the climate. They say that German nuclear plants are safe and that nobody here has ever been damaged by these. They forget, however, that there are working places which produced without official doubt high numbers of victims, those are the locations where the uranium is gained which is necessary also in German nuclear power plants.
What are the aims and the problems of uranium mining? One wants to gain the isotope uranium-235 which is suitable for nuclear fission. (Nuclear fission delivers the desired energy). It is, however, only 0.7 % of the uranium in natural composition.
Therefore, one has to gain a lot of uranium ore. The highest amount of radioactivity in uranium ore is given by the main isotope uranium-238 (Table 1).
Table 1 Natural decay chain of uranium-238

Nuclide Half-life Radiation Relative activity
Uranium 238 4,5 109y a g 100
Th 234 24 d ß g ²
Pa 234m 1,2 m ß g 100
U 234 2,5 105y a g 100
Th 230 8,0 104y a g ²
Radium 226 1622 y a g 100
Radon 222 3,8 d a 100
Po 218 3,05 m a ²
Pb 214 26,8 m ß g ²
Bi 214 19,7 m ß ²
Po 214 1,6 10-4s a g ²
Tl 210 1,3 m ß g ²
Pb 210 22 y ß g ²
Bi 210 5,0 d ß ²
Po 210 138 d a ²
Tl 206 4,2 m ß ²
Pb 206 stable

Uranium-238 is not only radiating itself but also produced a series of radioactive daughter elements which all are existing in the ore. The main problems for the surroundings of the ore are radium and radon, because radium binds easily to soluble substances and will be washed out by rain and goes to ground water. Radon is gaseous und leaves the mineral at open surfaces and is in the air to be inhaled. Its half-life is only short, 3.8 days, but it is continuously produced again by radium.
The radiations of the nuclides in Table 1 are alpha-, beta- and gamma-rays. Gamma-rays are penetrating matter, they are very similar to x-rays. Beta- and alpha-rays are high energetic particles with electrical charge. All these rays produce mutations in tissues.
Alpha-rays are of high biological effectiveness if they can get into the body via the lungs or into the stomach. Fig.1 shows tracks of single alpha particles sent out by radium. The path length in air is some centimeters, in tissue it would be only 1/1000 of that: some 10 micrometers. They are only dangerous if incorporated.
One of the greatest uranium mining enterprises of the world was situated in Eastern Germany called “Wismut” (after the chemical element bismuth). It started soon after the second World War in 1946 as a Russian military corporation, later it was a Russian-German corporation. It was closed in 1990, because the best places were exhausted and further extraction would not be profitable anymore in concurrence to other sites.
Fig.1 Alpha particles emitted by a radium sample in a cloud chamber

The total extracted mineral mass in a gigantic area between 1946 and 1990 was 1,200 million tons. 200 millions of these were processed. You know, the ore is broken and then ground in mills, and then the whole uranium is chemically extracted. This was done also at the Wismut-corporation and is certainly planned here also.
1000 million tons of ores and minerals were deposited as tailings.
It may be of interest for you that part of the mining was done in open-cast, not underground.
About 500,000 persons had worked in the plant. Until 1990 about 15,000 cases of silicosis and 5,600 cases of lung cancer were accepted as professional disease (Brüske-Hohlfeld 1996).
After 1990 (Unification) started a recultivation program of about 7.5 billion EUR (!) payed by the public funds, which is now regarded as finished.
WISMUT had been a state in the state, with some privileges for the miners, and with an own health service system. The ill miners and their families had to consult exclusively the physicians of the mining corporation. These physicians had to keep their knowlegde as secret. The radiation protection was also solely handled and surveyed by experts of the corporation.
The chief medical authority and leading radiation protection expert had been coworker of the “Stasi”, the Security Service in Eastern Germany. He had to control, that nobody could publish informations about the radiological situation around the mining.
After the German re-unification this man received a very good position in the public health system of whole Germany and was the main source of informations about the radiation history of WISMUT. He continued his work as expert for miners diseases and in denying the majority of these.
You may think why you should worry about German problems while living in quite other political situation. The promoters of the Finnish plans will assure you their greatest care for miners and residents. But there remains the basic problem of the international consent to play done the risks of nuclear energy production.
The International Commission of Radiological Protection ICRP is the leading committee in settingstandards for dose limits for workers and the general population. Their recommendations are adopted by the European Union and most other industrial nations. They work since 1956 and charged also members of the communist countries in Europe.
The problems with the ICRP are the following:
It needs long periods of years – sometimes decades – that new scientific findings about radiation effects in the low dose region are accepted and considered in their evaluation.
They regard only cancer as a consequence of low dose exposure. (“Low” dose means those which are natural as for instance by cosmic radiation in air crafts or living in areas of high concentrations of natural radioacitivity in the ground.)
They derived the dose factors which have to be used in order to calculate the dose in case of a given incorporated activity. This factors are obligatory in Germany. They are not “conservative” as is claimed by the officials but often severe underestimations.
Table 2 shows a scheme of ICRP assumptions in contrast to critical review.
Table 2 Health effects by low-dose irradiation of a population

Cancer Hereditary diseases Teratogenic effects (in utero exposure) Morbidity except from cancer
ICRP Risk estimate + No real effect observed No effect
below 0.1 Sv No effect

Evaluation by critical scientists Underestimated
at least by a factor
of 10 Underestimated
severely Cancer
Mental retardation
Mental disorders
Down´s syndrome
Childhood morbidity
Infant deaths
Spontaneous abortions
Low birth weight Manifold

see below

A low dose in this context means dose in the range of occupational exposure in legal limits or by medical diagnostic procedures or in situations of elevated natural irradiation for example by cosmic radiation in aircrafts.
The ICRP refers to the findings in the survivors of the A-bomb attacks to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. For a variety of reasons their risk estimate for cancer is much too low if transfered to other populations and other populations and other exposures. They also give a risk factor – that is a probability for getting ill after a certain dose – for genetic effects in the children of exposed patents. They claim, however, that no real effect was found in humans upto now. The ICRP interpretes their risk estimate therefore as an estimate on the safe side. The many results about genetically induced cancer diseases which were initiated by the debate about the leukemias near the British reprocessing plant Sellafield are declared to be not plausible in view of the knowledge of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A most grotesque attidue is shown by their evaluation of effects in children after exposure in utero. The mainstream science has accepted in the meantime – after resistance for decades – that the cancer risk is real for children who were prenatally exposed to diagnostic x-rays and thus to very low doses. The ICRP also adopts this not without distaste, in contrast, however, to this formal acceptance they postulate that there are no effects if the dose in utero is lower than 0.1 Sv which is a rather high dose (ICRP 2003). Numerous studies after diagnostic x-raying and in regions contaminated by radioactivity – especially by the Chernobyl accident – have shown a variety of teratogenic effects which are listed in column 4 of table 2 (Busby 2009).
Table 3
Exposure pathways in uranium mining, milling, and processing are:
External gamma irradiation
Inhalation of radon
Inhalation and ingestion of radioactive dust
Exposure pathways for populations living near uranium mines:
Inhalation of radon
Inhalation and ingestion of radioactive dust
Radioactivity in drinking water
Radioactivity in agriculteral products, milk, and meat

The possibilities how workers and residents are exposed by the mining and processing of uranium ore are shown in Table 3.
In case of inhalation and ingestion of radon and uranium dust radionuclides are transported to every tissue of the body. Late effects are therefore to be expected in all parts of the body. Table 4 shows findings from the literature.
Recognized diseases other than cancer in uranium miners are pneumoconiosis and pulmonary fibrosis, but they are only accepted as occupationally induced if the dose to the lungs was tremendeously high.
Other non-cancer diseases to be expected after the experience of the Chernobyl accident after chronical low dose exposure:
Fertility distortions
Endocrinal system
Neural system
Circulatory system
Digestive system
Skin & subcutaneous tissue
Muscular-skeletal system

Table 4 Diseases except of the lungs and the other parts of the respiratory tract in consequence of an exposure by radon, uranium, and radioactive daughters of uranium

Exposed collective
Solid tumors Workers in uranium industry Ritz 1999
Benign & unspecified tumors Uranium miners Roscoe 1997
Blood diseases Uranium miners Roscoe 1997
Leukaemia Uranium miners
Miners, underground
Radon in houses
Populations in uranium regions Möhner et al. 2006; Rericha et al. 2006*
Darby et al. 1995
Evrard et al. 2006
Hoffmann 1993; Hoffmann et al. 1993
Lymphomas Workers in uranium industry McGeoghegan et al. 2000
Multiple Myelomas Uranium miners Tomásek et al. 1993
Stomach cancer Miners, underground
Populations in uranium regions Darby et al. 1995; BEIR IV 1988
Wilkinson 1985
Liver cancer Uranium miners Tomásek et al. 1993
Cancer of the intestine Miners, underground Darby et al. 1995
Cancer of the gallbladder & extrahepatic bile ducts Uranium miners Tomásek et al. 1993
Kidney cancer Radon in the environment
Workers in uranium industry Forastiere et al. 1992
Dupree-Ellis et al. 2000
Skin cancer Uranium miners Sevc et al. 1988

Mental diseases Uranium miners Tomásek et al. 1994
Birth defects Uranium miners
Populations in uranium regions Müller et al. 1962, 1967
Shields et al. 1992

After the experience in Germany – if you cannot stop the uranium mining – you should fight for:
Independent international risk assessment
Mining independent health-system, radiation protection, and environmental monitoring
Transparent and fair regulations for the case of illness or death
Transparency for the public of the monitoring data and the health status of the population living near that region
References and excerpt of the literature
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Brüske-Hohlfeld, I., Möhner, M., Kreienbrock, L., Gerken, M.: Strahlenbelstung im Uranbergbau. Spektrum der Wissenschaft 1996, Dossier Radioaktivität, 85-88
Busby, C., Lengfelder, E., Pflugbeil, S., Schmitz-Feuerhake, I.: The evidence of radiation effects in embryos and fetuses exposed to Chernobyl fallout and the question of dose response. Medicine, Conflict and Survival 25 (2009) 20-40
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Henshaw, D.L., Eatough, J.P. & Richardson, R.B. 1990. Radon as a causative factor in induction of myeloid leukaemia and other cancers. Lancet April 28: 1008-1012.
Hoffmann, Wolfgang. Inzidenz maligner Erkrankungen bei Kindern und Jugendlichen in der Region Ellweiler, Rheinland-Pfalz. Epidemiologie und Biologische Dosimetrie zur Ermittlung möglicher Belastungspfade. 1993. Diss. Philipps-Universität Marburg. Verlag Shaker Aachen.
Hoffmann, W., Kranefeld, A. & Schmitz-Feuerhake, I. 1995. Radium-226-contaminated drinking water: hypothesis on an exposure pathway in a population with elevated childhood leukemia. Environ. Health Persp. 101 Suppl. 3: 113-115.
HVBG: Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften, Bergbau-Berufsgenossen-schaft (Hrsg.): Belastung durch ionisierende Strahlung im Uranerzbergbau der ehemaligen DDR. Druck Center Meckenheim, Dez. 1998.
ICRP, Int. Commission on Radiological Protection: Biological effects after prenatal irradiation (embryo and fetus). ICRP Publication 90. Annals of the ICRP 33, No.1-2, 2003.
McGeoghegan, D. & Binks, K. 2000. The mortality and cancer morbidity experience of workers at the Springfields uranium production facility, 1946-95. J. Radiol. Prot. 20: 111-137.
Mészáros, G., Bognár, G. & Köteles, G.J. 2004. Long-term persistence of chromosome aberrations in uranium miners. J. Occup. Health 46: 310-315.
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Müller, C., Rericha, V. & Kubát, M. 1962. On the question of genetic effects of ionizing rays on the miners of Joachimsthal (In German). Zentralblatt für Gynäkologie 84: 558-560.
Müller, C., Ruziska, L., Bakstein, J. 1967. The sex ratio in the offsprings of uranium miners. Acta Universitatis Carolinae Medica 13: 599-603.
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Pflugbeil, S., Paulitz, H., Claußen, A. & Schmitz-Feuerhake, I. 2006. Gesundheitliche Folgen von Tschernobyl. 20 Jahre nach der Reaktorkatastrophe. IPPNW u. Gesellschaft für Strahlenschutz e.V. (Editors) 76 S.
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Schmitz-Feuerhake, I.: Bewertung neuer Dosisfaktoren. In Dannheim, B. et al.: Strahlengefahr fürMensch und Umwelt. Bewertungen der Anpassung der deutschen Strahlenschutzverordnung an die Forderungen der EU-Richtlinie 96/29/Euratom. Berichte des Otto Hug Strahleninstituts Nr. 21-22, 2000, S. 55-74.
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Schmitz-Feuerhake, I. & Pflugbeil, S. 2006. Strahleninduzierte Katarakte (Grauer Star) als Folge berufsmäßiger Exposition und beobachtete Latenzzeiten. Strahlentelex Nr. 456-457 v. 5.1.: 1-7.
Schmitz-Feuerhake, I.: Folgen des Uranbergbaus der SDAG WISMUT. 2007. Strahlentelex Nr. 494-495 v. 2.8.: www.strahlentelex.de
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