Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Reactors Are An Act Of War Against Our Health
by Dr. Helen Caldicott

Nuclear power. There are two processes that create electricity from nuclear power – fission and fusion – and both possess bone-chilling technology to develop plutonium – the fuel for highly destructive nuclear weapons that can destroy not just our health but humankind.

As a physician practicing global preventive medicine, I’ve spent much of my career studying the biological ramifications of fission and fusion and the harm they’ve caused and continue to cause. Today, as global warming and nuclear powerhouses such as America and Russia threaten our planet, I find that it is my responsibility as a physician having taken the Hippocratic Oath to come forward and demand an end to the production of nuclear power and to eliminate nuclear weapons in order to avoid the apocalyptic scenarios that can not only damage our health, but indeed the future of planetary life.

The Difference Between Fission and Fusion, And Their Role In Impacting Our Health

First, let us examine these technologies to understand just how dangerous fission and fusion are. In simple terms, fission creates energy when a neutron combines with a larger atom, forcing it to split into two smaller atoms and initiating a chain reaction. Fusion, on the other hand, occurs when two atoms combine together to form a heavier atom, which is the same process that powers the sun.

But it’s the end result of these processes that are the most dangerous of all: radiation. In fact, the magnitude of the radiation generated in just one nuclear power plant is almost beyond belief. To put it into perspective, the elements used in the fission process become 1 billion times more radioactive in the reactor core. What’s more, a thousand-megawatt nuclear power plant contains as much long-lived radiation as that produced by the explosion of one thousand Hiroshimasized bombs.

The radiation caused by fusion is also extremely dangerous to the operators. The most recent example is the fusion experiment conducted as part of the Stockpile Stewardship Program at the Lawrence Livermore Labs (at the National Ignition Facility in California). It was praised as “one of the most impressive scientific feats of the 21st century” in the media, but what they didn’t explain was another result: the surrounding metal and concrete equipment became highly radioactive as it was exposed to high levels of neutron radiation, and the staff were immersed in carcinogenic tritium gas. This induced serious danger to the operators and surrounding areas.

The Dangerous Health Implications of Radiation Caused By Fission and Fusion

In assessing the impact of nuclear power, it is imperative to understand and evaluate the biological and medical consequences of exposure to the kinds of radioactive elements produced by the explosion of nuclear weapons, and within nuclear reactors – and especially following an accident at a nuclear power plant.

Here are just some of the implications that we’re dealing with:

Fact 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 Two: Children, females, and those who are immunocompromised are most at risk. Children are ten to 20 times more vulnerable to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults. Females tend to be more sensitive than males, while fetuses and immunocompromised patients are also extremely sensitive.

Fact Three: Radiation sickness will be apparent in the first few weeks and months following a nuclear weapon explosion or meltdown. High doses of radiation from these events can cause acute radiation sickness, including hair loss, severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding.

Fact Four: Every type of cancer can be caused by radiation exposure. The latent period of carcinogenesis and the incubation time for leukemia is five to ten years. For solid cancers, it is 15 to 80 years. It has been shown that all modes of cancer can be induced by radiation exposure—both external and internal— as well as over 16,604 genetic diseases caused by mutations in the eggs and sperm, which are passed on to future generations.

In addition, radioactive elements emanating from the explosion of nuclear weapons—and those that are “routinely” emitted from nuclear power plants—can pollute the food we eat and the water we drink, causing damage to our health because these radioactive isotopes bioconcentrate by orders of magnitude at each level of the food chain. Hence radiation found in vegetables and fruit, will further concentrate in various internal organs in our bodies. Similarly, the millions of gallons of water used to cool just one nuclear reactor which are dumped into our lakes, rivers, and seas, cause radioactive contamination that again bio-concentrates hundreds of times in the aquatic food chain. The fish that ingest these radioactive materials in the surrounding water look no different than any other healthy, uncontaminated fish, and they’re being served in our local grocery stores and in the restaurants we love. In other words, some of us are ingesting radioactive material without even realizing it, because these elements are invisible to our senses – taste, smell and vision, and no cancer then developed denotes its origin.

A New Age Of Energy

As the nuclear industry never gives up promoting its evil technology – bombs and reactors, it has never been more crucial to be aware of the medical dangers intrinsic in both fusion and fission.

Dr. Helen CaldicottDr. Helen Caldicott has devoted the last forty-two years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction. She calls it Global Preventive Medicine. Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1938, Dr Caldicott received her medical degree from the University of Adelaide Medical School in 1961. She founded the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital in 1975 and subsequently was an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and on the staff of the Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Boston, Mass., until 1980 when she resigned to work full time on the prevention of nuclear war. Dr. Caldicott is the subject of the short film If You Love This Planet, which won the Academy Award for best documentary in 1982. She is urging everybody to watch it today as everything she discusses in the 40-year old movie is not only still true today, but arguably worse.




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