US Gov’t: Radioactive material from reactors is 2 billion times more toxic than industrial poisons — Harm caused by nuclear disaster “greater than for any work of man” other than atomic bomb — Top Expert: Radiation “like explosions going off in cell… blows hole in DNA” (VIDEO)
Published: February 28th, 2015 at 9:05 pm ET
Dr. Bill McBride, UCLA School of Medicine Vice Chair for Research in Radiation, Principle Investigator of UCLA’s Center for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation — National Institutes of Health, Jan 27, 2014 (emphasis added):
19:45 – There are some unique things about ionizing radiation when it comes to the interaction with biological systems… Energy is deposited ubiquitously in cells and in tissues… in little packets of energy… These [are] like many explosions going off in the cell… If you can think of these little explosions going off all over a cell, if it happens to take place in DNA, there’s really quite a high chance this will blow a hole in the DNA. Ionizing radiation is a very powerful cytotoxic agent… You get these lesions which are formed within DNA which are really quite complex lesions… We’re talking 0.0000000000000001 seconds for the ionization to take place… Cell cycle arrest, cell death by apoptosis or mitotic catastrophe… take place very rapidly after exposure.
37:30 – What’s happening following ionizing radiation? You get these little explosions going off very rapidly… But mitochondria get hit as well… With time, you actually get these mitochondria leaking more free radicals than [the] ionizing radiation, by orders of magnitude… This concept is one which is growing very strongly in radiation biology now. The effects are not all over in 24 hours… you initiate a cascade of biological responses which can go on for a long period of time, even years.
46:00 – You get long-term immune dysfunction… If you inject flu virus into mice [it] will eventually kill the [irradiated] animals… in normal animals this isn’t the case. So the immune system is compromised for long periods of time after radiation exposure.
51:00 – The concept is that we’re generating damage which is cascading forward to mitochondria and other cellular structures, in addition to DNA… Radiation is not just a powerful cytotoxin, it initiates signaling cascades that are taking place against a radiation damage background… Radiation damage is often remembered within the cells. We’ve shown, at least in brain and lung and other tissues, you get these kind of pro-inflammatory responses… This is underlying a lot of effects in radiation exposure.
52:00 (appears to be on verge of crying) – At UCLA we have over 100 people who are in our center… They’re interested in radiation now — they never were before. I think that we’re kind of moving animal models slowly forward to things which are really kind of very precise and very accurate and I think do reflect a lot of things that we will see in humans… who’ve been exposed to radiation.
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (pdf), 1968: The total amount of debris released during routine atomic processes and conceived as possible from accidents is minuscule when compared with the amount of pollutants produced throughout the world by combustion. The extraordinarily poisonous nature of the radioactive materials involved, however, dictates that even small quantities be treated with respect. For instance, it has been estimated that some of the radioactive materials found in a reactor are 3 million to 2 billion times as toxic as chlorine, the most common poison used by industry… if it were possible for all the many controls and safety features in a large power reactor to fail so as to produce a disastrous release of radioactivity, this release could conceivably kill thousands… Although, in actual practice, such an accident is made to have a vanishingly small probability of occurring, the theoretical potential for such an accident is probably greater than for any work of man other than the explosion of a fission or fusion weapon.