News Flash: Fukushima Is Still A Disaster

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U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy wearing a yellow helmet and a mask inspects the central control room for the Unit 1 and Unit 2 reactors of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last month. AP /Toru Yamanaka

The corporate media silence on Fukushima has been deafening even though the melted-down nuclear power plant’s seaborne radiation is now washing up on American beaches.

Ever more radioactive water continues to pour into the Pacific.

At least three extremely volatile fuel assemblies are stuck high in the air at Unit 4. Three years after the March 11, 2011, disaster, nobody knows exactly where the melted cores from Units 1, 2 and 3 might be.

Amid a dicey cleanup infiltrated by organized crime, still more massive radiation releases are a real possibility at any time.

Radioactive groundwater washing through the complex is enough of a problem that Fukushima Daiichi owner Tepco has just won approval for a highly controversial ice wall to be constructed around the crippled reactor site. No wall of this scale and type has ever been built, and this one might not be ready for two years. Widespread skepticism has erupted surrounding its potential impact on the stability of the site and on the huge amounts of energy necessary to sustain it. Critics also doubt it would effectively guard the site from flooding and worry it could cause even more damage should power fail.

Meanwhile, children nearby are dying. The rate of thyroid cancers among some 250,000 area young people is more than 40 times normal. According to health expert Joe Mangano, more than 46 percent have precancerous nodules and cysts on their thyroids. This is “just the beginning” of a tragic epidemic, he warns.

There is, however, some good news—exactly the kind the nuclear power industry does not want broadcast.

When the earthquake and consequent tsunami struck Fukushima, there were 54 commercial reactors licensed to operate in Japan, more than 12 percent of the global total.

As of today, not one has reopened. The six at Fukushima Daiichi will never operate again. Some 30 older reactors around Japan can’t meet current safety standards (a reality that could apply to 60 or more reactors that continue to operate here in the U.S.).

As part of his desperate push to reopen these reactors, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has shuffled the country’s regulatory agencies, and removed at least one major industry critic, replacing him with a key industry supporter.

But last month a Japanese court denied a corporate demand to restart two newer reactors at the Ooi power plant in Fukui prefecture. The judges decided that uncertainty about when, where and how hard the inevitable next earthquake will hit makes it impossible to guarantee the safety of any reactor in Japan.

In other words, no reactor can reopen in Japan without endangering the nation, which the court could not condone.

Such legal defeats are extremely rare for Japan’s nuclear industry, and this one is likely to be overturned. But it dealt a stunning blow to Abe’s pro-nuke agenda.

In Fukushima’s wake, the Japanese public has become far more anti-nuclear. Deep-seated anger has spread over shoddy treatment and small compensation packages given downwind victims. In particular, concern has spread about small children being forced to move back into heavily contaminated areas around the plant.

Under Japanese law, local governments must approve any restart. Anti-nuclear candidates have been dividing the vote in recent elections, but the movement may be unifying and could eventually overwhelm the Abe administration.

A new comic book satirizing the Fukushima cleanup has become a nationwide best-seller. The country has also been rocked by revelations that some 700 workers fled the Fukushima Daiichi site at the peak of the accident. Just a handful of personnel were left to deal with the crisis, including the plant manager, who soon thereafter died of cancer.

In the meantime, Abe’s infamous, intensely repressive state secrets act has seriously constrained the flow of technical information. At least one nuclear opponent is being prosecuted for sending a critical tweet to an industry supporter. A professor jailed for criticizing the government’s handling of nuclear waste has come to the U.S. to speak.

The American corporate media have been dead silent or, alternatively, dismissive about the radiation now washing up on our shores, and about the extremely dangerous job of bringing intensely radioactive fuel rods down from their damaged pools.

Fukushima’s General Electric reactors feature spent fuel pools perched roughly 100 feet in the air. When the tsunami hit, thousands of rods were suspended over Units 1, 2, 3 and 4.

According to nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, the bring-down of the assemblies in Unit 4 may have hit a serious snag. Gundersen says that beginning in November 2013, Tokyo Electric Power removed about half of the suspended rods there. But at least three assemblies may be stuck. The more difficult half of the pile remains. And the pools at three other units remain problematic. An accident at any one of them could result in significant radiation releases, which have already far exceeded those from Chernobyl and from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At least 300 tons of heavily contaminated Fukushima water still pour daily into the Pacific. Hundreds more tons are backed up on site, with Tepco apologists advocating they be dumped directly into the ocean without decontamination.

Despite billions of dollars in public aid, Tepco is still the principal owner of Fukushima. The “cleanup” has become a major profit center. Tepco boasted a strong return in 2013. Its fellow utilities are desperate to reopen other reactors that netted them huge annual cash flow.

Little of this has made its way into the American corporate media.

New studies from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have underscored significant seismic threats to American commercial nuclear sites. Among those of particular concern are two reactors at Indian Point just north of New York City, which sit near the highly volatile Ramapo Fault, and two at Diablo Canyon, between Los Angeles and San Francisco, directly upwind of California’s Central Valley.

The U.S. industry has also suffered a huge blow at New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Project. Primarily a military dump, this showcase radioactive waste facility was meant to prove that the industry could handle its trash. No expense was spared in setting it up in the salt caverns of the desert southwest, officially deemed the perfect spot to dump the 70,000 tons of high-level fuel rods now backed up at American reactor sites.

But an explosion and highly significant radiation release at the pilot project last month has contaminated local residents and cast a deep cloud over any future plans to dispose of American reactor waste. The constant industry complaint that the barriers are “political” is absurd.

While the American reactor industry continues to suck billions of dollars from the public treasury, its allies in the corporate media seem increasingly hesitant to cover the news of post-Fukushima Japan.

In reality, those gutted reactors are still extremely dangerous. An angry public, whose children are suffering, has thus far managed to keep all other nukes shut in Japan. If they keep them down permanently, it will be a huge blow to the global nuke industry—one you almost certainly won’t see reported in the American corporate media.

  • Joyce Carlson

    So sorry to see you post this sensationalism. You can be anti-nuclear without having to use this kind of “journalism”. This is perfect example of how the anti-nuclear fringe is the climate-change denialism of the Left. Get some knowledgeable reasonable science journalist (like from Scientific American and all those excellent magazines) not some irresponsible person scaring folks to death unnecessarily. This belongs in one of those rags on the stands at the grocery store check-out lanes or Walmart. Talking to this kind of person soaked in your ideology is like reasoning with a creationist saturated with the scripture.

    • kevinzeese

      Doesn’t seem sensational or exaggerated at all. Seems to be right on point and accurate. Sometimes with all the pro-nuke propaganda Americans hear it is hard to hear the truth.

    • DoubleCheck

      What reasonable scientific publications are claiming there’s nothing to worry about? Or even contradicting any of the premises given in this article?

      • Joyce Carlson

        Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is really trying to help educate us on radiation in general and in specific they have people on the West Coast under Ken Buesseler oh so carefully measuring the radiation in the plume hitting over there here: http://www.ourradioactiveocean.org/ Very thorough, scientific and reassuring.

        “Scientific American” has several if you just Google “Scientific American Fukushima or Nuclear Energy”

        “Popular Mechanics” has at least 2 articles by P. Andrew Karam and just read his credentials! http://www.andrewkaram.com/pdf/CV72007.pdf Health Physics is the field that deals with radiation and he is an educator and writer in this field. Here: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/nuclear/just-how-dangerous-are-the-fukushima-leaks-15855360, http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/nuclear/what-those-fukushima-radiation-counts-really-mean-analysis-5719140, http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/nuclear/how-japan-reacted-to-the-fukushima-emergency-5567887

        • DoubleCheck

          You’ve given a lot of references without demonstrating anything other than you’re good at presenting lists absent of any argument.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I don’t think your charge is true here. Go to the Woods Hole link and you will find a great basic education on radiation. After that read what they what they are doing on the Pacific Coast –measuring the radioactive plume coming in. Getting through the basic education they offer takes awhile, but it dispels so many myths.

          • DoubleCheck

            Again, you show absolutely no understanding of the danger of penetrating, ionizing radiation. I doubt that you ever completed any basic education in radiation, since you insist on peddling so many myths.

            What in the Woods hole link backs up your absurd claim that penetrating, ionizing radiation is harmless?

          • Joyce Carlson

            No one said that ionizing radiation is harmless. It’s the dose that matters. I wish you would read the Woods Hole info. There is so much there. It will give you a basic education a radiation I think.

          • DoubleCheck

            Hey, I learned about and used this stuff in both undergraduate and graduate school. You’re going to advice me to get a “basic education,” when you don’t know the difference between X-rays, beta radiation, and gamma rays?

          • Joyce Carlson

            X-rays are ionizing radiation.
            We use them for our benefit after weighing the risks and benefits.

          • DoubleCheck

            Good girl! You’ve given up on bamboozling us into believing they’re harmless.

      • Joyce Carlson

        It would be so healthy to stop this paranoia and fearmongering and instead have an honest discussion on nuclear energy. James Hanson and some others think we’ll need it until 2030 until alternative energies are brought up to speed. Our kids may well not appreciate what Wasserman and others are doing–scaring the public out of nuclear. Swaying public opinion with fear. Some are paralyzed with this irrational fear–it’s scaring people to death unnecessarily and irresponsibly it looks like. Even Dave Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists says nuclear should be on the table. All this needs to be re-evaluated. Lochbaum tells us in his new book how to make reactors safer, not to get rid of them.

        • Joyce Carlson

          I’m sorry. This post does not answer your question Double Check. I tried to delete it but was not successful.

  • DoubleCheck

    What specifically in the article was contradicted by all this you just typed or in your references?

    • Joyce Carlson

      What is contradicted by the articles I posted are most of the big myths put forth by Wasserman and Caldicott. It would take so much time and effort to clarify all the basic misunderstandings and I’d have to look it all up again. They just do not have a grip on the basics about radiation. Radiation is natural and we are bathed in it and the dose is what’s important. Scientists know the doses people have gotten and will get in various areas of Japan and they know which doses are too high or low enough to be ok. All this is well know about doses and are used by medical doctors every day so that patients don’t get too much in tests or too much from radiation present in various areas. Like they can measure the radiation in your home from the naturally occurring radiation coming from radon. There is a city in Iran, I believe, with mineral springs and rock that gives off levels of radiation way above what is allowed for by health physicists for radiation workers, but the people there are ok. I think it’s Ramsar, Iran. The radiation levels around nuclear reactors are measured and known to be safe. It’s not some big, vague, mystical thing–it’s levels can be measured and it is know what levels are safe and which not.

      • Margaret Flowers

        There is no safe dose of radiation, The nuclear industry through its ties to institutions like the UN, IAEA, WHO and corporate media would like people to believe otherwise, but the truth is that radiation is not safe. In a population of people exposed to radiation, there will be known numbers of those who experience health consequences such as cancer, kidney disease, birth defects in offspring, etc.

        From Physicians for Social Responsibility:

        “Decades of research show clearly that any dose of radiation increases an individual’s risk for the development of cancer, according to the Physicians for Social Responsibility.”
        http://www.wtvm.com/story/23813407/experts-debate-safe-dose-of-radiation

        Here is an excellent piece from Physicians for Social Responsibility on the impact of the accident at Fukushima. http://www.psr.org/environment-and-health/environmental-health-policy-institute/responses/costs-and-consequences-of-fukushima.html

        • Joyce Carlson

          This is a very basic misunderstanding about radiation. Radiation is normal and we are all bathed in it. It is everywhere. Look up “background radiation” and see the pie charts of the sources of radiation that make up background radiation.

          • DoubleCheck

            Your absence of scientific training is clear. The comparison of background radiation to that coming out of Fukushima is absurd. Look it up in all those voluminous references you clearly haven’t read and get back to me.

          • Joyce Carlson

            Margaret Flowers wrote, “there is no safe dose of radiation. My reply “that background radiation is everywhere, we are bathed in it” was in reference to that.

          • DoubleCheck

            Background radiation is everywhere, so more radiation is okay? That’s absurd! You certainly have no scientific training to understand any of the references you’ve given.

          • kevinzeese

            Joyce Carlson is exposing herself. She sounds like someone who makes a living with radiation! Why don’t you explain what you do, Joyce. There are lots of toxics that are natural — that does not mean they are safe. And the radiation levels in nature — before the extraction economy changes them — are a very different dose. Are you advocating radiation exposure as a good thing? Come on, Joyce you are moving toward making obviously absurd statements. Stop while you are losing this argument before you embarrass yourself.

          • Joyce Carlson

            “There are lots of toxics that are natural — that does not mean they are safe. ” That is what Woods Hole Ken Buesseler is trying to tell us–there are lots of toxics that are natural–it’s the dose that makes it unsafe.
            We need a balanced view of radiation–it can be used to our advantage if we learn to use it. It isn’t inherently evil. Einstein wrote about this. I’ll see if I can find it. YES, sometimes some radiation exposure benefits us. We did all kinds of “nuclear” testing on patients at the hospital but we couldn’t use the word nuclear or people feared it too much because of their beliefs.

          • DoubleCheck

            So, you’re saying that because within the parameters you have chosen you see no damage, there isn’t any, even when one beta particle or one gamma photon can do damage?

          • Joyce Carlson

            I think that usually ionizing radiation damages that DNA and kills the cell and rarely causes the cell to mutate and actually turn into a cancer. I’m going to try to find the answer to that.

          • DoubleCheck

            That depends on the DNA repair and the fidelity thereof.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I’d like more information than this. It doesn’t explain well for me. I’m hoping the new book on cancer that I have ordered by George Johnson will dispel many myths on cancer and it’s causes.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I do not think that my statements are absurd. I’ve studied this issue a lot lately. I have no background in radiation science–health physics. But I’ve worried about global warming for at least a decade and I think we have to carefully balance all sides of various ways to produce energy. Democracy Now told us that 12 million (I think that was the number) died from air pollution in 2012. My big fear it that countries will shut down reactors and just burn more fossil fuels due to their fear of radiation, but just not nearly that many died from radiation poisoning as died from air pollution and we just have to have our energy.

          • DoubleCheck

            I’m sorry, but your statements are absurd. You’ve given references and then jumped to very doubtful conclusions with nothing between.

            Your fears about heating, global warming, and air pollution are justified, but defending the progressive radiation poisoning of the environment as an antidote makes no sense.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I don’t believe that my statements are absurd. And I don’t believe I’ve jumped to any conclusions. I’ve been studying this for a long time.

          • DoubleCheck

            It hurts to have wasted your time so completely, doesn’t it?

          • Joyce Carlson

            I feel like you’re distorting in your mind what I have said. I didn’t say more was okay.

          • Margaret Flowers

            Background radiation exists but that does not change the fact that there is no safe dose of radiation. Just because it is ‘normal’ doesn’t mean that it is safe. A population exposed to background radiation will have a certain percentage of people who experience health effects from it.

            Radon occurs naturally but it still causes lung cancer. I think you are confusing something that exists naturally with something that is safe.

            But the mining of uranium and use of it in nuclear power plants and weapons is not natural and exposes populations to greater exposures to radiation and greater risks.

          • Joyce Carlson

            Health physicists tell us that there are safe levels. They know how to measure it and predict the risks. You can have the radon level measured in your home and they will tell you if it is a safe dose.

          • DoubleCheck

            Again, you demonstrate complete ignorance. “Safe” levels are practically defined by the levels that decision makers (not necessarily scientists) choose as acceptable levels of risk on the basis of experiments chosen by those with profit at stake.

          • Southernfink

            The ☢radiation☢ being emitted from☢ Fukushima☢ can hardly be considered ‘normal’.

        • Joyce Carlson

          I feel that I can trust the UN group of scientists from around the world that study radiation and accidents. They have a report on Chernobyl with tons of data. I chose to believe the IAEA too. And I believe what the science of health physics tells us about radiation.

          • DoubleCheck

            Okay, precisely what words do you have of what “UN group of scientists” saying the radiation out of Fukushima is safe?

          • Joyce Carlson

            Look it up. It’s in one of those links I labeled and sent out. My grandson is coming to visit on Friday and I do not have time to play games with you, I want to play games with him.

          • DoubleCheck

            I hope the games you play with your grandson are much more intelligent than the unsupportable games you play with us and other people you try to propagandize on the Internet.

          • Margaret Flowers

            It is a mistake to trust the UN. They are influenced by large corporations and governments to protect industry instead of the people. That is why people like Arnie Gunderson (whom I respect) doesn’t trust them. The UN, IAEA and WHO have been downplaying the effects of the accident at Chernobyl. A scientist, Yury Bandhazhevsky was jailed for speaking out about Chernobyl.

          • DoubleCheck

            You’re absolutely right, but I don’t think that Joyce Carlson has presented us any UN-derived data for us to distrust yet.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I trust what I consider to be the scientific consensus–health physicists and nuclear physicist on this. Wasserman, Caldicott and engineer Arnie Gunderson and that Japanese physicist from CUNY (I believe), are the only ones I believe that come out with this sensationalism. The Left is in an echo chamber on this if you look around like at the articles I posted for you to read here. Radiation is not some mystical unknown. It can be measured and some amounts are safe. (did you know that there is some arsenic in my water? and they tell me it’s safe–its the dose that counts). If I fear one teeny bit of radiation I can’t go outside or stay inside.
            We did nuclear testing on patients everyday at the hospital. Those people know what is safe. And the technicians all wear dosimeters to keep their dose at a safe level.

  • DoubleCheck

    You’re very well saturated with the standard industry obfuscation, so here’s some counter balance.

    http://ecowatch.com/?s=fukushima

    • Joyce Carlson

      I have posted here articles from scientific journals and agencies such as : The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Report of the UN Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiation (made up of some 80 nuclear scientists from around the world), Nature International Journal of Science,”Today at Colorado State University” Grad Students from Health Physics Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Scientific American, and Popular Mechanics whose author P. Andrew Karam and those incredible credentials in health physics and I gave you the link to his credentials in health physics–the branch of science that studies radiation. There are plenty more. I don’t know what else to do. But I wish I could reassure people that these articles by Wasserman are full of terrible misunderstandings and end up keeping innocent victims up at night and scared to death. It’s like trying to tell creationists about evolution. They can’t bet beyond their belief system that has been built up from fear. I do wish you’d read these articles I’ve posted from these scientific institutions and dispel some of this fear.

      • Margaret Flowers

        The consensus is that there is no safe dose of radiation, so it appears that you are the one struggling to accept reality. But the real question for me is: why are you so persistent in pushing inaccurate information about radiation?

        We should be very concerned about exposure to radiation. It is a significant problem in the US and abroad that is not gaining adequate attention. From the radioactive materials brought to the surface through fracking, put into the air through uranium-laced coal, and contaminating the air, land and water from abandoned uranium mines, etc, we should be monitoring radiation exposure more closely and providing protection.

        • Joyce Carlson

          What consensus tells us that there is no safe dose of radiation? We are bathed in radiation. We swim in it like fish swim in water–and BTW it is naturally in water as well. Again look up background radiation. Wikipedia has a great article on it.

          • DoubleCheck

            Over time the radiation we swim in can cause all sorts of problems. Any penetrating, ionizing radiation can, and should be minimized.

            Please quote to me where Wikipedia says that radiation is harmless.

          • Joyce Carlson

            You have misunderstood me. I never said that radiation is totally harmless like you imply.

          • DoubleCheck

            Evidently too much radiation has fried your brain.

          • Margaret Flowers

            From a fact sheet by Physicians for Social Responsibility that quotes the BEIR VII (done by a pretty cautious group):

            “It was originally theorized that exposure to low-levels of radioactivity was not harmful to human health but that finding has been revised as a result of the BEIR VII report which indicates that any exposure to radiation can have detrimental health effects.”

            See http://www.psr.org/resources/radiation-and-public-health.pdf

            And here is a link to the BEIR VII: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/brp/radon_division/BEIR%20VII%20Preliminary%20Report.pdf

          • Joyce Carlson

            OK, but at what levels do these effects start occurring. Didn’t you ever send a child to have his broken arm X-rayed? I think, but not sure, that they ran all sorts of nuclear testing on tiny tots that had leukemia, right? I know that sent people off for PET scans. The risks have to be evaluated and assessed and weighed. Our radiologists were so most excellent (I hope), because the other oncologist sure relied on their test for treatments.

          • DoubleCheck

            Again, you show a complete lack of understanding of what penetrating, ionizing radiation is. Risk is proportionate to exposure, and in your “broken” example the risk of harm from the broken arm is greater than that from the X-rays,which still not harmless, the same for all the other testing you mentioned.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I think it’s pretty darn close to harmless. I’ll ask my old friend and trusted and very highly thought of in this community–he’s a radiologist.

          • DoubleCheck

            So what? His association with you certainly hasn’t kept you from making yourself look foolish.

          • Joyce Carlson

            So I should not have even started my commenting. I am just worried beyond belief about global warming and CO2.

          • DoubleCheck

            You should have done a lot more work before trying to tell us, “It would be so healthy to stop this paranoia and fearmongerin.” With the subsequent support you presented for that, that was wayout of line.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I never used the word paranoia. Your quote of me is wrong.

          • DoubleCheck

            I quoted you word for word. Go look.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I’ll bet you are right. I didn’t see it though. I certainly was thinking paranoia, but thought I had managed not to say it. I don’t want to turn this discussion into name calling. I’m not a debater, I can’t even “do” public speaking I get so nervous.

          • Joyce Carlson

            The stuff I’ve heard–myths–about cancer and it’s causes over my career and now just drive me crazy. I have ordered a new book by George Johnson that I heard about from Mother Jones by Chris Mooney on Inquiring Minds. It sounds great. The radio program of Chris Mooney’s “Inquiring Minds” is just wonderful–I listen to it everyday that I go for walks. Dispels so many myths and at the same time Chris Mooney has written how you can’t change people’s beliefs about things like that. Science experiments lately have told us that.

          • DoubleCheck

            You haven’t demonstrated anything to change anybody’s mind other than you hold very fast to beliefs that can’t stand up to scientific examination.

        • Joyce Carlson

          Did you ever order an X-ray of some broken bone I ask you again? Then how can you just say that there is no safe dose? You assess the risks and then you order. You believe the radiologists.

          • SuzanneK

            So, you are saying that the radiation that one would receive under the controlled conditions of an x-ray machine are the same as one would receive from the UNCONTROLLED release of plutonium, uranium, and strontium?
            Jeez, your arguments are pathetic and an insult to our intelligence.
            The nuclear industry needs better shills……..

          • Joyce Carlson

            No, I’m saying that it’s the dose that counts–whether it’s a controlled release or uncontrolled. The doses are measured and monitored continuously around Fukushima, Japan, and various places around the US and more. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute is measuring the radiation in the ocean and especially now on the Pacific Coast. You can go to their site and donate to have measurements taken at specific places. I think whether it’s plutonium, uranium or strontium it is all measured in equivalent units like rads.
            I’m not connected to the nuclear industry but my husband did work on dismantling nuclear weapons most of his career. He’s far smarter than I am in many regards–he just laughs at me trying to get the truth out. He thinks it’s hopeless, but I want to keep trying.
            It makes people very angry when their beliefs are challenged AND usually only reinforces their beliefs. I was just hoping that there was a person or two out there that would begin to question what Wasserman writes and not be so scared about Fukushima. I imagine some folks have even committed suicide over this. I know many have suffered unwarranted psychological stress and damage due to his false claims. There is an article about this in Psychology Today.

          • SuzanneK

            Ah yes, your “bible” Psychology Today.

            Now there’s a publication that has no bias…..NOT!
            Just a quick look at the publisher, Sussex “Academic”,
            shows what a neo-liberal, status quo, pro-war, pro-corporate, pro-Zionist, outfit they are.

            See their list of articles and the “academics” who write for them, it’s no surprise that they would promote a phony article like the one that says that the fear of radiation is actually worse than the actual exposure itself.
            And btw, that’s the same BS line that TEPCO was using in 2011…..it was a lie then and is STILL a lie now.

          • Joyce Carlson

            No, I have no sacred text. I do like science though and the scientific method. I think it’s the best way to find about about reality.
            What the article is saying is that “radio phobia” causes damage too. And in the case of Fukushima it is causing more damage than the radiation in that particular case is causing. From scientific measurements.
            I think Psychology Today is a pretty reputable science-based magazine. Very interesting articles!

        • Joyce Carlson

          I just do not understand the implications–why you keep saying “there is no safe dose of radiation”. Do you mean that one ray of ionizing radiation is going to alter my DNA and cause cancer? Some say there is no safe amount of fluoride –it’s toxic, so it should not be in the water. We all know that arsenic is a poison, but my county says it’s in our water. Does that mean I shouldn’t drink the water here? I know the acetaminophen damages the liver. Should I not give it to my grandchildren when they have an uncomfortably high fever? I know the chemotherapy agents I gave to cancer patients was very toxic. Should I have not given them?
          Do you understand what I mean about wondering what you mean by “there is no safe dose of radiation?” Please help me figure this out.

        • Joyce Carlson

          I certainly am struggling to accept reality like you accuse me here. I am obviously going through the stages of grief due to what I fear is the loss of my awesome, sacred world. What are those stages I once learned that come due to loss –denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance? I must be at the bargaining stage–hoping to be able to buy a little more time/normal time for my kids. That is why I am so persistent in pushing for real experts to decide about nuclear–it just might buy some more time. I really, really fear that the public will be so swayed by this unwarranted hysteria panic of Caldicott and others will good but wrong intentions and sway politicians and others into wrong decisions. I want an honest discussion not one pushed by fear. Even David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists says nuclear energy should be on the table to fight global warming. Even his new book only proposes how to make nuclear power more safe.
          I don’t believe our hundreds of fine scientists have been paid off to not tell us the truth. That is why.

      • DoubleCheck

        Are you a real person? There are only 31 posts on your profile, and they all are nuclear industry cover-up style attacks on the reporting of industry irresponsibility.

        Moreover, I’m a trained scientist. I looked at your references, and they certainly don’t demonstrate that the rest of us are stuck in a “belief system that has been built up by fear.” That’s just industry propaganda that you’re spewing.

        • Joyce Carlson

          I wish you wouldn’t use such strong words here. I only started posting on anything recently. I’m no trained scientist as you point out. I am a retired oncology nurse who fears greatly that her grandchildren will have no future. I think that Wasserman,etc. are so frightened with misinformation and miss beliefs that they are irresponsibly scaring people and causing other undo physical effects from this. I hope like David Lochbaum, head of the nuclear safety program at the Union of Concerned Scientists says that nuclear energy should still be on the table for mitigation of climate change/global warming. I want the scientists to make the decisions in this fight against global warming and I think they are the most qualified.

          • DoubleCheck

            Right, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You should keep quiet and stop spreading irresponsible industry disinformation. You’re actually working for those who do make decisions that do tremendous damage to other people. Just ask the villagers of Fukushima. Just ask the sailors on the U.S.S. ronald Reagan. Just ask all those homeless who have been bamboozled into working on the clean-up.

          • Joyce Carlson

            Would you please read the article from the health physics department at Colorado State University? The students in that department went to Fukushima as ambassadors to help the people deal with their situation realistically. Great article. If I go get the link I’ll loose everything here. (I have a brand new computer that I don’t know how to use well yet). There are several groups from the US that are going to Fukushima to help-with the truth they’re going.

          • DoubleCheck

            For pity’s sake, that link doesn’t say anything as nonsensical as the radiation pouring out of Fukushima is harmless.

            I also don’t believe your excuse of a new computer anymore than I believe the one of your grandson.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I think that article did say much that is reassuring to people. An article in Psychology Today said that there is more damage coming from the fear for the Fukushima residents than from the radiation. Google Fukushima and radiation fear and Psychology Today.
            Sorry you do not want to believe me. I really do have to get off here. My grandson really is coming.

          • DoubleCheck

            Maybe right now, that article from Psychology Today has some sense in that claim, but dangerous radiation is pouring out of Fukushima. It’s also much likely to get worse if those rods aren’t removed from the tanks in which they’re suspended before before the next inevitable earthquake.

            Another quake could bring a core meltdown. will Psychology Today do some more measurements and conclude that there is more damage coming from the fear than from the radiation?

        • SuzanneK

          My thoughts about “Joyce” precisely.
          What an obvious, but pretty lousy, shill.

  • kevinzeese

    As people will see from the email discussion below you cannot trust Joyce Carlson’s views on radiation. She says radiation is safe — that is really her bottom line that becomes clear as this conversation develops. So, don’t be fooled by her – read on and really see where she is coming from.

    • Joyce Carlson

      I did not say “radiation is safe”. That’s not fair Kevin. I said clearly that like all toxins it’s the dose that counts. Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institues’ site taught me that. A great education on nuclear stuff can be found there.

    • Joyce Carlson

      Didn’t Margaret Flowers ever order an X-ray for a child’s broken arm? She weighed the risks and benefits. The radiologists at a hospital are great sources for information. The oncologist ordered all kinds of fancy nuclear tests on patients but didn’t use the word nuclear or the people would be too afraid. All sorts of scans are “nuclear”. Can you trust radiologists?

    • Joyce Carlson

      I’m not trying to fool anyone and I never said radiation was safe. No one is reading these posts anyway.

  • Joyce Carlson

    I believe that nuclear science can be used beneficially for us. I don’t think that it’s inherently evil. An old leader of Greenpeace Patrick somebody said that we made the mistake of clumping together nuclear energy with nuclear weapons and declared it all evil.
    The firebombing of Tokyo killed many more civilians that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but we still use fire for our benefit.
    I’m reading a new book “Radiance” by Craig Nelson the author of Rocket Man and hope that I’ll learn more from that.

    • DoubleCheck

      Nobody said it was inherently evil, but ionizing radiation is extremely dangerous, nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, especially when operated by corporation motivated by shareholder value and careless of human suffering.

      • Joyce Carlson

        Now you’re right there Double Check! We need a healthy dose of skepticism. But I hold that there have been very few deaths and injuries coming from Three Mile Island and Fukushima and that the article I have posted for you to read show that. That’s the big issue here isn’t it. Wasserman, Caldicott and Arnie Gunderson are about the only ones that challenge this–granted a few more and then all kinds of people pick up the sensationalism. The truth is that burning fossil fuels causes the global warming that may cause our extinction much sooner than we realize and that nuclear energy may well get us through the transition to windmills and solar. My biggest fear is that shutting down nuclear plants before alternatives are developed to kick in (maybe 2030?) the human race will turn to burning fossil fuels more. I’ve read that a coal plant puts out much radiation–more than a nuclear plant. I’ve really studied this and I believe what I consider the scientific consensus. They’re working so hard to get people to just stop with the climate change denialists there is no time for this yet.

        • Margaret Flowers

          You mean more than a nuclear plant until it has an accident in which there can be devastating consequences that last for millenia. And you are not taking into account the effects of mining for uranium – there is no safe way to do so – and the problem of nuclear waste for which we do not have a solution. We do not need nuclear energy. And the risks are too high.

          There is an impact from Three Mile Island. It has not been well studied. And what about the health effects from an even larger spill in the US that was kept out of the media – the Church Rock Spill? And what about the ten thousand abandoned uranium mines that continue to poison and kill today by causing cancer, birth defects, kidney disease and other problems.

          I stand with Arjun Makhijani for a carbon-free and nuclear free energy future. You may want to read his book: http://www.ieer.org/carbonfree/

          You come out of a medical career and I practiced for 15 years in medicine. I am well aware of the blinders that people who work in the US health system have. I’m glad you are trying to learn more and broaden your perspective now that you are on the outside. You’ll need to dig deeper than what the current manipulated system puts out.

          • DoubleCheck

            Very nice answer… better than mine.

            I agree that carbon-free and a nuclear-free energy future is the way to go.

            But it doesn’t matter. As I observed to Joyce Carleson, “it’s not going to happen because the psychopaths in control are planning on riding the disasters out on the backs of the rest of us.”

            So unless we figure out how to remove the psychopaths from power, we’re doomed. Moreover, these psychpaths are very practiced in the augmentation and the maintenance of power and are unbothered by scruples or human suffering.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I believe the Left’s stories on the Evil Empire and corporations. But not on this.
            I wish you didn’t use such rhetoric. It is not at all helpful. Science has shown us that when you challenge a belief like this–back people into a corner–they just get more determined and find more information (which is easy) to back up what they believe. That is why climate-change denialism was not challenged much for awhile there–there was just no hope inspite of all the weather instabilities that we are seeing. Humans are not rational just like George Lakoff says.

          • DoubleCheck

            You are certainly a good example of the irrationality of which you complain.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I see in a summary by Arjun Makhijani of his book you refer to that he is talking of a carbon-free-nuke-free energy program for the US in 30-50 years. There is no fear mongering or scare tactics –and call for immediate shut down of all reactors now. This is what I’d like to see! It’s the reliance on myths about radiation and nuclear energy that just are not in line with the science that scare people to death–very unhelpful for making a wise decision in these very dangerous times due to climate change. Yes, I’d like to see a fair and honest discussion by scientists that know the risks. That would not be Caldicott and Wasserman that I don’t feel have a grasp of the basics.

        • DoubleCheck

          With Three Mile Island we were lucky that money-blinded clucks in control didn’t gift us with a meltdown that could have killed thousands, maybe millions of people and blighted the lives of multitudes more.

          Fukushima isn’t done yet. It may be irreparable, until the next earthquake/tsunami brings us multiple meltdowns that will contaminate the world. We don’t know because the profit-crazed clowns in control of that fiasco will put the lives of the rest of us at stake for money.

          Yes, the fossil fuels are building another set of cataclysmic disasters. We need to reorganize immediately and completely. But it’s not going to happen because the psychopaths in control are planning on riding the disasters out on the backs of the rest of us.

          • Joyce Carlson

            None of the nuclear accidents is anything like Wasserman and Caldicott claim according to almost all of the others that know. They just aren’t ready to play whack-a-mole.
            I know that it’s hard (impossible) to rethink beliefs –long, long held beliefs. I DID get a BS in psychology and they tell us that in most cases it just can’t be done. I should never have tried. It is exactly like trying to convince climate-change denialists or anti-vaccs, or creationists. This was a hard lesson for me to learn: that some on the Left are off as much as folks that deny global warming.
            They don’t realize that all they’re quoting is Wasserman and Caldicott and Gunderson–almost. Silo thinking or is it echo chamber?

          • DoubleCheck

            The only echo chamber here is your own impenetrable skull.

            After all this yammer of yours you still have offered no valid scientific refutation of any of the points in this article.

            You conduct yourself just like a paid corporate shill. Yes, you should keep quiet.

        • kevinzeese

          I share your concern for climate change which is why I advocate for a carbon-free/nuclear-free energy economy before 2030. It is quite doable and there are multiple plans for accomplishing it. Here’s an article we wrote about it: http://www.popularresistance.org/carbon-free-nuclear-free-energy-economy-is-inevitable/

          There are problems with nuclear from beginning to end — extraction of uranium, building of the plant, operation of the plant and storing the radioactive waste — each of these problems are serious. The problem with nuclear plants is they can have 10 years of good operation and then have one bad day — but that one bad day could be devastating. Why take the risk?

          • DoubleCheck

            Unfortunately, sane people like you are not the ones determining whether or not to take the risk.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I appreciate your honesty here. What I don’t think is at all helpful in all this is the scare tactics and fear mongering that I see so much of esp. Wasserman and Caldicott.
            Many climate scientists I’ve read do not think that it is quite doable until maybe 2030. They are working like crazy as I understand it, but not doable for a long time. And I know that nuclear plants can’t be build quickly either. I don’t want the existing plants to be closed down without careful study first. They have cut way back in Germany(cut it all?) but now I read that Germany can’t meet the treaties that they promised to cut back on CO2 levels.
            There are over 400(?) plants churing away with a wonderful safety record. Only a few have had serious problems and those problems are nothing like Wasserman has written about.

          • Joyce Carlson

            We must weigh all the risks of all means of production of energy. Nuclear comes out pretty well in the evaluations that I have seen.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I am well acquainted with alternative energy potentials. This county is crawling with environmentalist and scientists working on most every possibility–day and night and this is what they talk about endlessly even socially. Most of this town works at the Lab or is married or the child of someone who does. About 50% of them work on alternative energies–solar, geothermal, bio fuels, hydro, wind. The other main places of employment are the schools and the hospital. Many hope to help realize the 2030 date, but many don’t think it is at all doable and many do not even have that as a goal because they think we will just need too much energy and do not want the world to turn to f racking or other more dangerous sources. They discuss nuclear honestly weighing all the risks and benefits. It’s on their minds all the time–most are serious nerds here. Many of the problems with nuclear that you speak of have been overcome. Storing of waste is a political issue they feel. The mining situation has been deplorable (indeed corporations at work) but does not compare with coal and we do need energy. There are risks with each kind of energy and we do need it so they most be weighed and overcome when possible. Overcoming public fears and changing old unwarranted beliefs is quite possibly impossible scientific research is telling them. Nuclear plants have a safe history (yes, and I sound like Ann Coulter, but it’s true compared to others)–there are hundreds that have churned along providing us energy all for way over the 10 years you speak of and the 3 accidents did not bring the world to an end like CO2 may well do.
            You and Margaret ask why I am so intensely focused on this problem. It is because I believe that nuclear may just be a form of mitigation for global warming that will give my grandkids a bit of a normal lifespan. I want the experts to weigh in on all this –those with the knowledge and wisdom. I’m scared to seat about global warming and want to be able to “throw everything at it possible”. And I want more–if the experts believe that maybe nuclear will help I don’t want everyone dying of fright when reactors are built. I think your articles frighten people so much that they will turn public opinion away from possibly the correct decision. I think you and Margaret are trapped into thinking along the lines of myths generated by people with good intentions, but wrong. We may be so right to hate corporations and nuclear and feel all the world has been bought or are shills or are in on some sort of conspiracy, but I don’t think you are right on this one. Scientists around here aren’t looking all wealthy all of a sudden and we do not have money for a big home or second home, no.
            These kinds of beliefs that cannot easily if at all be changed re climate change, evolution, a god in the sky(creationism), fear of nuclear (on the left), belief in alternative medicine, anti-vaccs–anti-science and anti-intellectualism in ‘merica and the world are going to do the race in.

    • kevinzeese

      Are you know advocating we use nuclear bombs because more people were killed by firebombing of Japan! Please, someone save this list from such nonsensical thoughts.

      • Joyce Carlson

        Kevin, that is not helpful. I’d like an honest discussion on this but we just can’t get there. It’s really important to me. I wish you wouldn’t turn my comments around like this. I think you know what I meant?
        Please be kind.

        • DoubleCheck

          Okay, here’s some kindness. An example of a problem that your blind acceptance of nuclear energy has ignored:

          Salt-cavern storage was the plan for the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP), the world’s third-deepest geological repository, constructed and licensed to permanently dispose of radioactive waste for 10,000 years. The repository sits approximately 26 miles east of the town of Carlsbad in southeastern New Mexico.

          Since shipments began in 1999, more than 80,000 cubic meters and 11,000 shipments of waste have been transferred to WIPP.

          But at the moment, there are several ongoing critical problems at the site, which has been closed and unable to accept shipments of radioactive waste ever since a fire and radiation release in February. Dozens of barrels of radioactive waste from Los Alamos National Lab, like the one that caused the radiation leak, now pose an “imminent” or “substantial” threat to public health and the environment.

          Yet, these problems could pale in comparison to what might happen at the site if an earthquake were to strike, or if the protective salt layer were compromised by nearby drilling for oil and gas, and in particular, hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking.

          But I guess that’s what they get for not letting it all run out into the ocean.

          • Joyce Carlson

            I have told you that I have no blind acceptance of nuclear energy. I want the risks and benefits to be properly weighted. Let’s say (although I have no idea of the real numbers but seriously doubt that they are what Wasserman states), let’s say we get to the point where we have to choose the loss of 300,000 lives due to nuclear accidents. Right now the only option is burning fossil fuels (almost) if we turn reactors off. How does that weigh against the 7 or 12 million Amy Goodman says we are loosing due to air pollution? And global warming is going to kill millions, maybe billions due to starvation and wars over resources and hot and cold weather (Many died in Europe a few years back due to lack of air conditioning. It’s the poor and aged that are most vulnerable). This is risk and benefit appraisal.
            BTW I read that there is not nearby drilling for oil and gas because huge salt deposits don’t have oil and gas in them. I realize that there could still be some risk–gotta weigh that all in.

          • DoubleCheck

            You look very hard for excuses to do dangerous projects. From the same reference whch I forgot to give you before:

            http://www.popularresistance.org/will-fracking-cause-our-next-nuclear-disaster/

            “There is so much drilling coming online down there now,” the employee
            explained. “They are going back into existing fields and drilling
            horizontally, and the WIPP site is located right in the middle of all these fields, so they are drilling all around it.”

            Instead of spending so much time working to make the people profiting off nuclear plants happy, why don’t you work on alternative sources?

          • Joyce Carlson

            I don’t think the projects are as dangerous as Wasserman says. I think we should working on everything! We’re jeopardizing the whole world after all.

          • DoubleCheck

            Not true. Thank good you don’t have any power to wield with your lack of scientific education.

          • Joyce Carlson

            It is going to take so much energy to build solar collectors and wind turbines and desalinize water and bring social justice to the whole wide world. Local off the grid is coming along so well! and work on superconductors. We dove for 20 mi. along some windmills last week to Amarillo–think of all the concrete to hold those babies down. There is so much to consider and I think the pros are doing their best–all kinds of scientists are working their hearts out to save the world.
            There are some Luddites out there like the Amish or something, but we need to support the population and care for there. Especially the most vulnerable to get through this transition we’re going through. It’s not going to be fun, but we must keep our minds open and not be frightened of new things we don’t understand.

          • Joyce Carlson

            You don’t understand Double Check. I live a couple miles downstream and down wind on a lower level of the plateau where large containers are stored and have been for quite some time temporarily until they can be stored permanently. They had been going to WIPP. The large trucks that haul the stuff go by a few short blocks from my small neighborhood in Los Alamos County. About 6,000 of us live in this neighborhood and drive back and forth on the road that goes right by this temporary storage facility to the town site–the school buses too. Most of us work at the Lab and have never feared the storage site. I assumed that there was nothing to worry about believing that the scientists including my husband would not jeapordize our lives or theirs.

      • Joyce Carlson

        The guy that wrote “Radiance” Craig Nelson, (he also wrote “Rocket Man”, will be on Book Club TV (C-Span) talking about it this Sunday afternoon (today). I’m anxious to see it.

      • Joyce Carlson

        I meant to say that technologies can be used both beneficially and harmfully–like fire (if that’s a technology). We know plenty of beneficial ways to use nuclear technology–for medicine and to produce energy that is needed so badly for social justice.

  • Joyce Carlson

    X-rays that people get at their local hospital are an example of ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation can be used in this way and others for our benefit. I’m guessing that Margaret ordered these when children came in with broken bones etc.

    • DoubleCheck

      So that means she should be in favor of nuclear plants because someone like you who understands so much less science is in favor of them?

      • Joyce Carlson

        No DoubleCheck. I meant that doctors weigh the risks vs the benefits when ordering an X-ray for a broken bone diagnosis and come out in favor of having the X-ray done. Therefore the risks must be low on ordering ionizing radiation in this case. We must weigh the risks and benefits of nuclear energy vs fossil fuel burning perhaps now. The risk would be having a meltdown every 20-50years vs having 300,000 deaths every year from breathing the pollution–not to mention the risk of those who may die from global warming.
        All this might well be for naught since from what some say the die off from starvation, wars, pestilence and just plain heat will be such that windmills and solar will have no trouble providing for those who survive. Sorry for the gloom and doom, but I’ve been reading things projecting this possibility.

        • Joyce Carlson

          I have also been reading about Jevons paradox. When we have more energy we use it. Better definition is on the net. But no energy source is the answer. Eventually we must try to educate people to conserve, but right now we have to buy some time and then try to educate and ween people off energy later–so says my other physicist friend who has worked all his life voluntarily for NM Clean Air and Water. He and his biologist wife also write for CASSE–The solid state economy people. The transition is going to be very rough at best and if we get to transition at all.

        • DoubleCheck

          Wow, we can also solve the overpopulation problem by frying all our gonads with the radiation escaping the meltdown.

  • Joyce Carlson

    Margaret you write that: “The nuclear industry through its ties to institutions like the UN, IAEA, WHO and corporate media would like people to believe otherwise, but the truth is that radiation is not safe.” The risks and benefits have to be weighed on all ways to produce energy. None are totally safe, we know. I’d like the scientists associated with these organizations to weight all this (and there are plenty more scientific organizations and all kinds of work going on at Universities around the world. None of which agree with Wasserman, I’d bet–at least I haven’t seen anything and believe me I google and google–I’d trust them long before I’d trust Wasserman and Caldicott and Arnie Gustafson. I guess that what it comes down to trust because it’s such a complicated issue. I just can’t believe all these scientists and radiologists and scientists at universities around the world are part of some big conspiracy.

    • Margaret Flowers

      It’s pretty amazing isn’t it – the control that these industries have over politicians, agencies, universities, the media, think tanks.It started intently after the Powell memo in 1971. I see it on issue after issue. I know Harvey, Arjun, Arnie and Helen and I trust them. It’s often the minority voices that are right – the few that are willing to speak the truth.

      Nuclear energy is one of the most dangerous of all types of energy. From the mining to the milling to the power plants to the waste, it is full of risks. People are being sickened and killed still today from uranium mines abandoned from the Uranium Rush and the tailings left behind (see our CleanUptheMines.org project). The accident at WIPP shows that the US is incapable of dealing with the waste. And the US has 23 reactors built on the same flawed model (by GE) as that used at Fukushima. Many of them are more than 40 years old and should be decommissioned.

      The problem is, while accidents are rare, it only takes one bad one to sicken and kill thousands for generations to come.

      And accidents (and/or their impacts) are often hidden. Did you look up Church Rock yet? It’s an amazing and sad story. Much bigger than TMI and covered up because it involved Native Americans who didn’t have any political voice.

      • kevinzeese

        It seems like Joyce prefers to believe the corrupted agencies like IAEA and WHO (which cannot publish anything on radiation with IAEA approval) who are controlled by politicians who take money from the industry, or universities that do the same. I have found her pro-nuclear comments to essentially echo the nonsense we’ve heard on nuclear energy for years.

        Thankfully, there are a lot of people who can see through their falsehoods, and enough independent nuclear and other scientists who tell the truth, that the number of nuclear plants is shrinking in the US while some countries are abandoning nuclear all together.

        We can have a carbon-free/nuclear-free energy economy that will be the best path for the economy and the environment. I don’t understand why anyone, who is not corrupted by nuclear money or fooled by the nuclear PR echo chamber, would oppose this transformation.

        • Joyce Carlson

          I hope you are still reading and read what I posted just above Kevin. For the sake of the movement it would be wise to get these young and old intelligent and brilliant scientists on board with us.
          I believe that politicians are voting to close nuclear plants to get voted in by the people that have been swayed by fear and distrust that some sell with their sensationalism.
          David Lochbaum of Union of Concerned Scientists has said himself that nuclear needs to be on the table for fighting global warming and points out ways it can be made more safe. Andrew Revkin who writes Dot Earth quotes Lochbaum in his article “On ‘Gobal Terror’ and the Fukushima Fuel Move”. He has done exactly what you say that you don’t see any scientist doing that wasn’t corrupted by nuclear money or fooled by the nuclear PR echo chamber. You really need to check out some of what I’ve written before you continue to publish articles that Wasserman has written. It is irresponsible to continue to scare people and cause the psychological damage that is does.
          You seem to think anyone, no matter how qualified that doesn’t agree with you, has been paid off. I know that in this case you are not correct.

      • Joyce Carlson

        I do not believe that you are weighing the risks correctly. I’m going to take the time to tell you why I have more trust in the scientists than you do and would trust them in a heartbeat before I’d trust your experts (besides all the info I’ve provided for you to educate yourself). And why I feel that your scaring people to death with your posting of Wasserman’s articles. People are walking around thinking that one slip of those control rods at Fukushima will be the end of the world–that is not the right thing to do, the responsible thing to do. Would you want your kiddo to read any of that? I don’t even want my grandkids to hear about how bad the issue of global warming is–to hard on them and hopefully I’m wrong. And I believe that you are wrong on this nuclear stuff and wouldn’t put it out there and harm people.
        My husband got a Ph.D in nuclear physics about 43 years ago. He spent years day (and night) working on the reactor floor to build an isotope separator connected to the experimental reactor a couple blocks from our home near campus at Iowa State University–a university well known for it’s science programs. After years of this and class room studies, he wrote his thesis on the decay of radio-active Cesium 128 ( I believe) to Xenon. You should see his thesis–page after page of indecipherable data (to us anyway), but his thesis review board liked it and his work.
        Then he graduated and got a job at Los Alamos National Lab (only it had a different name then). Yes, Los Alamos. He would never tell you any of this. He is a very nice, humble guy that doesn’t talk about these things much. For years he worked on “Stockpile Stewardship” –euphemism for maintenance of the some 32,000 bombs the US had around in silos and on subs etc. (Somebody needed to do it. Those things can’t just be left to sit there and decay I think you know. They would bring them in (and he devised ways to transport them in to be examined) and cut them open and sample the gases, etc to check them out. (Aren’t you glad you didn’t know about those 32,000 weapons the US had out there?) Don’t even think about the some 42,000 the USSR had when it collapsed. These scientists helped the Russian scientists manage their stock pile. After the USSR collapsed they had no way to even pay their scientists. Our scientists were able to help them dismantle 20,000 of them and recycle the uranium and it has been being used in US reactors for some 20 years I believe. You can google it.
        While my husband worked at Los Alamos (where now all kinds of alternative energy is explored along with nuclear–the alternative energy programs have been built back-up since those programs were cut way back under Reagan. When we moved here in 1972 there were all kinds of alternative energies being explored under Carter.) Now the place is crawling with all kinds of scientists exploring alternatives again.
        But I was saying since my husband started work here the number of weapons has been reduced from 32,000 to something like 2,000–ya it’s crazy, but some argue that Mutually Assured Destruction worked–no WWIII even though Mao and Stalin were well armed they never used them.
        My husband was part of a small group of scientists that wrote the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for dismantling nuclear weapons and worked with the technicians and supervised them for years while they were being dismantled.
        He was also a lead on the Nuclear Accident Response Team. For any kind of accident he was called. He worked with people that had helped clean up where the bombs were dropped in Palomares, Spain (I believe the weapons actually detonated and one was lost in the ocean for awhile) and Greenland. None of them died from this work. One died just last year, a good family friend and the kindest man in the world, at 86 years of age he fell in his shower and died of a head injury last year. My husband has been in and supervised mock nuclear disasters. They pretended that a plane with a bomb on it went down and caught on fire. The bombs have now been designed to withstand this kind of accident, but they were making sure. They went through the whole disaster scene with a plane on fire and all the equipment and helicopters and all to see how they could perform. (Again somebody has to do it until we can get them all dismantled. They argue about down to how many–1 or none–the diplomats that is.)
        We have lived here where all kinds of radiation experiments are carried out. There are a couple of reactors on the road to the main townsite where we drove to work and where my kids rode on the school bus every day. There is something else on that road to the townsite–radioactive waste is stored in temporary above ground canisters until they can be moved to WIPP. The trucks carrying the waste roll by 2 blocks from our home. For this reason I trust these scientists and health physicists–they would not live and work here with their families if it weren’t safe. We have lived and worked with these scientists and my husband is one. They only shake their heads in disbelief when they read articles by Wasserman. In fact I don’t think they bother anymore. My husband will not comment except to say “crazy” and push the outrageous articles away. He doesn’t care to spend time playing whack-a-mole with these people. They know that people would have too many beliefs to overcome that are based on this intense fear that some have irresponsibly published in an attempt to help the victims, but instead they are scaring people and causing all kinds of physical harm to those they are trying to “help”.
        Scientist after scientist here and elsewhere in the academic world that I have met are of the utmost integrity and know the science and the truth. In the old days schools provided good science education and the best and the brightest went into science. I would like to help, but am finding just like they say, that it very hard if not impossible to change these false beliefs and fears.
        Before I went back and got my nursing degree, I worked at the Health Research Lab here where countless experiments have been done over the years. They know what to expect from various doses of radiation. It’s incredible what they have data on.
        There are scientists all over the world and here that I trust for this reason. I don’t believe for a minute the fear mongering that Wasserman puts out. I tend to think these people are well intentioned but not informed, don’t get the basics, and inflate their fears terribly. It ends up being just plain irresponsible and causing all kinds of psychological damage for the people trying to cope. As if this global warming wasn’t bad enough.
        I wish you could come visit me here. You’d see all the young scientists and technicians riding their bikes and jogging at lunch hour past the reactors and WIPP temporary storage facility (it’s near the road.) These folks are read health nuts out there and know that they are perfectly safe. You could see how close my home is to the waste storage facility (just a mile or two up the road on the mesa top behind us. There are huge tent like structures under which are the canisters) on Google maps but that area is all a no fly zone.
        One year we had a nurse’s association convention for NM here in Los Alamos. Many nurses were reluctant to come fearing the radiation here. I saw some of those same nurses at break out by the door smoking their cigarettes (this was years ago), but they just didn’t know how to weigh the risks or that smoking gives people a pretty substantial radiation dose as well as all the other risks.
        I skimmed your article on Church Rock and the injustices. Yes, amazing and sad. And of course it was “much bigger” than TMI, because if you read the well referenced article even in Wikipedia they will tell you that no one was hurt at TMI.
        Oh, and the accident at WIPP proved that nuclear waste storage is not perfect by any means, but it’s a heck of a lot safer than storing our CO2 waste in our atmosphere. The accident was minuscule, detected immediately, and no one was hurt. The problems with nuclear energy do not compare to the problems we already have with the burning of fossil fuels.
        I thought of another source that you could read. It’s on the web and is called “Hiroshima Syndrome”. You could read much of it in an evening or two (I know how busy you are), but to be responsible with your list I wish that you would read it. It is written by a high school teacher I believe trying to get the truth out. I know you won’t be convinced, science tells me so, but maybe at least you would not put out Wasserman articles on your list–you might see how irresponsible it is.
        You loose your credibility when you put out his articles for us and many educated people and young geeks even–many know it is not right what he and Helen are saying.
        (I sure wish you’d read some of the other articles I posted earlier in this discussion. I know if you’re like most you just don’t read what doesn’t match your beliefs. It’s called confirmation bias or cognitive dissonance and I realize you’ll just tell me that I’m the one suffering from it. But my dear sweet husband has studied nuclear physics and worked in this field all his life and I do not believe that he would jeopardize my life or the kids or his own along with all the other brilliant scientists around here old and young.

  • DoubleCheck

    Dear Popular Resistance, why should I waste my time making perfectly good comments when you want me to wait around for you to approve them?

  • Joyce Carlson

    Margaret and Kevin, I want to be part of your movement. Please do not demonize or ostracize me. If we’re to build a big tent here, a really big mass movement, you can’t draw a very small circle and leave many of us out. And you must base the movement on truth and science. Try to overcome your years of built up beliefs, and if you can’t please still let us join you. We believe about 90% of what you say. Is that good enough?
    I would love to have you come visit us in our home sometime. You could join us and the Buddhists and the Catholics as we march around the pond for peace in the town center.

  • Bruce 7

    Not a news flash to me

  • Bruce 7

    What the Fukushima! Yeah lets build some of these clean energy plants in our country. Way better than burning coal for a while

  • Bruce 7

    Beyond anything we could imagine. Movie rights? I’d like to see the sea creatures that come out of this one