- Speakers: NUCLEAR-FREE, CARBON-FREE CONTINGENT RALLY AT PEOPLE'S CLIMATE MARCH IN NEW YORK CITY SEPTEMBER 21
- New Documents Confirm Utility Giant Southern Company Gets Sweetheart Deal from Energy Department for Multi-Billion Nuclear Loan Guarantees for Vogtle Reactors
- Press Release: Uranium (IV) found to be mobile in a natural wetland
- Watchdogs to Duke CEO: Don’t Buy into Failing Nuclear Project in South Carolina
- Zombie Grand Canyon Uranium Mine Halted
- National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will perform pilot study of cancer risks in populations near seven US nuclear facilities
- Keep harmful radioactive waste out of our children's food, whether conventionally grown or organic! Say Bye Bye Becquerels!
- Department of Energy Deadline Passes By Yet Again for Finalizing $8.3 Billion Taxpayer-Backed Vogtle Nuclear Loan Guarantee with Southern Company
- Burying Nuclear Waste at the Bruce: OPG's Proposed Deep Geological Repository
- Davis-Besse Intervention Looms Large as San Onofre Units 2 & 3 Terminated Because Of Faulty Steam Generators
- Health studies explode the myth of the ‘safe’ nuclear power plant
- Waste transport dangers: What is going from Chalk River to Savannah River Site?
- Steam events at Fukushima Unit 3 show need for more transparency, better questions, and avoiding panic
- Dr. Helen Caldicott on Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
- Dr Helen Caldicott's letter to the NYT's: Radiation Fears Are Real
- Fukushima clean-up is a big worry for site workers
- Earthwise Interview with Dr Helen Caldicott
- Nuclear power no answer to climate change
- Nuclear-free Planet blog post on 2 recent comprehensive articles on food testing in Fukushima
- SACE: Statement on Duke Energy Florida’s Cancellation of Levy County Nuclear Reactor Project
- Fundraising Appeal
- Three Mile Island
- General Interest
- Rare Earth Mining
- War & Peace
- Nuclear Testing
- Fossil Fuels
- NUCLEAR POWER
- NUCLEAR WEAPONS
- NUCLEAR WASTE
- PUBLIC HEALTH
- CLIMATE CHANGE
Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction February 28-March 1, 2015
At The New York Academy of Medicine, New York City, NY
A unique, two-day symposium at which an international panel of leading experts in disarmament, political science, existential risk, anthropology, medicine, nuclear weapons and other nuclear issues will be held at The New York Academy of Medicine on Feb 28- March 1, 2015. The public is welcome.
A project of The Helen Caldicott Foundation
Thanks for visiting our archived website. This website is updated through Sunday December 21, 2014. For more current information please vist our new website: helencaldicottfoundation.org
For Symposium updates the direct link is: http://helencaldicottfoundation.org/symposium-the-dynamics-of-possible-nuclear-extinction-l-february-28-march-1-2015-at-the-new-york-academy-of-medicine/
Jeremy Rifkin: Five (actually 6) reasons why nuclear is not a good business model or the answer to climate change
At the Wermuth Asset Management 5th Annual Investor Event, Jeremy Rifkin responded to the question: What would be your view on nuclear energy with five, actually six, reasons for why nuclear is not an answer to climate change. The number of active plants in the world may go up or down by a couple, the percentage points of nuclear in the energy mix may vary by a few from time to time, but what he says has been true for a long while and it will be true going forward despite any small changes in the numbers. In terms of the money, the cost will only rise.
And one thing he doesn't say- if nuclear is not a part of the solution to climate change than the enormous amount of money thrown at this dead end technology, and the huge waste of precious time that could be spent on viable solutions make nuclear an active agent in accelerating climate change.
1. Nuclear would have to be 20% to have the minimum minimum impact on climate change. That means we’d have to replace the existing 400 nuclear plants and build 1600 additional plants. Three nuclear plants would have to be built every 30 days for 40 years to get to 20% and by that time climate change would have pretty much run its course with us...
2. We still don’t know how to recycle the nuclear waste and we’re seventy years in. Now, we have good engineers in the US. We spent 18 years & $8 billion building an underground vault in Yucca Mountain to store the wastes for 10,000 years. We can’t use it. We can’t even store them...
3. We run into uranium deficits, according to the Department of Atomic Energy Commission, you may know this, between 2025 and 2035 for just the existing 400 plants. So, that means the price goes up.
4. We could do what the French generation of new plants are doing and recycle the uranium to plutonium. But then we have plutonium all over the world in an age of uncertainty and terrorism.
5. We don’t have the water.
6. Nuclear power is centralized power, like fossil fuels. It doesn’t fit a new generation that’s moving with the kind of technologies that are distributed, collaborative, and laterally scaled. It’s an old technology.
Click to read full transcript
CCNR l RESOLUTION AGAINST THE TRANSPORT OF LIQUID RADIOACTIVE WASTE
May 15, 2013
WHEREAS the U.S. Department of Energy plans to truck 23,000 litres of high- level radioactive liquid waste from Chalk River Laboratories (CRL), Ontario, to the Savannah River Site (SRS), South Carolina, in a series of weekly shipments over a period of a year or more;
WHEREAS these shipments could begin as early as August 2013; WHEREAS high-level radioactive liquid waste has never previously been
transported over public roads and bridges in North America;
WHEREAS the high-level radioactive liquid waste contained in just one of the planned shipments is more than enough to ruin an entire city’s water supply;
WHEREAS there have been no public environmental assessment hearings in Canada or the U.S., nor any other kind of public forum on either side of the border, to address the hazards of such shipments of liquid radioactive wastes over public roads and bridges;
WHEREAS there has been no public process to discuss alternatives to the proposed shipments of liquid radioactive waste over public roads and bridges, such as on-site solidification of the wastes prior to shipment – given that such solidification has been carried out routinely for all the high-level liquid waste that has been produced at Chalk River since 2003;
WHEREAS high-level radioactive waste is the most radioactive material on the planet, created by the irradiation of uranium and/or plutonium in a nuclear reactor;
WHEREAS high-level radioactive waste gives off such intense penetrating radiation that it remains unapproachable for centuries;
WHEREAS high-level radioactive waste remains extraordinarily radiotoxic for millennia;
WHEREAS high-level radioactive liquid waste is created when the solid high- level waste from a nuclear reactor is dissolved in nitric acid, resulting in a highly corrosive solution containing dozens of radiotoxic materials such as cesium-137, iodine-129, strontium-90;
WHEREAS the high-level radioactive liquid waste from Chalk River contains a significant amount of weapons-grade uranium (HEU = highly enriched uranium) – the same material that was used as a nuclear explosive in the first atomic bomb dropped in 1945;
See more at: Backgrounder on Liquid Radioactive Waste: http://ccnr.org/backgrounder_CRL_SRS_2013.pdf
Tokyo Doctor Moves Because “It is clear that Eastern Japan and Metropolitan Tokyo have been contaminated with radiation.”
A Tokyo Doctor speaks out on radiation contamination in Tokyo and lack of transparency.
By Staff, www.save-children-from-radiation.org l 23 July 2014
Tokyo Doctor Moves Because “It is clear that Eastern Japan and Metropolitan Tokyo have been contaminated with radiation.”
Urges fellow doctors to promote radiation protection describes changes in blood tests and symptoms of radiation poisoning of people in Tokyo
Doctor Shigeru Mita, who recently moved to Okayama-city, Okayama prefecture, to open a new clinic there, wrote a short essay in the newsletter published by Association of Doctors in Kodaira, metropolitan Tokyo.
Although the target readers for this essay were not the general public, it has been cited in a weekly e-mail magazine published by journalist Kota Kinoshita, who has been organizing actions to urge people to leave radiation affected areas (including Tokyo) since 3.11, 2011.
On many occasions, public talks and gatherings, both Dr. Mita and Mr. Kinoshita have acknowledged the danger of radiation and they have called out for immediate action for radiation protection.
Read more at this link: http://www.popularresistance.org/tokyo-should-no-longer-be-inhabited/
Uprising l KPFA July 23, 2014 - 8:00am
Interview with Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control, on nuclear secrecy, safety, and accidents.
Interview begins at minute: 20 (ie. 20 minutes into the program).
Download this clip (mp3, 10.28 megabytes)
Play this clip in your Computer's media player
Robert Alvarez l Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 12 May, 2014
Excellent article from Bob Alvarez on why thorium is not the wonder fuel it's being promoted as and a brief history of the US's persistent failure in making thorium safe or efficient ending with the expected trail of dangerous, weaponizable, waste.
"...the United States has tried to develop thorium as an energy source for some 50 years and is still struggling to deal with the legacy of those attempts. In addition to the billions of dollars it spent, mostly fruitlessly, to develop thorium fuels, the US government will have to spend billions more, at numerous federal nuclear sites, to deal with the wastes produced by those efforts. And America’s energy-from-thorium quest now faces an ignominious conclusion: The US Energy Department appears to have lost track of 96 kilograms of uranium 233, a fissile material made from thorium that can be fashioned into a bomb, and is battling the state of Nevada over the proposed dumping of nearly a ton of left-over fissile materials in a government landfill, in apparent violation of international standards..."
"The federal government established research and development projects to demonstrate the viability of uranium 233 breeder reactors in Minnesota, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. By 1977, however, the government abandoned pursuit of the thorium fuel cycle in favor of plutonium-fueled breeders, leading to dissent in the ranks of the AEC. Alvin Weinberg, the long-time director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was, in large part, fired because of his support of thorium over plutonium fuel.
By the late 1980’s, after several failed attempts to use it commercially, the US nuclear power industry also walked away from thorium. The first commercial nuclear plant to use thorium was Indian Point Unit I, a pressurized water reactor near New York City that began operation in 1962. Attempts to recover uranium 233 from its irradiated thorium fuel were described, however, as a “financial disaster.” The last serious attempt to use thorium in a commercial reactor was at the Fort St. Vrain plant in Colorado, which closed in 1989 after 10 years and hundreds of equipment failures, leaks, and fuel failures. There were four failed commercial thorium ventures; prior agreement makes the US government responsible for their wastes."
Helen Caldicott l Australian Medical Student Journal Volume 4, Issue 2 2014
Due to my personal concerns regarding the ignorance of the world’s media and politicians about radiation biology after the dreadful accident at Fukushima in Japan, I organized a 2 day symposium at the NY Academy of Medicine on March 11 and 12, 2013, titled ‘The Medical and Ecological Consequences of Fukushima,’ which was addressed by some of the world’s leading scientists, epidemiologists, physicists and physicians who presented their latest data and findings on Fukushima. 
The Great Eastern earthquake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, and the ensuing massive tsunami on the east coast of Japan induced the meltdown of three nuclear reactors within several days. During the quake the external power supply was lost to the reactor complex and the pumps, which circulate up to one million gallons of water per minute to cool each reactor core, ceased to function. Emergency diesel generators situated below the plants kicked in but these were soon swamped by the tsunami. Without cooling, the radioactive cores in units 1, 2 and 3 began to melt within hours. Over the next few days, all three cores (each weighing more than 100 tonnes) melted their way through six inches of steel at the bottom of their reactor vessels and oozed their way onto the concrete floor of the containment buildings. At the same time the zirconium cladding covering thousands of uranium fuel rods reacted with water, creating hydrogen, which initiated hydrogen explosions in units 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Massive quantities of radiation escaped into the air and water – three times more noble gases (argon, xenon and krypton) than were released at Chernobyl, together with huge amounts of other volatile and non-volatile radioactive elements, including cesium, tritium, iodine, strontium, silver, plutonium, americium and rubinium. Eventually sea water was – and is still – utilized to cool the molten reactors.
Fukushima is now described as the greatest industrial accident in history.
The Japanese government was so concerned that they were considering plans to evacuate 35 million people from Tokyo, as other reactors including Fukushima Daiini on the east coast were also at risk. Thousands of people fleeing from the smoldering reactors were not notified where the radioactive plumes were travelling, despite the fact that there was a system in place to track the plumes. As a result, people fled directly into regions with the highest radiation concentrations, where they were exposed to high levels of whole-body external gamma radiation being emitted by the radioactive elements, inhaling radioactive air and swallowing radioactive elements.  Unfortunately, inert potassium iodide was not supplied, which would have blocked the uptake of radioactive iodine by their thyroid glands, except in the town of Miharu. Prophylactic iodine was eventually distributed to the staff of Fukushima Medical University in the days after the accident, after extremely high levels of radioactive iodine – 1.9 million becquerels/kg were found in leafy vegetables near the University.  Iodine contamination was widespread in leafy vegetables and milk, whilst other isotopic contamination from substances such as caesium is widespread in vegetables, fruit, meat, milk, rice and tea in many areas of Japan. 
The Fukushima meltdown disaster is not over and will never end. The radioactive fallout which remains toxic for hundreds to thousands of years covers large swathes of Japan and will never be “cleaned up.” It will contaminate food, humans and animals virtually forever. I predict that the three reactors which experienced total meltdowns will never be dissembled or decommissioned. TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) – says it will take at least 30 to 40 years and the International Atomic Energy Agency predicts at least 40 years before they can make any progress because of the extremely high levels of radiation at these damaged reactors.
This accident is enormous in its medical implications. It will induce an epidemic of cancer as people inhale the radioactive elements, eat radioactive food and drink radioactive beverages. In 1986, a single meltdown and explosion at Chernobyl covered 40% of the European land mass with radioactive elements. Already, according to a 2009 report published by the New York Academy of Sciences, over one million people have already perished as a direct result of this catastrophe. This is just the tip of the iceberg, because large parts of Europe and the food grown there will remain radioactive for hundreds of years. 
Medical Implications of Radiation
Fact number one
No dose of radiation is safe. Each dose received by the body is cumulative and adds to the risk of developing malignancy or genetic disease.
Fact number two
Children are ten to twenty times more vulnerable to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults. Females tend to be more sensitive compared to males, whilst foetuses and immuno-compromised patients are also extremely sensitive.
Fact number three
High doses of radiation received from a nuclear meltdown or from a nuclear weapon explosion can cause acute radiation sickness, with alopecia, severe nausea, diarrhea and thrombocytopenia. Reports of such illnesses, particularly in children, appeared within the first few months after the Fukushima accident.
Fact number four
Ionizing radiation from radioactive elements and radiation emitted from X-ray machines and CT scanners can be carcinogenic. The latent period of carcinogenesis for leukemia is 5-10 years and solid cancers 15-80 years. It has been shown that all modes of cancer can be induced by radiation, as well as over 6000 genetic diseases now described in the medical literature.
But, as we increase the level of background radiation in our environment from medical procedures, X-ray scanning machines at airports, or radioactive materials continually escaping from nuclear reactors and nuclear waste dumps, we will inevitably increase the incidence of cancer as well as the incidence of genetic disease in future generations.
Types of ionizing radiation
- X-rays are electromagnetic, and cause mutations the instant they pass through the body.
- Similarly, gamma radiation is also electromagnetic, being emitted by radioactive materials generated in nuclear reactors and from some naturally occurring radioactive elements in the soil.
- Alpha radiation is particulate and is composed of two protons and two neutrons emitted from uranium atoms and other dangerous elements generated in reactors (such as plutonium, americium, curium, einsteinium, etc – all which are known as alpha emitters and have an atomic weight greater than uranium). Alpha particles travel a very short distance in the human body. They cannot penetrate the layers of dead skin in the epidermis to damage living skin cells. But when these radioactive elements enter the lung, liver, bone or other organs, they transfer a large dose of radiation over a long period of time to a very small volume of cells. Most of these cells are killed; however, some on the edge of the radiation field remain viable to be mutated, and cancer may later develop. Alpha emitters are among the most carcinogenic materials known.
- Beta radiation, like alpha radiation, is also particulate. It is a charged electron emitted from radioactive elements such as strontium 90, cesium 137 and iodine 131. The beta particle is light in mass, travels further than an alpha particle and is also mutagenic.
- Neutron radiation is released during the fission process in a reactor or a bomb. Reactor 1 at Fukushima has been periodically emitting neutron radiation as sections of the molten core become intermittently critical. Neutrons are large radioactive particles that travel many kilometers, and they pass through everything including concrete and steel. There is no way to hide from them and they are extremely mutagenic.
So, let’s describe just five of the radioactive elements that are continually being released into the air and water at Fukushima. Remember, though, there are over 200 such elements each with its own half-life, biological characteristic and pathway in the food chain and the human body. Most have never had their biological pathways examined. They are invisible, tasteless and odourless. When the cancer manifests it is impossible to determine its aetiology, but there is a large body of literature proving that radiation causes cancer, including the data from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- Tritium is radioactive hydrogen H3 and there is no way to separate tritium from contaminated water as it combines with oxygen to form H3O. There is no material that can prevent the escape of tritium except gold, so all reactors continuously emit tritium into the air and cooling water as they operate. It concentrates in aquatic organisms, including algae, seaweed, crustaceans and fish, and also in terrestrial food. Like all radioactive elements, it is tasteless, odorless and invisible, and will therefore inevitably be ingested in food, including seafood, for many decades. It passes unhindered through the skin if a person is immersed in fog containing tritiated water near a reactor, and also enters the body via inhalation and ingestion. It causes brain tumors, birth deformities and cancers of many organs.
- Cesium 137 is a beta and gamma emitter with a half-life of 30 years. That means in 30 years only half of its radioactive energy has decayed, so it is detectable as a radioactive hazard for over 300 years. Cesium, like all radioactive elements, bio-concentrates at each level of the food chain. The human body stands atop the food chain. As an analogue of potassium, cesium becomes ubiquitous in all cells. It concentrates in the myocardium where it induces cardiac irregularities, and in the endocrine organs where it can cause diabetes, hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer. It can also induce brain cancer, rhabdomyosarcomas, ovarian or testicular cancer and genetic disease.
- Strontium 90 is a high-energy beta emitter with a half-life of 28 years. As a calcium analogue, it is a bone-seeker. It concentrates in the food chain, specifically milk (including breast milk), and is laid down in bones and teeth in the human body. It can lead to carcinomas of the bone and leukaemia.
- Radioactive iodine 131 is a beta and gamma emitter. It has a half-life of eight days and is hazardous for ten weeks. It bio-concentrates in the food chain, in vegetables and milk, then in the the human thyroid gland where it is a potent carcinogen, inducing thyroid disease and/or thyroid cancer. It is important to note that of 174,376 children under the age of 18 that have been examined by thyroid ultrasound in the Fukushima Prefecture, 12 have been definitively diagnosed with thyroid cancer and 15 more are suspected to have the disease. Almost 200,000 more children are yet to be examined. Of these 174,367 children, 43.2% have either thyroid cysts and/or nodules.
In Chernobyl, thyroid cancers were not diagnosed until four years post-accident. This early presentation indicates that these Japanese children almost certainly received a high dose of radioactive iodine. High doses of other radioactive elements released during the meltdowns were received by the exposed population so the rate of cancer is almost certain to rise.
- Plutonium, one of the most deadly radioactive substances, is an alpha emitter. It is highly toxic, and one millionth of a gram will induce cancer if inhaled into the lung. As an iron analogue, it combines with transferrin. It causes liver cancer, bone cancer, leukemia, or multiple myeloma. It concentrates in the testicles and ovaries where it can induce testicular or ovarian cancer, or genetic diseases in future generations. It also crosses the placenta where it is teratogenic, like thalidomide. There are medical homes near Chernobyl full of grossly deformed children, the deformities of which have never before been seen in the history of medicine.
The half-life of plutonium is 24,400 years, and thus it is radioactive for 250,000 years. It will induce cancers, congenital deformities, and genetic diseases for virtually the rest of time.
Plutonium is also fuel for atomic bombs. Five kilos is fuel for a weapon which would vaporize a city. Each reactor makes 250 kg of plutonium a year. It is postulated that less than one kilo of plutonium, if adequately distributed, could induce lung cancer in every person on earth.
In summary, the radioactive contamination and fallout from nuclear power plant accidents will have medical ramifications that will never cease, because the food will continue to concentrate the radioactive elements for hundreds to thousands of years. This will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia and genetic disease. Already we are seeing such pathology and abnormalities in birds and insects, and because they reproduce very fast it is possible to observe disease caused by radiation over many generations within a relatively short space of time.
Pioneering research conducted by Dr Tim Mousseau, an evolutionary biologist, has demonstrated high rates of tumors, cataracts, genetic mutations, sterility and reduced brain size amongst birds in the exclusion zones of both Chernobyl and Fukushima. What happens to animals will happen to human beings. 
The Japanese government is desperately trying to “clean up” radioactive contamination. But in reality all that can be done is collect it, place it in containers and transfer it to another location. It cannot be made neutral and it cannot be prevented from spreading in the future. Some contractors have allowed their workers to empty radioactive debris, soil and leaves into streams and other illegal places. The main question becomes: Where can they place the contaminated material to be stored safely away from the environment for thousands of years? There is no safe place in Japan for this to happen, let alone to store thousands of tons of high level radioactive waste which rests precariously at the 54 Japanese nuclear reactors.
Last but not least, Australian uranium fuelled the Fukushima reactors. Australia exports uranium for use in nuclear power plants to 12 countries, including the US, Japan, France, Britain, Finland, Sweden, South Korea, China, Belgium, Spain, Canada and Taiwan. 270,000 metric tons of deadly radioactive waste exists in the world today, with 12,000 metric tons being added yearly. (Each reactor manufactures 30 tons per year and there are over 400 reactors globally.)
This high-level waste must be isolated from the environment for one million years – but no container lasts longer than 100 years. The isotopes will inevitably leak, contaminating the food chain, inducing epidemics of cancer, leukemia, congenital deformities and genetic diseases for the rest of time.
This, then, is the legacy we leave to future generations so that we can turn on our lights and computers or make nuclear weapons. It was Einstein who said “the splitting of the atom changed everything save mans’ mode of thinking, thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.”
The question now is: Have we, the human species, the ability to mature psychologically in time to avert these catastrophes, or, is it in fact, too late?
Disclaimer: The views, opinions and perspectives presented in this article are those of the author alone and does not reflect the views of the Australian Medical Student Journal. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors or omissions.
 Caldicott H. Helen Caldicott Foundation’s Fukushima Symposium. 2013; Available from: http://www.helencaldicott.com/2012/12/helen-caldicott-foundations-fukushima-symposium/.
 Japan sat on U.S. radiation maps showing immediate fallout from nuke crisis. The Japan Times. 2012.
 Bagge E, Bjelle A, Eden S, Svanborg A. Osteoarthritis in the elderly: clinical and radiological findings in 79 and 85 year olds. Ann Rheum Dis. 1991;50(8):535-9. Epub 1991/08/01.
 Tests find cesium 172 times the limit in Miyagi Yacon tea. The Asahi Shimbun. 2012.
 Yablokov AV, Nesterenko VB, Nesterenko AV, Sherman-Nevinger JD. Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment: Wiley. com; 2010.
 Fukushima Health Management. Proceedings of the 11th Prefectural Oversight Committee Meeting for Fukushima Health Management Survey. Fukushima, Japan2013.
 Møller AP, Mousseau TA. The effects of low-dose radiation: Soviet science, the nuclear industry – and independence? Significance. 2013;10(1):14-9.
Outspoken anti-nuclear campaigner, Dr Helen Caldicott, abandoned a promising medical career to fight the threats of nuclear power and weapons. Now in her 70s, Dr Caldicott fears she may be fighting a losing battle.
This episode was broadcast at 8:30pm on Friday 11 April 2014. It was published 14 hours ago and is available until 9:30pm on 25 April 2014.
The terrible things that are done in the name of pragmatism. As japanese citizens are moved back into contaminated areas with radiation levels at the top limit of what an EU nuclear worker would be allowed in terms of exposure the health cost to Japan will rise. This is not unknown. The most vulnerable will be children and fetuses, then women. This is not unknown. An actual EU nuclear worker would not be allowed to work forever at this level of exposure. This is also not unknown. Yet is is happening anyway, just as the radioactive plume of contamination is still to some extent being treated as if it were plotted with a compass, evenly. When in reality there are areas within the evacuation zone that are safer than areas outside it. This too is not unknown. What does that say about the nuclear industry, or the human race's capacity for denial or cupidity? This is worse than the "perfect crime." This is an unspeakable act of barbarism.
Gordon Edwards l CCNR Background: April 7 2014
Three years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, 357 people are being allowed to go home in a small corner of a town right on the perimeter of the original evacuation zone, 20 km away from the stricken plant. These are the first people allowed to re-populate the evacuated areas, from which almost 140,000 were displaced -- so those eligible to return home represent about 1/4 of 1 percent of those evacuated.
Massive decontamination efforts have been underway throughout a huge area stretching far beyond the original evacuation zone. See http://ccnr.org/Decontamination_Efforts.pdf . But decontamination is never 100 percent.
In this particular case, the radiation levels are deemed by the authorities to be low enough to allow rehabitation, having been brought down to a level no greater than 20 millisieverts (mSv) per year. That level happens to represent the maximum legally allowed radiation exposure limit for an atomic worker in the EU; indeed, no atomic worker would be allowed to work at that exposure level for an entire year under ordinary circumstances.
According to the US National Academy of Sciences BEIR Committee (BEIR = Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) if 100 people are exposed to 100 mSv, you would expect to see 1 extra cancer case caused by that radiation exposure. So if 140,000 people were returned to their homes at an exposure level of 20 mSv per year, you would expect to see 280 extra radiation-induced cancer cases in that population for every single year that the exposure continued.
It is impossible to say which individuals will get those cancers, and it is impossible to prove that any individual case of cancer was, in fact, caused by radiation. For this reason, John Gofman -- an award- winning nuclear physicist as well as an award-winning medical doctor -- described the deaths caused by such low-level radiation exposure as "the perfect crime". You know people are dying; you know what is killing them; you know who did it; but you can't prove it!
To say (as UNSCEAR has reported) that these extra deaths will be "not perceptible" simply means that statistics is too crude an instrument to reveal the truth; by the same token, you could say that any mass murderer would be responsible for an "imperceptible" number of deaths if it weren't for the bullet holes or knife wounds or eye witnesses to testify to the murders. Without a "smoking gun" to identify those who died of radiation exposure you can pretend that no one was killed.
Gambling with People’s Lives – The Perfect Crime?
The situation is further complicated by the fact that the 20 mSv described above refers only to external gamma radiation, without taking into account the internal emitters -- the radioactive materials which will be ingested, or inhaled, or otherwise absorbed into the bodies of men, women and children living in these still-contaminated areas, because of radioactive contaminants in the food, water, and the residual radioactivity in the dust that is kicked up by children at play, by men working outdoors, or by women washing the family's clothes.
It is well known that embryos, babies and children are much more sensitive to the damaging effects of ionizing radiation than adults are. In fact women are also more sensitive to radiation damage than men of the same age, sometimes by up to a factor of two. Because we are not dealing with an adult male work force, but a community of folks of different genders and all ages, the predictions of radiation- induced cancer cases may be woefully underestimated.
And cancer is not the only harmful biomedical effect of protracted exposure to low-level radiation. There is a growing body of evidence that heart attacks and strokes are increased by such chronic radiation exposure, as well as damage to the reproductive cells of both men and women. Every girl is born with her ovaries intact, already containing all the eggs that she will ever have; radiation damage to these eggs at a very early age can result in genetically damaged children or grandchildren much later on in life.
The immune system is likewise compromised by radiation exposure due to the fact that some critically important white blood cells are particularly depleted by radiation exposure, thereby leaving the exposed person more susceptible to infectious diseases of all kinds.
Those people who agree to move back into contaminated areas declared "safe" by the Japanese authorities will be rewarded with a one-time payment of about $9000. Those people who decide NOT to go back home when the authorities invite them to, will have their monthly support payments of $1000 per month stopped.
Dealing with the consequences of a nuclear disaster is no easy matter.
Gordon Edwards, CCNR
Read more here
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- The Hottest Particle l Fairewinds Energy Education
- Hanford Nuclear Waste Site Whistleblowers Testify To Senate
- Japan's Black Dust, with Marco Kaltofen
- Anand Grover, Esq., UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health critical of UNSCEAR Report
- Clean Up Abandoned Uranium Mines: Urgent Message from First Nations
- What The Japanese Government Is Not Saying About Fukushima
- Dr. Helen Caldicott: Fukushima, Nuclear Power & Nuclear War
- Remove TEPCO Before Removing Fuel, Fairewinds Energy Education
- Nicole Sandler speaks with Dr. Helen Caldicott