Thursday, 28 April 2011

Protest at Westminster against nuclear power on the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl

Japanese monks and nun protest against nuclear power in Westminster on the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl

People protest against nuclear power in Westminster on the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl

In solidarity with the children who have been harmed by Chernobyl

Anti nuclear protest in France

Sizewell: Iodine traces detected in air around power station

Anti nuclear camp at Sizewell Nuclear Power Station

Here are some pictures of the camp

Monday, 25 April 2011

Anti nuclear protest in France

25 militants, equipped with banners and disguised as scientists are currently blocking the headquarters of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) 22.04.2011 

Activists from the collective "Stop EPR 2" had originally planned to make a "citizen's inspection" of the headquarters of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) in Paris to demand the closure of all plants located in areas at risk (earthquake and flood) and to stop the projects in Flamanville and Penly . Due to a heavy police presence, they couldn't enter the premises of the ASN:

Quick translation in English from here:

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Human cost of nuclear power too high - German minister

Reg Illingworth attended the AGM of the nuclear corporation RWE, at which protestors stood up and shouted, waving banners and placards saying Shut them down.

French nuclear subcontractors seek equal rights-union

Friday Apr 22, 2011 3:52pm GMT

* EDF subcontracts 80 percent of work on its reactors
* Radiation levels 3.5 times higher for subcontractors-union

PARIS, April 22 (Reuters) - Subcontractors in France's state-owned nuclear industry are calling for the same job security and conditions as employees of government-controlled utility EDF, the CFDT union said on Friday.

France, which is the world's most nuclear-dependent country, subcontracts 80 percent of the maintenance at its 58 nuclear reactors to firms such as Vinci, GDF Suez and Bouygues.

"The use of subcontractors in nuclear power plants means that utilities escape all responsibility of staff management, gain more flexibility and transfer professional risk and hardship," the CFDT union said in a statement.

While EDF staffers have public sector contracts, which means a job for life, subcontractors from the private sector are vulnerable to job cuts, because their firms risk losing contracts with EDF every three years.

"Workers of nuclear reactor operators have better social rights than subcontractors," the CFDT added.

EDF says it requires subcontractors to carry out maintenance of nuclear reactors because of the highly specialised aspects of the work, such as changing the fuel.

But subcontractors say they receive 80 percent of the global radiation dose during maintenance works and have more work accidents than EDF workers, CFDT said.

They also say radiation levels are three and a half times higher for subcontractors than for EDF staff and that they do not benefit from the same medical check-ups, it added.

Subcontractors have long called for a single status for nuclear workers, and Japan's Fukushima disaster last month could support their argument. (Reporting by Muriel Boselli, editing by Jane Baird)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Police fire on anti-nuclear protestors at Jaitapur, India

Statement Against Police firing on Protestors in Jaitapur, Maharashtra
New Delhi, Dt. 19th April, 2011

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations condemn the Maharashtra Police firing on protestors who were demonstrating against the proposed Nuclear Power Park at Jaitapur, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.

The corrupting influence of the nuclear companies over the political parties has been revealed in the Indo-US nuclear deal. These are the same political players who had played dubious roles during struggle against Enron power plant.

This incident happened at the protest which was organized against the Union Environment Minister’s statement saying, come what may the Nuclear Park will be built in Jaitapur and Prime Minister’s consistent
advocacy for nuclear energy unmindful of the tragic incident in Japan.

In the police firing on 18th April, 2011, one person died and 8 others were seriously injured. This firing should not be seen in isolation.

For the past one year, the government of Maharashtra has unleashed a reign of terror in the entire Jaitapur area against farmers, fishing folks and other rural artisans who have launched a non-violent and
protracted democratic struggle against snatching away of their land, livelihood and the imminent catastrophe from the proposed Nuclear Power Park.

We oppose any forcible acquisition of land against the wishes of the local farmers.

The high-handedness of Maharashtra State Government has been evident for the last four years. A local Konkani activist Vaishali Patil and even other prominent Konkan and Maharashtra residents like Retd.

Admiral L. Ramdas and Retd. Supreme Court Justice P B Sawant were arbitrarily declared out of bounds from Ratnagiri District. This is a flagrant violation of democratic rights. This is clear example of stamping out the right to protest which is one of the sacrosanct constitutional rights in the country. It should be noted that Mr. Narayan Rane, the State Revenue Minister who also hails from the Konkan region has been going around Jaitapur area and threatening everyone who protests against the proposed Nuclear Power Park. Mr.
Rane has also openly given a call to local Indian National Congress cadres to forcibly drive out the activists who are protesting against the Nuclear Power Park.

We are seriously concerned about Shiv Sena’s role in provoking the tragic incident. Motivated hooliganism and strong arm tactics of Shiv Sena is a well known phenomena which often dissipates the possibility of peaceful democratic protests. This provides the logic to the administration for Police repression and vilifying peaceful mass protests. Shiv Sena’s opportunism in the Anti- Enron Struggle in the 1990s is well known.

We disapprove of such rank opportunism of these political outfits which attempts to divert the studied pace and direction of the ongoing struggle against the Nuclear Power Park in the Ratnagiri district.

The people of Jaitapur are carrying out peaceful struggle against the proposed Nuclear Power Park for the past 4 years, but Congress Party’s partisan role and Shiv Sena’s unwarranted entry into the struggle has vitiated the atmosphere.

In the aftermath of the nuclear accidents in Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, a stark rationale for the abandonment of nuclear energy has emerged. In a situation where admittedly public health infrastructure is non-existent to deal with the inevitable event of nuclear emergency, promotion of nuclear commerce cannot be approved. We disapprove of nuclear energy in such a context where countries after countries are abandoning or doing a rethink about this option.

Therefore, we demand

* Scrapping of the proposed nuclear plant in the Ratnagiri district and other states in the country

* Judicial Enquiry into the incident of police firing on 18th April

* Strong action against the district officials and the Police officers who ordered the police firing on the protesters

* Immediately withdraw the false cases against the activists, the villagers and rescind the externment orders

Several citizens groups and people’s organizations will be demonstrating against the police firing and the myopic promotion of nuclear energy on 21st April at 11.30 AM at Jantar Mantar.

Endorsed by


National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM)
Popular Education and Action Centre (PEACE)
Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
Coalition on Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP)
Delhi Forum
Programme for Social Action (PSA)


Aruna Roy & Nikhil Dey, MKSS
Rajendra Ravi, IDS
Chittaranjan Singh, INSAF/ PUCL
Anil Chaudhary
Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance
Kiran Shaheen, Media Action Group
Susan Abraham, FORRAD
Prakash K. Ray,
P T George, Intercultural Resources
Benny Kuruvilla, Focus on the Global South
Preeti Sampat
Prem Piram, JAGAR
Amit Mahanti, Frame Works Research & Media Collective
Asit, Delhi Platform
Shree Prakash, MISAAL
Sandeep Singh, AISA
Wilfred D’ Costa
Soumya Dutta, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha
Priya Pillai, Greenpeace
Sundaram P
Prafull Bidwai, CNDP
Kavita Krishnan, Central Committee Member, CPI (ML) Liberation
Mona Das
S. Lahiri, NFFPFW
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Nuclear concerns after Japan earthquake

 By Deborah McGurran  Political editor, BBC East  16 April 2011

A major disaster at Sizewell could see radiation hitting a wide area of Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.
New concerns over nuclear energy in the East of England have been raised in the wake of the disasters which struck the power stations in Japan.

The devastating earthquake struck Japan on 11 March.
It left the nuclear reactors at Fukushima with no electricity.
An hour later the tsunami wiped out the back-up diesel generators.
The cooling system failed which caused the first of several explosions and radiation leaks.
EDF Energy, the UK's largest nuclear operator, which runs Sizewell in Suffolk, is keen to show that it could not happen in England.

The back-up systems for the pressurised water reactor at Sizewell include four separate diesel generators, which would be used if the electricity failed.
There is a 10m (33ft) barrier for sea defences, with a 5m (16ft) metre barrier behind it.
If the sea could no longer be used for Sizewell's cooling system there are two huge "car radiators" to take the heat away.

The Japanese government has placed a 20km (12 mile)exclusion zone around Fukushima.“
There is a 30km (19 mile) stay-indoors zone around Fukushima but the United States exclusion zone is 80km (50 miles).

Stop Nuclear Power has superimposed these over East Anglia to show how far they would reach if there was a disaster here.  The American zone would extend from Cromer in Norfolk to beyond Colchester in Essex.

Mell Harrison, from Stop Nuclear Power UK, said she believed the back-up plans were not good enough.
This week she joined protests outside EDF's headquarters in London.

Protest camp
Next weekend she will be at a protest camp on the beach at Sizewell which will mark the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl.

She said: "When Fukushima first occurred people said there's no way it's going to be as bad as Chernobyl and now the level is the same.  "We're not going to know the full extent of it until the next generation and to me that's scary."

"Sizewell B, when they reopened after seven months, a little while later they closed down again for another few days.  "Now, we have the Freedom of Information on that accident and it says in there that it is still vulnerable.  "To me it says we need to shut them down and we need to shut them down as soon as possible."

Andy Spurr, one of the managing directors of EDF, said: "We will review our own operation but more importantly we'll review the lessons that came out of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate's report as well and we may decide to put additional strength and depth in place.

"It's too early to talk about any of the details but I would describe it as, our minds are very open, in terms of looking and reviewing and learning."

The BBC Politics Show in the East is broadcast at 1400 GMT on Sunday

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Nuclear submarine risks the MoD didn't want you to know about

from Caledonian Mercury, 18 April 2011

The reactors that power all the nuclear submarines on the Clyde are twice as likely to suffer catastrophic accidents as US submarine reactors and civil nuclear power stations, according to a secret Ministry of Defence (MoD) report.

The pressurised water reactors, known as PWR2, are vulnerable to Fukushima-style loss of coolant accidents if they develop cracks larger than 15 millimetres. They also rely on manual cooling in an emergency, rather than a system that automatically injects coolant into the reactor.

These are the revelations that the MoD meant to censor from a report by its senior nuclear safety regulator, Commodore Andrew McFarlane. The report was released online in a form that enabled text that had been blacked out to be seen, simply by cutting and pasting it into another document.

The censored text also reveals that British submariners are more likely to drown than their American counterparts if the reactor fails while they are under water. British submarines "accept a much lower reliability from the main propulsion system" and the back-up system "will not provide sufficient dynamic lift", it says.

When the MoD's mistake was reported yesterday, an MoD spokesman said it "took steps to ensure the document was removed from the public domain". However, it was not removed from Google's online cache for about 24 hours, and so has been widely accessed.

The report, with the censored text revealed, has been posted on several websites, including,,,, and Britain’s 11 nuclear-powered submarines are all driven by reactors that are “unacceptable”, it says.

The PWR2 currently powers the Royal Navy’s six old Trafalgar class submarines and four Vanguard class submarines, which carry Trident nuclear missiles. It also drives HMS Astute, the first of a £10 billion programme of seven Astute class submarines, all of which will be based at Faslane on Gareloch.

HMS Astute returned to Faslane at the end of last week, after one of its sailors was charged with murdering a senior officer and seriously injuring another in an on-board shooting in Southampton. The submarine also hit the headlines last October when it accidently ran aground near the Isle of Skye during trials.

The MoD report, which was written in November 2009, was requested by John Ainslie, the co-ordinator of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and others. Heavily censored versions were released by the MoD under freedom of information law, but all the text in some of them could be easily read by anyone with a computer.

“The MoD is making a bungled attempt to keep this report under wraps not because it gives away any national security secrets but because it spells out fundamental design problems with the reactors on all Royal Navy submarines,” said Ainslie.

“The report shows that US nuclear submarines are substantially safer than their British counterparts. This makes a mockery of the claim that parts of the report should be classified because they might embarrass America. It is the poor state of British submarines that is laid bare.”

According to the nuclear consultant, John Large, the full report exposed the fact that Britain’s submarines were using out-dated and sub-standard technology. A small crack in the reactor could too easily trigger a major release of radioactivity, putting the lives of submariners and the pubic at risk, he said.

The MoD report argues that new submarines being considered to replace the Vanguard class boats must use a new, safer design, known as PWR3. The “necessary safety performance in response to a loss of coolant accident is likely to be delivered only through a PWR3 submarine,” it concludes.

Although no final decision on the type of reactor has been announced, indications are that PWR3 will be adopted. The UK defence secretary, Liam Fox, has told the House of Commons there was a “very clear-cut” case to use PWR3 in future submarines because it has “improved nuclear safety” and would give “a better safety outlook”.

Italy’s Last Reactor Town Goes Solar in Fight Against Nuclear

April 17, 2011,

Montalto di Castro, the town where Italy’s last nuclear plant was built before a two-decade ban, is fighting against a return to atomic power and staking its future on solar energy by hosting Europe’s largest photovoltaic park.

“We’ve come up with a better idea,” Mayor Salvatore Carai said in an interview in his Town Hall office, which has views of the old reactor between the sea and acres of farmland. “The solar panels keep us self-sufficient. We haven’t used a single kilowatt of ‘dirty energy’ since December 2009.”

Italy, the only Group of Eight nation without nuclear plants, passed legislation in 2008 to return to generation and the country planned to build its first new reactors by 2020. That was before the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant prompted the government to set a one-year moratorium.

As Italy debates whether to return to nuclear generation, Montalto’s mayor is organizing protests and supporting a national referendum to stop the construction of new plants, saying they would hurt agriculture and tourism.

“There’s concern people will abandon the land for fear of leaks,” Carai said. “No compensation they can offer could make up for that.”

The Montalto reactor, which never went into service, was dismantled after Italians voted in a 1987 referendum to end nuclear generation in the wake of the Chernobyl accident. The empty shell of the facility now sits next to a thermoelectric plant run by Enel SpA, Italy’s biggest electricity producer.

Residents of Montalto are concerned that their town is a prime candidate to host new generators once the moratorium ends.

“We’re at the top of the list,” said Stefano Sebastiani, a spokesman for Montalto’s anti-nuclear committee. The Japanese accident has raised awareness on safety issues and made residents nervous about the prospect of new plants, he said. “Nuclear is like a pressure cooker and sooner or later the steam comes out and people pay the price.”

Experts agree that if plant construction goes ahead, the town of 9,000 between the sea and the hills of the central region of Lazio would offer an ideal location.

“Montalto is one of the places where it makes sense to restart nuclear,” said Giovanbattista Zorzoli, a nuclear engineer and professor at Milan’s polytechnic university. “It has the right conditions and a network already set up for distribution of the energy.” There’s also a canal connecting the area to the sea to allow for cooling, he said.

Montalto has already moved on, said Raffaello Giacchetti, regional manager for SunRay Renewable Energy, a European solar power-plant developer and operator of the town’s main 45 megawatt photovoltaic field. Producing enough electricity to power 15,000 homes, it’s the largest field in Europe.

Economic Advantages

“Montalto and other towns in the area have understood that they’re not just getting economic advantages from the fields,” Giacchetti said. “They’re are also creating an alternative to nuclear power.” The town’s solar fields combine to provide 85 MW of power, which should rise to 120 MW by the end of this year, according to Mayor Carai.

Solar panel prices will likely fall to $1.50 per watt in the second half of 2011 compared with around $1.80 in 2010, Jenny Chase, a solar analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said March 29.

Demand for solar may be supported by a backlash against atomic generators after the Fukushima accident. The WilderHill New Energy Index has gained about 8 percent since the March 11 accident as governments around the world review their nuclear plans.

Electricity Prices

Some Montalto residents remain skeptical about whether solar power can have enough of an impact. “We pay too much for electricity,” said Quinto Del Papa, a retired farmer who supports nuclear power. “I think nuclear would help.”

Italian households pay 21 euro cents per kilowatt hour of electricity compared with 13 cents in France and 14 cents in the U.K., while Italian businesses pay 13 cents, compared with 7 cents in France and 11 cents in the U.K., according to Brussels- based research firm Europe’s Energy Portal.

Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo said last year that nuclear power will help balance Italy’s energy mix, reduce electricity prices and cut dependence on imported energy.

Del Papa, who remembers Montalto as a boomtown that nearly doubled in population as the old plant was built, said new reactors “would also give us jobs.” As for the dangers of having a reactor in the neighborhood, he shrugged. “I’d live near it,” he said. “Those accidents are rare.”

Zorzoli, the Milan-based nuclear engineer, said he’s more skeptical about atomic energy since the Fukushima accident. “One should not be alarmist” about the country’s power requirements, he said. “Italy’s existing capacity and renewable development will allow us to face our needs.”

--With assistance from Ben Sills in Madrid. Editors: Jerrold Colten, Dan Liefgreen

To contact the reporters on this story: Alessandra Migliaccio in Rome at;
Flavia Rotondi in Rome at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Nuclear no-go zone in Japan

After the earthquake they cannot go back to look for their dead loved ones because this area is highly radioactive

Nuclear no-go zone in Japan

Thousands of people had to flee their homes after the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Since then, the area around the reactor has been a no-go area. This photo shows a deserted street in Odaka inside the 20-kilometer exclusion zone.

Nuclear no-go zones

This nuclear no-go zone is in Kazakstan. It was a Soviet nuclear testing site and is just one of many places in the world that remain dangerously radioactive to this day.

Everyone knows about Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and, now, Fukushima. But what about Semipalatinsk, Palomares and Kyshtym? The world is full of nuclear disaster zones -- showing just how dangerous the technology really is.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Nuclear Protest Causes Victoria Delays

Protestors have caused delays in Victoria as they block Grosvenor Place to campaign over nuclear energy.

The group - Boycott EDF Energy - set up outside energy firm EDF's headquarters, with signs including a banner saying "nuclear disaster area". Bella Benson from the group told LBC they had tried democratic channels but "all the doors have been closed".

"We do apologise sincerly to everybody who has been disrupted by our actions today. The truth is that no-one will listen to us. Everybody has bought the line that we have to keep the lights on and nuclear energy is the only way to do this - it's absolutely not true," she added.


Monday, 11 April 2011

Government's doomed £6bn plan to dispose of nuclear waste

By Steve Connor, Science Editor. The Independent Monday, 11 April 2011

One month after the Japanese tsunami, the world's biggest reserve of plutonium waste is reaching crisis point. It was meant to be reprocessed and sold – but now no nation will take it. So where is this vast stockpile? Not Fukushima, but Sellafield, Cumbria
The Sellafield Mox plant is likely to only produce a fraction of the 1,000 tonnes of Mox over 10 years for which it was designed.
The nuclear crisis in Japan threatens a carefully choreographed UK Government plan to tackle the world's biggest mountain of plutonium waste stored at the Sellafield site in Cumbria.

Japanese nervousness about nuclear power following the near-meltdown at the Fukushima plant has led to a freeze in the international trade of reprocessed nuclear fuel that the Government sees as critical to solving Britain's own plutonium problem.

The Government's preferred strategy to eliminate the UK's growing plutonium stockpile centres on a technology that was developed to meet the demands of the Japanese market, yet there are now fears that Japan is about to turn its back on the enterprise.
It was hoped that Japanese contracts with Sellafield to make mixed oxide (Mox) nuclear fuel would underpin the economic and political case to tackle Britain's plutonium stockpile with a second multi-billion-pound Mox fabrication plant on the Cumbrian site.

However, Japanese power companies have told Sellafield that concerns about Fukushima have forced them to indefinitely postpone a shipment of French-made Mox nuclear fuel that would have been transported on British vessels operated from Sellafield.

The postponement is significant because the Mox shipment was not destined for the stricken reactors at Fukushima operated by Tokyo Electric, but for the unaffected Hamaoka reactors operated by Chubu Electric, the same company that was supposed to be one of the first customers of the existing Sellafield Mox Plant (SMP).

Chubu Electric and nine other Japanese power companies have also indicated that because of long-term production problems that have dogged the SMP, they will not now be taking any reprocessed fuel from Britain until at least the end of the decade – nearly 20 years after the plant was opened to serve the Japanese market.

This would mean that the existing Mox plant at Sellafield, which was designed to supply more than 1,000 tons of Mox over 10 years, is likely to produce a tiny fraction of this before it is due to be decommissioned, at enormous cost to the British taxpayer.

The setback is seen as a huge blow to the business of making and selling Mox fuel, touted by the Government as the best way of dealing with Britain's stockpile of civilian plutonium, which is itself the product of nuclear-waste reprocessing at Sellafield.

Government ministers, their officials and advisers are all privately convinced that "recycling" plutonium waste into nuclear fuel that could be "burned" in nuclear reactors represents the safest and least expensive option in dealing with the stockpile.

A Government consultation on the stockpile ends next month but ministers have already made it clear that the "Mox option" is their preferred route, even though it would require a second Mox plant at Sellafield costing £3bn at discounted prices – the actual lifetime cost of the plant is likely to be nearer £6bn.

The existing Sellafield Mox Plant, opened in 2002, has cost more than £1.3bn to date yet has produced just 13.8 tons of Mox fuel in nine years compared to an expected output of 120 tons per year. A leaked cable from the US embassy in London said Sellafield's Mox plant was a white elephant costing about £90m a year and considered, privately, by the UK Government as "[one of] the most embarrassing failures in British industrial history".

Yet, ministers have now agreed they should press on with preparing the public for an even bigger Mox plant to deal with the growing stockpile of British-owned plutonium, expected to reach 109 tons within a few years.

Independent scientists, from Sir David King, the former chief scientist, to fellows of the Royal Society, are supporting a new Mox plant and believe there is no viable alternative.

However, nuclear experts have told The Independent that the existing Sellafield Mox plant is a serious drain on the budget of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which took over the Sellafield site from BNFL in 2005. They said that the authority would like to close the plant, except that to do so would be a PR disaster at a time when the Government is about to propose another one.

In January, before the nuclear crisis at Fukushima, Jonathan Marland, a junior Government minister, told the House of Lords that a new Mox plant at Sellafield would turn the world's biggest plutonium stockpile from a liability into an asset and that a decision on whether to go ahead and build it is likely later this year. Lord Marland admitted that the existing Mox plant is not fit for purpose, which is why the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has brought in the French nuclear company Areva, which wants to build the second Mox plant based on its own Mox operation at Marcoule in the south of France.

Although the Government has not finished its consultation exercise on the plutonium stockpile, it has already made it clear that the long-term storage and disposal of plutonium would be even more expensive than building a second plant to convert it into Mox fuel.

Q & A: Why has it come to this?
Q: What is Britain's "plutonium mountain"?

A: It is the nation's stockpile of radioactive plutonium, kept as plutonium dioxide powder, packed into special drums stored at Sellafield in Cumbria. A further, smaller amount is stored at the Dounreay nuclear facility in Scotland, the site of the doomed nuclear fast-breeder reactor programme.

Q: Why is the plutonium stockpile so big?

A: This is civilian plutonium, not military. It is largely the result of a decision in the 1960s to extract the plutonium from spent nuclear fuel for use in fast-breeder reactors, which were never built commercially. Britain continued to accumulate civilian plutonium, currently amounting to 84 tonnes, along with foreign-owned plutonium, currently 28 tonnes. The final British-owned plutonium stockpile will be 109 tonnes, once fuel reprocessing from existing nuclear reactors has been completed.

Q: Why do we need to do anything with it?

A: Plutonium remains radioactive for many thousands of years – just how long depends on which isotope. Experts say that doing nothing with the stockpile is not an option – the current methods of storage will eventually become unsafe in decades to come. Plutonium either has to be put into long-term storage, with a view of permanent disposal at some future point in cement or glass blocks, or used in some way that makes it "safer", such as incorporating it into Mox fuel that is used in a reactor.

Q: Is converting plutonium to Mox fuel safe?

A: Plutonium is an extreme health risk if it gets inside the body – it emits alpha particles which are highly dangerous if they penetrate the skin because they damage the DNA of cells and cause cancer. It is also a security risk because of its use in nuclear weapons and "dirty" bombs. By converting it to Mox fuel, and irradiating this fuel in reactors, some experts believe that plutonium will, ironically, become safer because, being more radioactive, it will be more difficult to handle. Opponents argue that manufacturing Mox necessarily increases security risks not least because of the transport of Mox fuel rods, and even plutonium dioxide, which can be subject to terrorist attacks of accidents.

Q: Is it easy to use Mox fuel in nuclear reactors?

A: Some reactors do use Mox, but only as a small percentage (less than 30 per cent) of the total fuel. The rest of the fuel is conventional uranium oxide. Supporters of Mox suggest that the new generation of nuclear reactors to be built in Britain could burn Mox fuel and thereby be used to diminish the plutonium stockpile. However, the new reactors have been licensed to burn uranium-only fuel and none of the reactor designs being considered has been "justified" for Mox, which in any case remains far more expensive than conventional uranium fuel.

Nuclear Power workers offered huge sums to work on the striken reactors

More 89% of the workers at Fukushima Nuclear plant were low paid contract workers; and this reflects very well the wider picture too, more than 80% of all the more than 80000 japanese nuclear industry workers are temporary and contract workers. Of course same is the story of the French nuclear industry. We dont know how many temporary contact workers are there in India's nuclear Industry ? An area that needs much research.
The New York Times   April 9, 2011   Japanese Workers Braved Radiation for a Temp Job

KAZO, Japan — The ground started to buck at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and Masayuki Ishizawa could scarcely stay on his feet. Helmet in hand, he ran from a workers’ standby room outside the plant’s No. 3 reactor, near where he and a group of workers had been doing repair work. He saw a chimney and crane swaying like weeds.

Everybody was shouting in a panic, he recalled. Mr. Ishizawa, 55, raced to the plant’s central gate. But a security guard would not let him out of the complex. A long line of cars had formed at the gate, and some drivers were blaring their horns. “Show me your IDs,” Mr. Ishizawa remembered the guard saying, insisting that he follow the correct sign-out procedure. And where, the guard demanded, were his supervisors?

“What are you saying?” Mr. Ishizawa said he shouted at the guard. He looked over his shoulder and saw a dark shadow on the horizon, out at sea, he said. He shouted again: “Don’t you know a tsunami is coming?”

Mr. Ishizawa, who was finally allowed to leave, is not a nuclear specialist; he is not even an employee of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the crippled plant. He is one of thousands of
untrained, itinerant, temporary laborers who handle the bulk of the dangerous work at nuclear power plants here and in other countries, lured by the higher wages offered for working with radiation.

Collectively, these contractors were exposed to levels of radiation about 16 times as high as the levels faced by Tokyo Electric employees last year, according to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which regulates the industry. These workers remain vital to efforts to contain the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plants.

They are emblematic of Japan’s two-tiered work force, with an elite class of highly paid employees at top companies and a subclass of laborers who work for less pay, have less job security and receive fewer benefits. Such labor practices have both endangered the health of these workers and undermined safety at Japan’s 55 nuclear reactors, critics charge.

“This is the hidden world of nuclear power,” said Yuko Fujita, a former physics professor at Keio University in Tokyo and a longtime campaigner for improved labor conditions in the nuclear industry.

“Wherever there are hazardous conditions, these laborers are told to go. It is dangerous for them, and it is dangerous for nuclear safety.”

Of roughly 83,000 workers at Japan’s 18 commercial nuclear power plants, 88 percent were contract workers in the year that ended in March 2010, the nuclear agency said. At the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 89 percent of the 10,303 workers during that period were contractors.

In Japan’s nuclear industry, the elite are operators like Tokyo Electric and the manufacturers that build and help maintain the plants like Toshiba and Hitachi. But under those companies are contractors,
subcontractors and sub-subcontractors — with wages, benefits and protection against radiation dwindling with each step down the ladder.

Interviews with about a half-dozen past and current workers at Fukushima Daiichi and other plants paint a bleak picture of workers on the nuclear circuit: battling intense heat as they clean off radiation
from the reactors’ drywells and spent-fuel pools using mops and rags, clearing the way for inspectors, technicians and Tokyo Electric employees, and working in the cold to fill drums with contaminated

Some workers are hired from construction sites, and some are local farmers looking for extra income. Yet others are hired by local gangsters, according to a number of workers who did not want to give
their names. They spoke of the constant fear of getting fired, trying to hide injuries to avoid trouble for their employers, carrying skin-colored adhesive bandages to cover up cuts and bruises.

In the most dangerous places, current and former workers said, radiation levels would be so high that workers would take turns approaching a valve just to open it, turning it for a few seconds before a supervisor with a stopwatch ordered the job to be handed off to the next person. Similar work would be required at the Fukushima Daiichi plant now, where the three reactors in operation at the time of the earthquake shut down automatically, workers say.

“Your first priority is to avoid pan-ku,” said one current worker at the Fukushima Daini plant, using a Japanese expression based on the English word puncture. Workers use the term to describe their dosimeter, which measures radiation exposure, from reaching the daily cumulative limit of 50 millisieverts. “Once you reach the limit, there is no more work,” said the worker, who did not want to give his name for fear of being fired by his employer.

Takeshi Kawakami, 64, remembers climbing into the spent-fuel pool of the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant during an annual maintenance shutdown in the 1980s to scrub the walls clean of radiation with brushes and rags. All workers carried dosimeters set to sound an alarm if exposure levels hit a cumulative dose limit; Mr. Kawakami said he usually did not last 20 minutes.

Many of the workers who handle dangerous duties at Japan's nuclear plants are itinerant laborers with little job security.
“It was unbearable, and you had your mask on, and it was so tight,” Mr. Kawakami said. “I started feeling dizzy. I could not even see what I was doing. I thought I would drown in my own sweat.”

Since the mid-1970s, about 50 former workers have received workers’ compensation after developing leukemia and other forms of cancer. Health experts say that though many former workers are experiencing health problems that may be a result of their nuclear work, it is often difficult to prove a direct link. Mr. Kawakami has received a diagnosis of stomach and intestinal cancer.

News of workers’ mishaps turns up periodically in safety reports: one submitted by Tokyo Electric to the government of Fukushima Prefecture in October 2010 outlines an accident during which a contract worker who had been wiping down a turbine building was exposed to harmful levels of radiation after accidentally using one of the towels on his face. In response, the company said in the report that it would provide special towels for workers to wipe their sweat.

Most day workers were evacuated from Fukushima Daiichi after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which knocked out the plant’s power and pushed some of the reactors to the brink of a partial meltdown. Since then, those who have returned have been strictly shielded from the news media; many of them are housed at a staging ground for workers that is off limits to reporters. But there have been signs that such laborers continue to play a big role at the crippled power plant.

The two workers who were injured two weeks ago when they stepped in radioactive water were subcontractor employees. As of Thursday, 21 workers at the plant had each been exposed to cumulative radiation levels of more than 100 millisieverts, or the usual limit set for nuclear plant workers during an emergency, according to Tokyo Electric. (That limit was raised to 250 millisieverts last month.)

The company refused to say how many contract workers had been exposed to radiation. Of roughly 300 workers left at the plant on Thursday, 45 were employed by contractors, the company said.

Day laborers are being lured back to the plant by wages that have increased along with the risks of working there. Mr. Ishizawa, whose home is about a mile from the plant and who evacuated with the town’s other residents the day after the quake, said he had been called last week by a former employer who offered daily wages of about $350 for just two hours of work at the Fukushima Daiichi plant — more than twice his previous pay. Some of the former members of his team have been offered nearly $1,000 a day. Offers have fluctuated depending on the progress at the plant and the perceived radiation risks that day. So far, Mr. Ishizawa has refused to return.

Working conditions have improved over the years, experts say. While exposure per worker dropped in the 1990s as safety standards improved, government statistics show, the rates have been rising since 2000, partly because there have been more accidents as reactors age. Moreover, the number of workers in the industry has risen, as the same tasks are carried out by more employees to reduce individual exposure levels.

Tetsuen Nakajima, chief priest of the 1,200-year-old Myotsuji Temple in the city of Obama near the Sea of Japan, has campaigned for workers’ rights since the 1970s, when the local utility started building reactors along the coast; today there are 15 of them. In the early 1980s, he helped found the country’s first union for day workers at nuclear plants.

The union, he said, made 19 demands of plant operators, including urging operators not to forge radiation exposure records and not to force workers to lie to government inspectors about safety procedures. Although more than 180 workers belonged to the union at its peak, its leaders were soon visited by thugs who kicked down their doors and threatened to harm their families, he said.

“They were not allowed to speak up,” Mr. Nakajima said. “Once you enter a nuclear power plant, everything’s a secret.”

Last week, conversations among Fukushima Daiichi workers at a smoking area at the evacuees’ center focused on whether to stay or go back to the plant. Some said construction jobs still seemed safer, if they could be found. “You can see a hole in the ground, but you can’t see radiation,” one worker said.

Mr. Ishizawa, the only one who allowed his name to be used, said, “I might go back to a nuclear plant one day, but I’d have to be starving.” In addition to his jobs at Daiichi, he has worked at thermal power plants and on highway construction sites in the region. For now, he said, he will stay away from the nuclear industry.

“I need a job,” he said, “but I need a safe job.”

Sunday, 10 April 2011

More Nuclear Plants lose power in new Japan Earthquake

By Jesse Emspak    April 8, 2011

The aftershocks of the Tohoku earthquake that rocked Japan Thursday night have caused spills of radioactive water and power losses at no less than three different nuclear facilities.
An aerial view shows Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant is seen at Miyagi Prefecture in this photo taken by Yomiuri Shimbun on April 8. Water leaked out of spent fuel pools at the Onagawa nuclear plant in northeast Japan after a strong aftershock rocked the region late on Thursday, but there was no change in the radiation levels outside the plant, operator Tohoku Electric Power said on Friday.
China posts trade deficit in sign of rebalancing

Japan's Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency said there was no change in radiation levels outside the plants.

The problems were reported at two nuclear plants run by Tohoku Electric Power Co. One is in Onagawa and the other is in Higashidori, some distance north of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. Loss of power was reported at a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in Rokkasho.

In Onagawa, radioactive water from the spent fuel pools spilled in the wake of the magnitude 7.1 temblor. Kyodo News reports that the aftershocks caused the plant to also lose the ability to cool the spent fuel rods for anywhere from 20 to 80 minutes.
That is not enough time to cause the kinds of problems that resulted from loss of cooling at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, but it does raise further concerns about the safety of spent fuel facilities during earthquakes.

The spill at Onagawa was small, though contaminated water was seen on the floors of all three reactor buildings, according to Tohoku Electric power Co., the operator of the plant. One spilled up to 3.8 liters of water with high levels of radioactive contamination.

Meanwhile, the Higashidori nuclear power station in Aomori prefecture, lost power completely, according to NISA. The plant switched to emergency diesel power for some hours before some power was restored.

The nuclear reprocessing facility in Rokkasho, Aomori prefecture, as of Friday afternoon was still running on emergency power. The reprocessing plant is operated by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. JNFL said that as the pools where spent fuel is kept are located at ground level it is possible to keep pumping water into them even when all external power is lost. A tsunami would not affect the plant, JNFL says, because it is five kilometers from the shoreline and 55 meters above sea level. The reprocessing plant stores some 3,258 tons of spent fuel.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Sellafield blockade by Neptune networds

Police today removed Neptune Networks campaigners from the railway line at Sellafield. Activists had placed an electric car on the railway line to stop the intake of radioactive waste to the disputed facility.

Neptune Network has been present at the railway line to Sellafield for over 3 days with the intention to stop nuclear waste shipment to Sellafield as an unacceptable ...

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Monday, 4 April 2011

anti-nuke demo in Koenji,Tokyo on 10th April

We are planning an anti-nuke demo in Koenji,Tokyo on 10th April, and we'd like to make it the day of global action. I hope you can contribute to this solidarity action. Actions are run up. More later.

in solidarity,



We took big risk depending on nuclear energy in exchange for creating unlimited prosperity. Then we are now facing assumed danger. Human being seems to take wrong choice. We have to make sure. No more nuclear plants.

We individuals living in Tokyo are planning an demonstration against nuclear plants on 10th April in Koenji, Tokyo. We also would like to call for global solidarity actions on the same day. We believe that the global response and action will be significant support for all disaster victims and movements against the current nuclear policy in general.


This is a global call for actions on 10th April.
We sincerely hope that you will take any actions together on that day.
Work with us in solidarity against all nuclear plants worldwide!


Plans for actions and Records of actions.
Please send us the texts, documents, footage, images and/or anything else relating to your actoins to:

Monbiot's wrong nuclear analysis

New report picks apart George Monbiot's support for nuclear power and finds significant factual and analytical errors in his claims

Writer and researcher Paul Mobbs claims that,"The concentration on either the nuclear or carbon issue in isolation detracts from a more meaningful and balanced debate about the impacts of the human system in general."

Today, environmental consultant and author Paul Mobbs1 has released a detailed analysis of George Monbiot's claims regarding nuclear power. Published as part of his 'ecolonomics' newsletter series2, it takes, point by point, Monbiot's claims regarding the environment movements position on nuclear power, radiation and health, and the significance (above over kinds of human activity) of coal burning on carbon emissions.

Rather than limiting the debate over the merits of nuclear versus coal, the report seeks to look at the issues George Monbiot has raised in the context of human ecology general – our total impact on the environment rather than a single facet of it – and finds that there is a more fundamental truth that the debate is ignoring; even with nuclear power human society would still be unsustainable.

To summarise the main points:

•The media's treatment of George Monbiot's comments typifies a problem with both the reduction of the ecological debate to the views of a few iconic figures. This result in the presentation to the public of an unchallenging and technically poor analysis of the trends that will increasing define the limits of our lives over the Twenty-First Century. (page 2/3)

•The claims made by George Monbiot, along with other figures who have recently professed a pro-nuclear position such as Stewart Brand or Mark Lynas, are distorting the analysis of the proposals for new nuclear build because. As noted above, the message they give is partial and not well analysed, and does not accord to recent academic and public policy research. (page 2)

•If we look at the significance of the carbon emissions from coal burning globally, they are no more significant than the emissions from the use of oil. It's not possible to single out coal as being qualitatively worse than other industrial activities – for example it is arguable, at the global level, that the impacts of agriculture have a much greater impact upon the general environment and climate change than coal burning. (pages 4-6) In many ways coal has become a convenient scapegoat to deflect criticism from the affluent Western consumer lifestyle in general. (page 18)

•The statement that radiation emissions from coal-fired power stations are "100 times" (two orders of magnitude) greater than an equivalent nuclear power plant is wholly incorrect. Although based upon a Scientific American article, the analysis presented is a complete misquoting of the original 1977 research paper produced by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which put the emissions from coal and two different nuclear technologies as within one order of magnitude (10 times) of each other. The 1977 study also indicates that radiation doses to certain organs (e.g. bones) was lower for some nuclear emissions whilst the dose to other organs, (e.g. the thyroid) from nuclear power was always greater than coal. Subsequent UK-based studies of the radiation dose from coal power and the use of coal ash in building materials found no such hazard to exist. (pages 7/9)

•Claims that the Fukushima Daiichi accident is not "like Chernobyl" are only correct in terms of the causative mechanisms – the radiological impact, based upon sampling reports by the IAEA in their daily updates, indicates that contamination is approaching the levels typically found around Chernobyl's 30km exclusion zone. (page 8)

•The claims that environmentalists' "exaggerate" the impacts of radiation are unfounded, and do not represent the current state of the scientific debate over radiation and health. There are many scientific grounds to criticise current dose models, which is why recent scientific studies have produced impacts for Chernobyl's death toll far higher than the "accepted" government and IAEA statistics. For example, a recent study published by the New York Academy of Sciences put the excess deaths from Chernobyl at 985,000 – in contrast to the IAEA's figure of 4,000. In fact the head of the ICRP's scientific secretariat resigned in 2009 because existing dose models could not predict or explain the health effects of radiation exposures to human populations. (page 9/10)

•Any new nuclear build in Britain, if less than 9GW to 10GW of electrical capacity (or at least 7 new 1.6GW plant) will do nothing to reduce carbon emissions because of the retirement of existing nuclear plant – and in fact, even replacing all existing coal and nuclear plants (34GW of capacity) with 22 new nuclear plants would only reduce the UK's total carbon emissions by 12%. Contrast this reduction with, for example, the recent 12% reduction in emissions that has taken place over the economic recession, and we can see that there are other options available to reduce carbon emissions – and many of these are much cheaper. (pages 12/13)

•In any case, nuclear is no more a secure form of energy than any other fuel since uranium production is also experiencing capacity problems that are the result of declining resource quality. Nuclear fuel production is likely to experience supply problems as new nuclear plants ramp-up demand, and globally uranium production may peak as early as 2030. (pages 11/12)

•If we look at the available data on the carbon emissions from fossil fuels since 1992, when the UN Convention on Climate Change was signed at the Rio "Earth Summit", emissions have, over the intervening 20 years, increased by 50% when compared to the emissions of carbon over the previous 240 years of industrialisation. This demonstrates the complete political failure to address carbon emissions, primarily because we can't cut emissions without significantly changing the operation of the economic process, and that entails the end of "growth economics". (page 5)

•Most significantly, the issue of resource and energy depletion throws the operation of our present economic system into question – the system can't grow if resource shortage create physical and inflationary pressures on the economy. In fact even if we were to cease carbon emissions tomorrow, the effect of other problems within the human ecological system – such as food, water and mineral resource shortages – will create a severe crisis over the next few decades. This is a fact attested to not just by environmentalists, but also by academic, public policy and intelligence agency research over recent years. (pages 13-16)

•Finally, and most significantly, the media and mainstream environmentalism's consumer-oriented infatuation with carbon is skewing the analysis of issues of human ecology and their public debate. We must develop a more broad-based critique of the political-economic process in order to understand and deal with these problems. The "deep green" members of the environment movement have always held such a viewpoint, but this has been marginalised, not only within George Monbiot's recent article, but also by the move of the large campaigning groups towards limited and often ineffectual "sustainable consumption" measures over the last two decades – often promoted in return for sponsorship or political access rather than because on an objective analysis they are proven to "solve" the problems of human ecology. (pages 16-18)

To quote Paul Mobbs' views on George Monbiot's pro-nuclear argument –

I can't help feeling that George has been "assimilated" by the misinformation of the nuclear-industrial lobby; add to that Stewart Brand, Mark Lynas and others of their ilk. Faced with the dilemma between representing a hard, unpopular truth; or... trying to make some perhaps positive but ultimately futile steps (in terms of the ecological trends and where they are heading) towards accomplishing some change – they have decided not to stand for an interpretation of the data that makes the best sense because it represents such a challenge to existing political orthodoxy.

And he continued, relating the way the tobacco industry and their public relations advisor's have manipulated the scientific debate in the past – we've seen this week, George's article has created rather a clamour; and that, if nothing else, is really what I believe the nuclear lobby wish to do. It's not so much that George's efforts make any different to the bulk of the population; but amongst the environment lobby, the people who are likely to make trouble in the next few years as EDF and others apply to build new nuclear plants, it creates doubt and division – and that, more than anything, is what vested interests seek to create today.

In conclusion, on the general philosophy of environmentalism, and the innate contradictions between the consumer-oriented message of Monbiot (and others) and the need for a fundamental change in society's relationship to the world it inhabits, he stated –

As individual environmentalists we are called upon to witness the world as we experience it, and to share that insight with others; there should be no expectation that we represent "the facts" – such evidence, freely available, should stand for itself without any nuancing of its content. Of course, taking such a view can be challenging for many people; unpredictable change is so much harder to think about than than a reassuringly predictable and reliable stasis. Environmental philosophy challenges us to understand and solve this dichotomy. The question we have to resolve is a value judgement over which is the best option for us to adopt: Is it better to serve under an order that is delusional (in the face of the evidence, perhaps suicidally so), and by taking no action risking that if it collapses your lifestyle will be seriously compromised; or, by accepting the need for change, risking the seeming chaos of trying to adapt your lifestyle to escape that outcome?

Speaking on the release of his report, Paul stated –

I think that my greatest concern is that in the rush to fulminate at George's comments we may be missing the most important dimension of this debate – the environment. The concentration on either the nuclear or carbon issue in isolation detracts from a more meaningful and balanced debate about the impacts of the human system in general. The fact is, even if we stopped all coal burning tomorrow by magicking hundreds of nuclear plants into existence, the eventual outcome for the human species over the course of this century would change very little. The crisis of human ecology is much greater than either the nuclear or carbon issue; and I believe that the fixation upon carbon emissions is leading us to ignore equally pressing trends that will also create just as much misery and servitude for humanity over the course of this century.

Paul's critique of George Monbiot's justification of nuclear power is available via his web site –

or for the PDF version go to –

For further comments or interviews he can be most easily contacted by email – – or if necessary by telephone on 01295 261864 (for ecological reasons, he has no mobile phone).


1.For information on Paul Mobbs' past and present work visit his web site –

2.The 'ecolonomics' (a contraction of the terms 'ecology' and 'economics') newsletter is an occasional publication that examines issues relating to energy, ecology and economics, and seeks to develop a more in-depth (in Paul's terms, unapologetically detailed, or as he uncompromisingly states, "My medium is the word, the argument and the reference") view of everyday issues that define human ecology. For further details see –

The Free Range Activism Website (FRAW) –

Nuclear Power - Historical Analysis

Avoidable Tragedy post-Chernobyl

A Critical Analysis

Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D., G.N.S.H.
President Emerita of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health Member of the Board of Regents, International Association of Humanitarian Medicine

Journal of Humanitarian Medicine, Vol. II, No. 3, pp 21 - 28.


Journalists and mathematicians have a way of focussing on one aspect of a complex situation in order to give a snapshot view of its magnitude. For example, one might read in the newspaper that a “six alarm fire” had occurred in some neighbourhood. This immediately conjures up the image of a very large fire requiring six fire stations to send trucks to the scene. It gives one no clue as to the magnitude of loss of life or property, the water or smoke damage, the impact on human lives and health, ecological impact, etc. Another example is that of a television show rating scale. If you see an estimate of five million viewers of some special event television, you immediately understand that this is a “rounded number” meant for comparison only, and which does not reveal how many people actually watched the show. Certainly some televisions played to an empty room and some to a large number of people watching the display in the local pub .It gives no indication of whether the watchers reacted positively or negatively to the programme. If the event is important, we expect professionals to fill in the details later.

Another misleading human custom is presenting an event as “small” when there exist more traumatic forms of the event. For example, the radiation exposure to depleted uranium in the Gulf War is presented as “small” in the face of a nuclear holocaust. Such exposure is not “small” for the victims.

Unfortunately, many government officials, physicists, engineers have used this tactic to deliberately minimize the health effects of radiation, and, in particular the immense suffering after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. For example, some people actually believe that the magnitude of a nuclear accident can be gauged by the potential number of cancer deaths it will cause, and further, that cancer death is the only consequence! Minimalist reporting occurred after the Three Mile Island accident, downwind of nuclear weapon testing, and at serious military accidents like the one which spread plutonium in farm land in Spain. Most recently it has attempted to deny that exposure to depleted uranium weapons has caused severe health damage to the military veterans and the civilians in Iraq, Kosovo and most likely, in Afghanistan.

The minimalist reporting went even further with Chernobyl. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on Atomic Radiation) recent statement that “only 32 deaths occurred, 200 were heavily irradiated and 2000 avoidable thyroid cancers” resulted from the Chernobyl disaster goes well beyond a mathematical short hand which gives immediate sketch about a disaster. This fifteen-year-later report about a complex painful situation should be much more precise and believable! It rather tries to obliterate from peoples minds and concerns the suffering of millions of persons in rural and un-evacuated areas who were exposed, and hundreds of thousands evacuated but not medically examined victims. When one probes a little more deeply, one finds that the honest scientists and physicians, trying to explain the widespread injuries and long term effects of nuclear exposure have been silenced.

In fact immediately after the disaster of April 26, 1986, due to IAEA policy, unless a person had been declared “overexposed” at the medical tent set up for the “liquidators” of the disaster, he or she was officially considered to be a “radio-phobia” case, a purely psychological phenomenon. Local physicians told people that there would be no medical effects of exposure, until, perhaps in ten or twenty years they may happened to develop cancer. But, not to worry! These future radio-genic cancers would be indistinguishable from “natural” cancers. The physicians soon learned from direct evidence of pathological injuries that this information from the physicists was less than candid. It was not surprising to learn that those who tried to minimize the disaster were the same people charged with promoting nuclear industries, for example, marketing nuclear reactors to the developing nations.

The experience of Chernobyl is not unique, but follows the secrecy pattern used at many lesser accidents which were mishandled in the same way. This has occurred both in the developed and developing world. In particular, I would note the radioactive pollution of the Mitsubishi Asian Rare Earth facility in Bukit Merah, Malaysia, the radioactive waste dumped in Nigeria and the contaminated food distributed to Egypt, Papua New Guinea, India and other countries during the Chernobyl disaster clean up.

However, the health problems due to Chernobyl continue to be very acute right now, and demand international attention and action. Scientists and physicians are deprived of their freedom, and the people, especially the children, are suffering. This crisis can serve to point out the serious secrecy, vested interest and collusion of international agencies protecting nuclear technologies. The public face of the nuclear industry has been “clean and safe”. It is important to unmask this public face, serving as a warning to economically developing countries deciding on energy technologies and bringing needed humanitarian aid to the victims. Preserving the false image of nuclear technology keeps the industry and nuclear agencies in business.

Lessons from Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

Unlike the general study of toxic materials, handled by Toxicologists, the field of radiation and health has been dominated by physicists, engineers and mathematicians since the dawn of the nuclear era in 1943. Their health related communications differ radically in content from similar communications of health professionals in Toxicology, Occupational or Public Health.

This field of radiation health was, with a few exceptions, taken over by the physicists of the Manhattan Project after World War II, in their effort to contain the secrets of the nuclear age. Radiation was an effect of the atomic bomb. Secrecy caused these “hard scientists” to fail to consider the broad range of responses and varieties of vulnerabilities possessed by a living population exposed to this hazard. Such variation in biological responses would have been expected by health professionals..

Because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, most people now know about acute radiation exposure syndrome, with vomiting, hair falling out, alterations in blood cells, etc., and this bit of information has been translated into a naive belief on the part of the public, that unless acute radiation sickness has been documented (often by the government physicists) any subsequent severe illness observed in radiation exposed persons is due to something, anything, but not radiation exposure. This has some historical validity, but at Chernobyl with millions of exposed persons in rural un-evacuated areas, hundreds of thousands evacuated but not medically examined, and with the population’s continuous ingestion of contaminated foods for the past fifteen years, demanding documentation of radiation sickness is ridiculous. Even in the Japanese cities radiation sickness went undocumented for many victims. Radiation injury is not predicated on documentation of acute radiation sickness, but rather on the alteration of a cell leading to a fatal cancer. It is well documented the these cellular level events can occur well below the level of exposure which causes overt sickness. The amount of energy released by just one nuclear transformation of one atom of a radioactive material is measured in thousands or millions of electron volts. It requires only 6 to 10 electron volts to break the molecular bounds in the cellular DNA and RNA which carry the genes for life.

In Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945), exposure and subsequent health records were not complete. The research stations did not begin to select a study population until after the 1950 Japanese census identified survivors and a 1967 dose estimate was derived by the scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the U.S.. Deaths prior to 1950 were ignored. Death certificates, which were at times incomplete, were used to determine first cause of death of the study population. Cancers which were not fatal were not reported until 1994. Most survivors are still alive so their “cause of death” has not yet been studied. Other non-cancer health problems were considered to be “not of concern” and have not been systematically reported.

There were persons who entered the contaminated territories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the fire died down, or who consumed radioactive contaminated food and water, who experienced radiation sickness, but were not officially recognized as “exposed”. They are in the radiation exposure control group. This is easily explained to the mathematician, who is told that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki studies looked for the effects of the immediate penetrating radiation from the exploding bomb on the persons who were within three kilometres of the hypocenter at that moment. For the military person looking for information on the health effects of radiation due to the bomb, this artificial limitation made some sense. However, if a civil society is seeking information on the effects of man-made radiation on the human body, then all sources of that man-made radiation, including that from nuclear fall-out, food and water contamination, residual radioactive debris at the bomb site, etc., is important. Changing the definition of “exposed to man-made radiation” to mean “exposed to the bomb”, and then using this research to back public and occupational health policy is problematic to say the least!

Because of this concentration on the first flash of the atomic bomb, serious mistakes have been made by the radiation physicists in estimating the biological damage done by ingested or inhaled radioactive particles, many of which remain in the body for a long time and even enter into biochemical reactions of the cell’s genetic material.

It is this atomic bomb study which appears to be dictating much of the inappropriate behaviour of officials with respect to the medical treatment of survivors of Chernobyl and other nuclear accidents. It has also caused harsh treatment of the honest scientists and physicians who spoke directly for the needs of the exposed suffering people. Many of these scientists and physicians, now in prison or effectively silenced, have conducted well designed and executed scientific studies.

Due to the complications generated by the study of external irradiation by a bomb being used to evaluate civilian exposures to inhaled or ingested radioactivity, and the use of this research to educate young physicists and nuclear engineers, many scientific blunders and administrative problems were generated. The failure to deal with the whole breadth of radiation problems became entrenched in the very agencies which were created in the 1950's to protect the public at risk from atmospheric nuclear testing. I will try to unravel the problems with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Scientific Committee on Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the U. S. National Academy of Science Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation Committee (BEIR) and the World Health Organization(WHO). All of these organizations, except WHO, which was relegated to treating the victims rather than understanding the problem, play key parts with respect to current radiation and public health policies and understandings. Ironically, the World Health Organization, created by the United Nations in 1948, was not given any role in the health assessment of this global threat to human and ecological health.

United Nations Initiatives:

Nuclear bombs were first used in war in 1945, when the U. S. used them against Japan in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As early as 1946, the U. S. began atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific Ocean. The former Soviet Union demonstrated that it had the nuclear bomb in 1949, and there was tangible fear of a nuclear exchange during the Korean War. The U.K. began nuclear weapon testing off the coast of Australia in the 1950s, and then on the continent itself and in the Pacific Islands.

The first atomic bombs were based on fission, and because of this they were limited in their destructive power. The force of the explosion blew apart the fissioning materials, terminating the explosive energy release. In 1954 the U. S. tested a thermonuclear device (hydrogen bomb), called Bravo, at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, demonstrating that a nuclear device with unlimited power could be built. This one was about one thousand times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. It was this military accomplishment which prompted the “Peaceful Atom” speech of President Dwight Eisenhower before the United Nations in 1954.

The speech followed a shift in U. S. Military Policy to dependence on nuclear bombs and a rush toward production of uranium and the technology necessary to carry this out a major weapon replacement programme: uranium mining and milling, uranium processing facilities, nuclear fuel fabrication facilities, nuclear production reactors, reprocessing facilities and the hazardous transportation and waste associated with each of these industries. In order to obtain American and global cooperation during peace time, there was a perceived need for commercial or so called “peaceful uses” of nuclear technologies which would justify everyone’s cooperation in the nation and the international community. Nuclear electrical production was billed as capable of fulfilling all of the energy needs of the developing world, and being “too cheap to meter”. It was promoted as the hope of preventing future wars since no country would be in need!

The United Nations responded by creating in 1955, UNSCEAR (Res 913(X) 1955) to “assess and report levels and effects of exposure to ionizing radiation”. According to the UNSCEAR website, “governments and organizations throughout the world rely on the Committee’s estimates as the scientific basis for evaluating radiation risk, establishing radiation protection and safety standards, and regulating radiation exposure.” UNSCEAR was envisioned as an organization of physicists, who at that time were the only ones who could measure radiation since it escapes our senses and requires specialized instruments for detection. They were the experts on the hazard of ionizing radiation, but failed to have the expertise to predict the varied human response to exposure to this hazard. In an odd way, perhaps because of their training in physics, they managed to average all exposures over the entire population of the world, now some six billion people. Natural background, because it is ubiquitous, rather homogeneously exposes everyone. However a localized accident or relatively small work force’s exposure, when averaged over the whole population can be made to seem trivial. It is not trivial to those who receive the exposure!

UNSCEAR became primarily a reporting agency, detailing the measurement of radioactive fallout, worker exposures and eventually emissions from nuclear power plants. I would assume that legislators saw this agency as providing independent monitoring of nuclear activities as a check on predicted pollution and theoretical estimates of harm. Unfortunately, UNSCEAR incorporated into its midst those same scientists who were making the predictions and estimating “no harm from low level radiation”. No other industry is allowed to monitor itself. We do not ask the tobacco companies to tell us about tobacco’s harm, or the pesticide companies to tell us the effects of their products on children. More on this point later.

In 1957, in response to the “Peaceful Atom” speech, the U.N. also established the IAEA, which describes itself as “an independent intergovernmental, science and technology based organization, in the U. N. family, that serves as the global focus point for nuclear cooperation.” Its mandates is described as: “to promote peaceful uses of nuclear technology, develop safety standards, and verify that nuclear weapon technology did not spread horizontally to the non-nuclear Nations”. They had no mandate with respect to the nuclear weapons of the five nuclear states. Because of their nuclear watch-dog task, IAEA reports directly to the U.N. Security Council.

Response of the World Health Organization:

In 1957, the World Health Organization, which had been founded by the U.N. in 1948, became alarmed about the atmospheric nuclear testing and the proposed expansion of this technology for “peaceful uses”. It called together eminent geneticists to consider the threat this exposure would pose to the human and ecological gene pool. Prof. Hermann Muller, the geneticist who received a Nobel Prize for his work on genetic mutations of the fruit fly, using ionizing radiation, in 1944, was a participant at this conference. Although the United States had not sent him as its delegate, he received a standing ovation at the conference for his work, and he consistently opposed extension of nuclear technology into civilian uses. The conclusion of this expert group was that there was not enough information available in the scientific community to assure the integrity of future generations should the burden of ionizing radiation exposure be increased. They called for extreme caution and further genetic investigations, especially in Kerala, India, where there is a high natural background level of radiation, and people have lived in this environment for hundreds of years. These recommendations were never implemented by governments anxious to get on with nuclear activities.

Later an independent NGO in India studied genetic damage in the high radiation background area and found it indeed significantly increased. An Article by B.A.Bridges in Radiation Research (Vol 156, 631-641; 2001) suggests that genetic mutations due to radiation imply that “the nature of the radiation dose response cannot be assumed”. There is more complexity than was expected in the health consequences of changed DNA sequences. The serious implications of nuclear pollution for future generations is still an area of research demanding more than ordinary caution.

One can guess at the politics behind a second WHO conference, called later in 1957, of Psychiatrists to consider the Public Health impact of peaceful nuclear activities. These professionals concluded that such activities could cause undo stress to the population because of the association with the atomic bombs. One finds that this has become a mantra for the physicists who have subsequently controlled all information relative to the health impact of nuclear technologies. Most recently, when UNSCEAR released its 15 year assessment of the Chernobyl disaster one of its spokespersons, Dr. Neil Wald, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, stated: “It is important that public misperceptions be reduced as much as possible in this area, because unwarranted perception and fear of harm can itself produce avoidable health problems, as well as erroneous societal benefit vs risk judgements.” Loosely translated, Dr. Wald appears to be saying: “if the public gets upset we will not be able to make our money with this nuclear technology”.

After the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, in response to the people’s demand for a health study, the government organized a study headed by a Psychiatrist from the Annapolis Naval Academy. He drew concentric circles around the failed nuclear reactor and compared the cancer rates and also the levels of fear and tension of those living with in these layers. A sensible study would have looked down wind for air borne radionuclide effects, and down stream for the water borne effects. This official study found only fear, which was positively correlated with distance from the plant.

There were about 2000 injury cases from the TMI population taken to court for compensation of health damage due to the radiation exposure. The nuclear company fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court against the courts even hearing these cases, and lost. Then the industry found an old law stating that an expert witness must use the methodology used by other professionals in their field, and using this, the nuclear company managed to disqualify every expert witness (physicians, epidemiologists, botanists, biologists) brought in by the victims. The physicists and engineers claimed sole expertise in the area of radiation health effects. All cases were dismissed by the court without one being heard.

A 1959 Deal Between WHO and IAEA:

This potential conflict between those who wished to exploit the new nuclear technology for both profit and military power, and the custodians of the public health, was superficially resolved by an Agreement (Res. WHA 12-40, 28 May 1959) stating that the IAEA and the WHO recognize that ...”the IAEA has the primary responsibility for encouraging, assisting and coordinating research on, and development and practical applications of atomic energy for peaceful uses throughout the world without prejudice to the right of the WHO to concern itself with promoting, developing, assisting and coordinating international health work, including research, in all its aspects.” If the reader is confused, so is the writer. To understand this, one needs to know that the health effects of radiation were classified as secret under the U.S. Atomic Energy Act for national security. The “international health work” assigned to the WHO was taking care of the victims. While technically the IAEA and WHO are “equal” in the U.N. family, those agencies which report directly to the Security Council, as does IAEA, have more status.

In Article I (3) of the WHO/IAEA agreement, it is stated that “Whenever either organization proposes to initiate a programme or activity on a subject in which the other organization has or may have a substantial interest, the first party shall consult with the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual consent”. This clause seems to have weakened the WHO from investigating the Chernobyl disaster, and gave the IAEA a green light to bring in physicists and medical radiologists to assess the damage relative to their limited knowledge of the health effects of radiation. (Note: while radiologists use ionizing radiation in their work, they deal with health damage only after the patient receives therapy levels of radiation.) This first evaluation used a different epidemiological protocol in each geographical area and with different age groups, eliminated all concern for cancers as not having sufficient latency periods and failed to note the extraordinary epidemic of thyroid diseases and cancers. From the point of view of Medical Epidemiology they failed miserably to deal with the reality. The director of this 1991 Epidemiological study, Dr. Fred Mettler, is a Medical Radiologist. There were no Epidemiologists, Public Health professionals or Toxicologists on the IAEA Team.

The Self-Established ICRP:

UNSCEAR has continued to be the measurement agency, which verifies that all planned releases of ionizing radiation to the environment, and all exposures of workers, are “acceptable”. It fell to the IAEA to “establish or adopt, in collaboration with other competent international bodies, standards of safety for the protection of health and to provide for the application of these standards”.

Neither the IAEA nor UNSCEAR turned to the WHO to develop such protective health standards. Instead they both turned to a self-appointed non-governmental organization formed by the physicists of the Manhattan project together with the Medical Radiologists, who had organized themselves in 1928 to protect themselves and their colleagues from the severe consequences of exposure to medical X-ray.. This new organization, called the ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection), has a Main Committee of 13 persons who make all decisions. Members of this Main Committee were originally self appointed, and have been perpetuated by being proposed by current members and accepted by the current executive committee. No outside agency can place a member on the ICRP, not even the WHO.

The UNSCEAR 2000 Report was prepared by a Committee including the following seven persons who also serve on the thirteen person Main Committee of ICRP: Prof. Roger Clark (currently the Chair of ICRP), Prof. Rudolf M. Alexakhim, Dr. John D. Boice Jr., Prof. Fred A. Mettler Jr.(the same radiologist who headed the IAEA Chernobyl epidemiological study), Dr. Zi Quiang Pan, and Dr. Yasuhito Sasaki.

It is the ICRP which makes recommendations for the protection of human health for workers and the general public. By their own admission, they are not a public or environmental health organization. They have given themselves the task of recommending a trade-off of predictable health effects of exposure to radiation for the benefits of nuclear activities (including the production and testing of nuclear weapons). Their recommendations were first set in 1957, when the medical radiologists accepted the proposal which had been hammered out by the British, Canadian and American physicists after World War II.

The original recommendation that workers be allowed 15 rad (150 mSv) per year was opposed by the British NRPB and an independent committee called the BEAR (Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation) funded in the U.S. by the Rockefeller Foundation. This forced the ICRP to reduce their recommendation for nuclear workers to 5 rad (50 mSv) per year. Maximum permissible doses for members of the public were ten times lower. This recommendation remained in effect until 1990, when under pressure from more than 700 scientists and physicians, and after a reassignment of doses at the atomic bomb research centres, the worker exposure was reduced to 2 rad (20 mSv) per year, while exposures to the public were reduced by another factor of five to 0.1 rad (1 mSv) per year.

Who Takes Responsibility?

It is important to note that no agency takes responsibility for these recommendations, and the WHO is excluded from professional collaboration or comment on them. ICRP recommends, and the Nations are free to implement or not these recommendations. The Nations generally accept ICRP recommendations claiming that they do not have the expertise or money to derive their own standards. The recommendations are for a risk benefit trade off, and do not pretend to be based solely (or primarily) on protecting the public or worker health.

IAEA states: “The underlying biological basis of the standards over the last several decades has rested primarily on the UNSCEAR. This Committee was originally formed during the period of atmospheric weapon testing to assess the physical processes and health effects of fall out, but has since broadened its remit considerably”.

UNSCEAR contains and depends on the leaders of the Main Committee of ICRP. Those who set the standards also judge them to be adequate! Usually scientific theory is tested against reality and rejected if it fails to conform. Radiation health predictions are tested against the reality of the victims, and if reality fails to conform to theory, reality is rejected. The suffering is blamed on some unknown cause!

Another body that also assesses radiation risk is the BEIR Committee of the U.S. National Academy of Science. The BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) Committee was established in the U.S. around 1978 to counter accusations that the Nevada atmospheric nuclear tests had caused the deaths of thousands of American babies. BEIR is essentially a report and interpretation of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki studies of the effects of the atomic bomb, as previously discussed. These atomic bomb studies do not underpin the radiation standards, which actually were established some 17 years before the 1967 dose assessment for atomic bomb survivors on which the atomic bomb studies are based was completed.

IAEA radiation standards for nuclear waste were made “on the basis of recommendations by a number of international bodies, principally ICRP, and estimations of radiation risks made by UNSCEAR . IAEA Safety Requirements for radioactive waste, including standards, codes of practice, regulations, etc., “may be adopted by Member States at their own discretion for use nationally”. These IAEA requirements are mandatory only for the IAEA itself.

What happened to the people of Chernobyl?

One can easily imagine that there were civilian victims of radiation sickness in the midst of the chaos during and after the Chernobyl disaster who were never seen at Hospital Six in Moscow! However, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) continues, even in 2002, to insist that only 32 persons died of radiation exposure at Chernobyl! These “counted” deaths were all men from the fire fighting brigade identified as seriously exposed and sick by the heroic physicians and other health personnel at the emergency medical tent near the crippled reactor. This type of counting goes even further than the usual mathematical and journalistic approach - it deliberately and maliciously minimizes the scale of this disaster and leaves the public vulnerable. Those who were exposed suffer without appropriate medical recognition and help, while those at a distance remain unprepared for another, perhaps worse, disaster.
Moreover, since the land contaminated by the failed reactor was poisoned, the fruits and vegetables grown on it, and the domestic animals who feed on it, and their milk and meat, are also contaminated. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have taken this contaminated food and with the advise of the IAEA, have mixed it with un-contaminated food from other parts of the former Soviet Union. This diluted (or adulterated) food has been given to the people to eat, subjecting them to continuous low doses of internal contamination with radionuclides for the last fifteen years. In Belarus, people actually received money from the government for moving back onto the badly contaminated areas and setting up new farms.

The false claims of the IAEA have also failed to rally the international community to help the victims of this disaster. People have not responded internationally, with their characteristic generosity, to the tremendous needs of the people whose heath and lives were cruelly disrupted.

The IAEA and its companion body, UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) have gone even further in the Spring of 2002, by recommending that Chechen and Central Asian refugees re-populate the still contaminated area around the failed reactor. This raises some very serious questions about the mismanagement of information and communication around this serious disaster.

These two UN agencies, namely, IAEA and UNSCEAR (and their partner the ICRP), have apparently supplanted the WHO (World Health Organization) in speaking to the health risks of this nuclear technology, and in particular, to the post-Chernobyl contamination of the people and the land. Whether or not this land is fit for inhabitation, or for food production requires health assessment, not a promotional OK from two agencies which have financial ties to the polluting industry!

The WHO tried to take some initiative on behalf of the suffering people, and in 1996 its Director-General, Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima, organized in Geneva an international conference with 700 scientific experts and physicians, many of whom came from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The IAEA, which to its dismay was not invited to jointly sponsor this international conference, nevertheless blocked publication of the proceedings.

The physicians of Chernobyl then organized a conference in Kiev, Ukraine, in June 2001, and invited Dr. Nakajima (who was no longer Director-General of WHO) to be their Honorary President. He was asked about the proceedings of the 1996 WHO Conference about the health of the Chernobyl victims which had never been published. He answered as follows: “I was the Director-General and I was responsible. But it is mainly my legal department... Because the IAEA reports directly to the Security Council of the United Nations. And we, all specialized organizations, report to the Economic and Social Development Council. The organization which reports to the Security Council, - not hierarchically, we are all equal -, but for atomic affairs ... military use ... and peaceful or civil use ... they have the authority”.

Because of the internal UN structure, which is grossly out of date, the voice of the physicians and scientists actually dealing with the situation were not heard. It is outrageous to measure the radiation and then present a theory that no one has been hurt! It is imperative to look at the victims and assess their injury. Internationally, the theoretical voice of the ICRP, an NGO, which speaks through the IAEA and UNSCEAR, has prevailed! All three agencies have a vested interest in maintaining the reputation of nuclear industries as “clean and cheap”, even if they arn’t!

The representative of the U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs, D. Zupka, was present at the Kiev Conference, and he shared with participants the view of Kofi Annan, who estimated that the number of victims of Chernobyl is nine million! They are predicting that this number will increase. However, their voice is overpowered by the “scientific” voice of the ICRP speaking through the IAEA and UNSCEAR. This seems incredible, but is the heavy burden which we suffer as a legacy of the nuclear secrecy.

Because of the self-serving theoretical predictions and safety recommendations of the ICRP which colour the expectations of these radiologists, physicists and engineers, even when they are confronted with the reality of the suffering of the Chernobyl victims, these scientists strongly declare that the observed health problems could not be due to the radiation exposure. Health problems are instead assigned to an unidentified factor in the environment or life-style. Hans Blix, Director of the IAEA at the time of the Chernobyl disaster, went so far as to say: “The atomic industry can take catastrophes like Chernobyl every year”. There is an obvious conflict of interest for this agency mandated to promote nuclear technologies!

At the Kiev Conference, Alexey Yablokov, President of the Centre for Political Ecology of the Russian Federation, pointed out that the data used by UNSCEAR had been falsified by the State Committee for Statistics, and the officials were arrested in 1999 for this crime. He charged that UNSCEAR continued to use this falsified data to support its minimization of harm.

The medical research of Prof. Y Bandazhevsky, a medical pathologist, Rector of the Medical Institute of Gomel, in Belarus, had to be presented by a colleague, Prof. Michel Fernex. Prof. Bandazhevsky was under house arrest. Belarus received the heaviest fall out from the Chernobyl disaster. After nine years of research in Chernobyl-contaminated territories, he had discovered that cesium 137 incorporated in food, leads to destruction of those vital organs where the cesium 137 concentrates at higher than average body levels. With his wife, a paediatric cardiologist, Bandazhevsky described what he called “cesium cardiomyopathy”, and which others say is a syndrome which will eventually be named after him. The cardiac damage becomes irreversible at a certain level and duration of the cesium intoxication. Sudden death may occur at any age, even in children. After publishing this finding, denouncing government non-intervention policy, and arguing against the lack of resources given to the medical investigation of the disaster, Bandazhevsky was arrested, tried and condemned to prison for eight years.

The trial of Prof. Bandazhevsky was observed by lawyers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), from the French Embassy in Minsk, and from Amnesty International. These observers documented irregularities and legal errors from the time of his arrest. In the middle of the night of July 13,1999, Prof. Bandazhevsky was arrested by a group of police officers, who informed him that the arrest was by presidential decree aimed at fighting terrorism. This was never charged in court. In fact, it was not until four weeks after his arrest, August 1999, that he was finally charged with taking bribes. These proved to be trumped up charges by two defendants who later recanted their testimony saying it was forced under duress and threats. Prof. Bandazhevsky was denied access to a lawyer for the entire duration of his detention, and during the trial there were serious breaches of Belarussian and international Law. Amnesty International has listed Prof. Bandazhevsky as a prisoner of conscience. He is not well, and his important research is being kept from his scientific and medical colleagues.

Professor Bandazhevsky is not alone. The Russian, Belarussian, and Ukrainian medical community, though silenced in international circles, was still present and active in alleviating the suffering and noting the causes of their people’s pain. Many have carried out detailed high quality scientific studies on the genetic, teratogenic and somatic damage done by radiation exposure. They have confirmed their analyses by demonstrating the effects in animal experiments. The rest of the world is being deprived of this research through heavy handed silencing of the scientists by their national authorities, acting on the recommendations of the IAEA and UNSCEAR (and especially ICRP).


While many individuals have been trying to make known this major U,N, problem, it has been difficult to get this complex situation across to the public in “sound bites”. Serious study on the part of the U.N. will be needed to undue all of the damage caused. However, it seems possible to make the following recommendations to the United Nations:

1. WHO should be mandated to review all radiation research and to recommend health based safety regulations. This mandate should be carried out by health professionals, including epidemiologists, oncologists, occupational and public health specialists, geneticists and paediatricians, (not linked with the nuclear industries or nuclear medicine) rather than other scientists.

2. The IAEA mandate to promote “peaceful nuclear technologies” should be withdrawn.

3. The IAEA mandate to safeguard the spread of nuclear weapons should be expanded to include monitoring the reduction and abolition of all nuclear weapons in the nuclear nations.

4. The UNSCEAR mandate needs to include the monitoring of increasing levels of background radiation and nuclear emissions from reactors and nuclear accidents. They should not be entrusted with estimating risk, which is the prerogative of the WHO.

5. Decisions relative to the safety of farm land, food and water ingestion and refugee relocation should be entrusted to WHO.

6. Investigation into the imprisonment of scientists and physicians who have spoken out on behalf of the public health relative to radiation exposure should be undertaken by a special raporteur of the Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

13. Radioactive Contaminants Found in US Water Supply (SW U.S.)

EarthVision Reports, 02/09/99

NEW YORK, February 9, 1999 -- A government watchdog organization that calls itself the Environmental Working Group released a statement this week saying the drinking water of 20-million Americans in Las Vegas, Arizona, and all of southern California is contaminated with radioactive uranium. The levels of contamination, according to the group, are 530-times higher than federal standards allow. A report on the Christian Broadcasting Network said the source of the contamination is an old uranium mine that has been seeping waste into the Colorado River. The biggest problem, according to the group, may be the government agencies that are supposed to monitor industry and enforce existing regulations. The article says the government has determined what amounts of certain organic and inorganic contaminants are safe to drink. As long as your water supplier doesn't exceed those limits, the water is considered to be safe. Thus, according to the article, drinking water straight from the tap can be an act of faith. The article points out that the newly updated Safe Drinking Water Act obliges municipal water suppliers to produce an annual statement of water quality, and to tell customers if contaminants ever exceed EPA standards. However, according to the article, there is often a wide disparity in testing and enforcement.

Associated Link: Environmental Working Group