FIRST PERSON: RADIATION IN THE NEWS
From Summer 2014 Forum
It’s been almost thirty years since the unprecedented nuclear disaster of the Chernobyl plant exploded yet the effects still show signs of radiation poisoning. There is an exclusion area that still allows no people but the plants and animals show problems. For example, the trees are growing much more slowly and there are far fewer insects while the birds have smaller brains while trees and other plants grow much slower in the area. Indeed, similar problems are still ongoing from the Three-Mile-Island tragedy in the United States.
One journalist, Steve Zeltzer, reported from Japan that activists that were being outspoken and distributing flyers about Fukushima were being repressed or charged with disturbing the peace and, indeed, the famous nuclear activist, Dr. Helen Caldicott, was threatened with death when she was there to speak about the dangers of nuclear power (KPFA).
In the spring issue of an e-magazine put out by the Beyond Nuclear Organization, they tell expose the myths about Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, PA and tell what actually took place. It is a lie that nobody died as ionizing radiation causes cancer although some suffer for years before they die of the cause. The NRC (National Radiation Commission) downplays the harm on their website even though that is contradicted by science. The problems began in 1974 and continued on through the 1980’s when radiation meters were off the scale but the public was not told and two studies, from Pittsburg and Columbia University concluded the cancer risk was not true which contradicted an independent study done at the University of North Caroline (Wing et al) that found specific biomarkers for both lung cancer and leukemia in the blood of people who were downwind of the disaster. This kind of reminded me of the studies recently done by Griffiths University in Australia along with specialists from the United States (Drs. Klimas and Peterson) that found specific proteins in CFIDS/ME patients and, yes, some were specific biomarkers of ionizing radiation although nobody actually mentioned this intriguing fact. It was the same thing at Three Mile Island as the NRC continued to underestimate the radiation yet radiation meters had continuously gone off the scales!
A report by Candice Bernd of the internet’s Truthout explained that “nuclear reactors are toxic to surrounding areas, especially with age” when she wrote about a study released in May by the World Business Academy for it’s Safe Energy Project. Indeed, some of the information she gave cited Joseph Mangano, a director of a nonprofit radiation project. Mangano authored an article published, well over a decade ago, in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that named ionizing radiation as the cause. Our own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tells us the “permissible levels” of radiation and, indeed, raised those numbers following the Fukushima disaster! This country has 100 nuclear reactors and many of them were built to the same specifications as Fukushima and leaks are ongoing at many but the NRC has rejected all studies that prove their danger. This year, the government approved over 6 and a half billion dollars in loan guarantees for 2 new reactors to be built in Georgia.
I’ve heard patients say that they don’t live close to any reactors so there must be other reasons for them to be sick. Indeed, you don’t have to live near a reactor to have radiation poisoning that our government pretends doesn’t exist with CFIDS and other illnesses. Low levels could have come from the air or in a healthy looking food product that got rained upon from clouds that were carrying a low level of man-made radiation. In March, authors Paul Zimmerman and Louis Ricciuti wrote about simple roadwork near Niagara Falls, NY where trucks are carrying torn up road construction as the bumps and breezes make small amounts of debris to be in the air. As some people are held up by the roadwork as the drive innocently by, “the project is camouflage” as they really are cleaning up radioactive waste deposited in the roadway! And the area was also a home to contracts given out by our country to refine uranium and the radioactive waste was stored. Dumping radioactive waste was done in other states and in Canada in fields and ravines but today Department of Energy has many unregulated landfills that will continue to poison us for billions of years.
In February to May, the media mentioned an array of problems concerning radiation. The Associated Press and many others mentioned “safety lapses” in a radiation leak in New Mexico where the federal government had a waste dump. CBS San Francisco cited a record number of sick seals and sea lions. Japan Times reported “irreparable damage” from Fukushima while ENENews reported on nuclear scientists who previously had urged our government to ban all imports but were ignored as our government feared harming the “bilateral relationship”. What does our government fear about the truth of Gulf War Syndrome and CFIDS/ME? Is it the higher number of disability claims and how expensive the payouts would be or is it the cost of shutting down all the radiation that continues to harm us and the rest of the planet Earth? Leaked emails from the NRC were exposed that tried to cover-up the disaster at Fukushima for days (NBC). We have weather alerts. We even have pollen alerts. Why aren’t there radiation alerts within a 59 mile radius of every nuclear plant?
The majority of us were left in the dark about the hazards of ionizing radiation even as Japan allows some residents to return to a dying region as the Japanese government has raised the “safe level” of radiation that is permissible in children as they are the most vulnerable. This past February saw Sister Megan Rice, an 84-year-old Catholic nun, sentenced to 35 months in jail for her antiwar actions at a Tennessee facility that stores enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. She had previously been arrested for civil disobedience. She said, “The truth will heal us and heal our planet…”. A sign on the perimeter of Oak Ridge Y-12 says, “Deadly force is authorized beyond this point” as Sister Rice and her two protestors sit in prison for entering Oak Ridge while our country and many other countries destroy our planet’s environment.
By the end of April, the California Coastal Commission, part of the California National Resources Agency, reported elevated radiation on the coast of that state that they expect will be around for “several decades” and the local marine life “will accumulate” the radioactive material causing a potential concern of Plutonium. However, neither California or the U.S. federal government is currently testing radiation levels off the coast.
By the end of May, a hydrogen explosion rocked the Fukushima nuclear plant and, days later, a second hydrogen explosion occurred. Indeed, the first injured six workers and the second injured more workers while an order to stay inside was issued for the surrounding homeowners. A massive column of smoke was seen and a some Associated Press reporters that were twenty-five miles away felt the ground shaking. The Japan Times, The Australian, Xinhua and Kyodo along with Yahoo News told of hundreds of tons of radioactive water being dumped into the ocean. Xinhua told of how Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said TEPCO was incorrectly measuring the amount of radiation and said they were “utterly inept” at taking accurate readings. I expect the world will be feeling the effects of radiation for millions of years to come. Just one day before Memorial Day Weekend, our own Nuclear Regulatory Commission not to require spent nuclear fuel, which is highly radioactive waste, to be moved from dangerous waste pools. The one dissenting vote was from the chairwoman who, in 2003, participated in a study that warned of the catastrophic risks of these pools. Senator Edward Markey said this was “a disaster waiting to happen” while Senator Barbara Boxer remembered how a recent wild fire in California came within a half mile of a closed nuclear facility that is still storing spent fuel at the site.
What have we learned from Chernobyl and Fukushima? Seemingly nothing.
Steve, a longterm PWC/ME, has asked us to refrain from further identification of him.
The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 *(781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606