Scientists find way to cut blood loss by 90% – by spraying foam made from shrimp shells .


A sprayable foam could help first responders stop bleeding from major injuries at an accident site or combat zone (Image from acs.org)

A sprayable foam could help first responders stop bleeding from major injuries at an accident site or combat zone (Image from acs.org)

Injuries and violence account for nearly 1 out of every 10 deaths worldwide each year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As many as 5.8 million people of all ages and social backgrounds die from violence-related injuries every year, the health protection agency says.

For some limb injuries, doctors can apply pressure to effectively halt the bleeding. The problem is that when dealing with certain injuries – trauma to the torso in particular – compression is not an option.

Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov

Meanwhile, “hemorrhage (severe blood loss) from traumatic injury is a leading cause of death for soldiers in combat and for young civilians,” Matthew Dowling and colleagues at the University of Maryland wrote in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, adding that the majority of hemorrhages that prove fatal are “non-compressible.

The researchers added: “Currently, there is no effective way to treat such injuries.”

A solution has been found, however. “In this initial study, we demonstrate that a sprayable polymer-based foam can be effective at treating bleeding from soft tissue without the need for compression.”

The active material in the foam is a modified chitosan (a biopolymer derived from the shells of shrimp and other crustaceans), which “physically connects blood cells into clusters via hydrophobic interactions.”

When the unique foam is sprayed into an open cavity created by injury, it expands and forms a self-supporting barrier that counteracts the expulsion of blood from the cavity, the researchers say.

They have already tested their sprayed foam for its ability to arrest bleeding from an injury to the liver in pigs. The bleeding was stopped “within minutes” and without the need for external compression, the researchers reported. Blood loss was cut by 90 percent.

Radioactive water leaked from Fukushima storage tank


A minor leakage of radioactive water has been detected at Japan’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co said. Radioactive liquid was detected under a storage tank with radiation-contaminated water.

An aerial view shows the Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its contaminated water storage tanks (top) in Fukushima. (Reuters/Kyodo)

A total of 40 milliliters of water was discovered, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the plant’s operator, said on May 1.

The company believes that the liquid leaked from the storage tank, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun paper reported Saturday.

TEPCO stated that it placed bags of sand around the tank to prevent water from contaminating other areas.

The wet patch measuring 20 square centimeters was discovered by one workers at around 9:30am local time on May 1, it added.

According to TEPCO, seventy millisieverts per hour of beta ray-emitting radioactivity were detected on the surface where the water had leaked.

The leak was detected on the same day as tests began in preparation for the construction of a 1.5-kilometer-long frozen soil wall around the reactor buildings.

A project is aimed at preventing further leaks of radioactive water into the sea from the Fukishima plant.

Three of the Fukushima plant’s reactors suffered a nuclear meltdown due to an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The water used to keep the reactors cool is tainted with radioactive material and has since been leaking and mixing with groundwater that has been seeping through the facility.

In late April, the water transfer pumps at the Fukushima plant were shut down due to a power outage, leading to the leaking of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.

It was preceded by a series of toxic leaks in February, which saw around 100 tons of highly radioactive water leaked from one the plant’s tanks.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant tragedy with nuclear meltdown of three of the plant’s six nuclear reactors was caused by an earthquake-triggered tsunami in March 2011.

TEPCO’s efforts to manage the release of radioactive material have been slammed by the global community due to its suppression policy. This year the company was revealed to have been concealing reports of dangerously high radiation levels at the plant since September.

 

‘Fukushima lessons: Any notion that nuclear power is clean is obsolete’.


The unit No.1 (L) and No. 2 reactor building of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (Reuters / Itsuo Inouye)

The unit No.1 (L) and No. 2 reactor building of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (Reuters / Itsuo Inouye)

The world must phase out nuclear power because it is absolutely not clean from the mining processing of uranium to the generation of high-level radioactive waste, Kevin Kamps for the radioactive waste watchdog Beyond Nuclear, told RT.

It’s been four years since the most powerful earthquake in Japan’s history struck the Fukushima nuclear power plant. All of Japan’s 43 operable reactors have been shut down since 2013, because of safety checks required after the accident. The operator of the nuclear plant has sent a second robot inside the Fukushima reactor to collect data from it. The first robot became immovable after recording some footage from inside the reactor.

RT: Since the disaster, Japan has allocated more than $15 billion to an unprecedented project to lower radiation in towns near the power plant. However few locals believe Tokyo’s assurances that the site will eventually be cleaned up. Do you think their fears are reasonable?

Kevin Kamps: Yes, it is an unprecedented catastrophe. Of course there was Chernobyl, but in this area of Japan – it is so densely populated all over. So when they are trying to clear the landscape down to a certain depth, it is going to be more and more expensive. When you add all of the projects from decommissioning of the nuclear power plant to trying to clean up the landscape to loss of economic activity – we’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars all together. It is going to be very difficult for anything like normal life ever to return there.

RT: In addition to massive radioactive remains, Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise following the increase in coal-fired power. Should environmentalists sound the alarm here?

KK: Just in recent days there have been the admissions by high-ranking Tokyo Electric officials that the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant could take more like 200 years because of the lack of technology to do the job. They are going to have to invent all of these robotic systems and engineering processes to try to remove the melted cores at Fukushima Daiichi because that is their current plan unlike Chernobyl with the sarcophagus. The current plan in Japan is to remove those melted cores to somewhere else – perhaps to geologic disposal, they haven’t said. But it is going to be very challenging.

RT: How has the country been handling the shortage of nuclear energy so far?

KK: It is high time for Japan, but I should also say the US and many other countries, to do what Germany is doing – which is to make the transition in its energy sector to efficiency and renewables. Germany will phase out the nuclear power by 2022. This is a direct response to Fukushima. And it will also largely phase out fossil fuel by the middle of the century, by 2050. Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world. So if Germany can do it, so can other developed countries in the world. It is high time that we do this so that dangerous nuclear power plants can be shot down, and we don’t have to turn to polluting fossil fuels.

RT: What is the main importance of nuclear power phase-out in your opinion?

KK: I think it’s very important that world turned from the nuclear power. It is absolutely not clean from the mining and processing of uranium to the generation of high-level radioactive waste. Then the routine radiation releases is even from normally operating nuclear power plants. But then certainly you have the disasters like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. Any notion that nuclear power is clean is obsolete at this point.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Reuters / Kyodo)

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

RT: On Tuesday, a Japanese court halted the restart of two reactors at the Takahama plant in Fukui prefecture citing safety concerns. Why did the judges issue such a ruling?

KK: They are having a very difficult time. Just in recent days again a judge in Fukui prefecture ruled for the second time against the restart of atomic reactors in their prefecture, this time at Takahama. Two reactor units were blocked by this judge’s ruling from restarting. And last year he ruled against two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant. So the local population, the local governors of prefectures, and local elected officials like mayors have put a stop to these plants restarting reactors in Japan.

RT: Do you think this latest move by the court is a major blow to the Prime Minister’s attempts to return to atomic energy?

KK: Yes, and in this particular case in the last couple days the judge in Fukui prefecture ruled that the new regulations – supposedly based on lessons learned from Fukushima by the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority – are irrational and do not guarantee protection of public health and safety and the environment. So it is a big blow to Prime minister, [Shinzo] Abe’s plans to restart reactors.

RT: All 40 reactors in Japan are shot down at the moment, aren’t they?

KK: That’s right; all 40 reactors in Japan are currently shot down. And this has been the case largely since the Fukushima catastrophe began. There have been a few exceptions but for very short periods of time.

RT: If the court comes up with further restrictions that would eventually extend the countrywide shutdown of the reactors. What are the consequences likely to be for Japan’s economy?

KK: It has made it. There have been challenges and difficulties; there has been a crash course in energy efficiency and also in energy conservation… And … there have been imports of fossil fuels, natural gas and coal. That is why I said [that] it is important for Japan to as quickly as possible transition to a renewable energy economy. In fact, that prime minister who served during the beginning of the catastrophe, Naoto Kan, implemented laws that would make that renewable transition happen more efficiently.

RT: Are there any achievement that have been made by the Japanese government trying to tackle the problem? Any good news?

KK: The good news is that renewables, especially efficiency, are very quickly deployable. You can establish a large scale solar photovoltaic facility in a matter of months, the same with wind turbines and efficiency is even faster than that. You have companies in Japan that are poised to do this kind of work…So there is a real promise in renewables; Japan has tremendous resourcesboth domestically, but also for the export and the installation of renewables around the world. And you have to always remember that the devastation caused by Fukushima Daiichi is a very negative thing for the Japanese economy. So you could have 40 good years at a nuclear power plant like Fukushima Daiichi, and you can have one bad day that is now tuned into four bad years, and there is no end and sight- this will go on for very long time.

RT: Everyone in Japan and all over the world understands that it is very dangerous industry and something should be done to prevent future catastrophes. So why are Japanese authorities slowing down all these processes?

KK: It is a form of addiction; it is a form of political power that is very deeply ingrained. The Japanese nuclear power industry dates back to the 1950’s. The Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Abe, one of its founding planks and its platform was pro-nuclear power. Apparently, it is very difficult for these powerful elites to learn lessons and to change their ways. But I think the Japanese people are showing that they have had enough of these risks to their country: first suffering the atomic bombings of 1945 and now also suffering the worst that nuclear power can deliver as well.

Fukushima nuclear meltdown worse than initially reported .


The meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s third reactor building was even worse than initially believed, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has announced.

In fact, the power company’s new appraisal of the Fukushima No. 3 reactor building shows that all – or nearly all – of the fuel rods contained inside were melted, dropping onto the floor of the containment vessel. If true, the news means the power plant could be even tougher to decommission.

Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo  (AFP Photo / Kimmasa  Mayama)

According to the Japan Times, TEPCO first estimated back in November of 2011 that roughly 63 percent of the reactor’s fuel rods had melted.

But TEPCO now believes that after studying conditions surrounding the fuel core, the reactor’s cooling system stopped functioning more than five hours earlier than previously estimated. As a result, the meltdown would have started around that same time period.

As reported by the Yomiuri Shimbun, it is possible that with more nuclear fuel resting in the containment vessel than originally estimated, removing it will require even more careful planning.

“As the core meltdown is now believed to have started earlier than was previously thought, the amount of melted nuclear fuel that passed into the containment vessel through the pressure vessel is considered to have been greater, making it technically more difficult to extract the melted fuel and dispose of it,” the newspaper stated.

Despite the new findings, however, TEPCO spokesman Shinichi Kawamura said the company is still hoping to find some fuel that had not melted down.

“We think some fuel still remains at the core part based on the actual plant data,” he said, as quoted by the Japan Times.

The news comes as the effects of the nuclear meltdown continue to be felt throughout the region. In late July, a new report discovered that Japan’s famous macaque monkeys were testing positive for blood abnormalities that could potentially make them more susceptible to infectious diseases. The tests were conducted on wild monkeys living in the Fukushima region, and the results of the blood exams were linked to the radioactive fallout at the power plant.

Meanwhile, another July report by Japan’s agriculture ministry found that fourteen different rice paddies – all outside of the power plant’s evacuation zone – were contaminated with radioactive material. As RT reported then, five others inside the evacuation zone were also contaminated, pushing the ministry to order TEPCO to implement better protective measures for future work at the plant

Officials reject concerns over 500 percent radiation increase on California beach.


AFP Photo / Spencer Platt

Health officials in California are now telling residents not to worry after a video uploaded to the internet last month seemed to show high levels of radiation at a Pacific Coast beach.

The video, “Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco,” has been viewed nearly half-a-million times since being uploaded to YouTube on Christmas Eve, and its contents have caused concern among residents who fear that nuclear waste from the March 2011 disaster in Japan may be arriving on their side of the Pacific Ocean.

Throughout the course of the seven-minute-long clip, a man tests out his Geiger counter radiation detector while walking through Pacifica State Beach outside of San Francisco. At times, the monitor on the machine seems to show radiation of 150 counts-per-minute, or the equivalent of around five times what is typically found in that type of environment.

After the video began to go viral last month, local, state and federal officials began to investigate claims that waste from the Fukushima nuclear plant has washed ashore in California. Only now, though, are authorities saying that they have no reason to believe that conditions along the West Coast are unsafe.

The Half Moon Bay Review reported on Friday that government officials conducted tests along California’s Pacific Coast after word of the video began to spread online, but found no indication that radiation levels had reached a hazardous point.

“It’s not something that we feel is an immediate public health concern,” Dean Peterson, the county environmental health director, told the Review. “We’re not even close to the point of saying that any of this is from Fukushima.”

Screenshot from YouTube user Kill0Your0TV

Screenshot from YouTube user Kill0Your0TV

According to the Review’s Mark Noack, counts-per-minute does indeed measure radiation, but “does not directly equate to the strength or its hazard level to humans.” And while the paper has reported that testing conducted by Peterson’s department on their own Geiger counters has since revealedradiation level of about 100 micro-REM per hour, or about five times the normal amount, officials are confident that there is nothing to be concerned about.

“Although the radiation levels were clearly higher than is typical, Peterson emphasized that it was still not unsafe for humans,” Noack wrote. “A person would need to be exposed to 100 microREMs of radiation for 50,000 hours before it surpassed safety guidelines by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he explained.”

Screenshot from YouTube user Kill0Your0TV

Screenshot from YouTube user Kill0Your0TV

Even so, officials are still uncertain as to why those levels — even if they are relatively safe — seem to be five-times higher than what is expected. Peterson told the Review he was “befuddled” over the ordeal, but suggested the culprit could be something not too sinister — such as red-painted eating utensils buried on the beach.

“I honestly think the end result of this is that it’s just higher levels of background radiation,” he said.

Researchers at the Geiger Counter Bulletin website have since tried to make sense of the reading on their own, and agree that the levels being detected are several times over what should be expected. According to a post on their website from this weekend, however, an independent testing of soil taken from near Pacifica State Beach tested positive for some radioactive material — but nothing that would have come from Fukushima.

The results of testing conducted by California’s Department of Public Health are expected to be announced later this week.