Seven in 10 Americans say they are more concerned about a nuclear disaster occurring in the United States after the recent events in Japan, including 39% who say they are "a lot more concerned," according to a new Gallup poll. The poll also found more people now opposed to than in favor of construction of new reactors: "The events in Japan may also be diminishing Americans' support for the use of nuclear power in the United States. The poll finds 44% in favor and 47% opposed to 'the construction of nuclear power plants in the United States.'" 56% of women opposed new construction with only 36% of men opposed - a traditional gender breakdown reflecting a historic tendency for more women to oppose nuclear energy than men. 34% of women were in favor of new constrution while 55% of men favored it.
British engineer, John Large, made this observation to the Daily Mirror (UK) about the potentially long-term fatalities caused by the Fukushima nuclear accidents and release of high levels of radioactivity:
“While the radiation leak so far is only a tenth of that at Chernobyl, that was in a rural area with a low population. In Japan it’s an urban, densely packed area so the potential numbers of deaths and cancers are much higher.”
John Large is a U.K.-based engineer and internationally recognized consultant who contributes comment and opinion on nuclear and technical matters to national and international media.
As we read statements from the World Health Organization minimizing the health risks from the radioactive contamination caused by the Fukushima disaster, it is well to remember how firmly the WHO's hands are tied by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Here is a good piece from The Guardian's Oliver Tickell published in May 2009 which states:
Fifty years ago, on 28 May 1959, the World Health Organisation's assembly voted into force an obscure but important agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency – the United Nations "Atoms for Peace" organisation, founded just two years before in 1957. The effect of this agreement has been to give the IAEA an effective veto on any actions by the WHO that relate in any way to nuclear power – and so prevent the WHO from playing its proper role in investigating and warning of the dangers of nuclear radiation on human health.
The WHO's objective is to promote "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health", while the IAEA's mission is to "accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world". Although best known for its work to restrict nuclear proliferation, the IAEA's main role has been to promote the interests of the nuclear power industry worldwide, and it has used the agreement to suppress the growing body of scientific information on the real health risks of nuclear radiation. Read the full article.
Four Russian experts with firsthand experience of the Chernobyl reactor tragedy have arrived in the U.S. for the start of a pre-arranged informational tour organized by Beyond Nuclear. The speakers – liquidator, Natalia Manzurova; scientist and former Yeltsin advisor, Dr. Alexey Yablokov; prominent anti-nuclear leader, Dr. Nataliya Mironova; and Chelyabinsk spokesperson Tatiana Muchamedyarova, will be in Vermont, Seattle, the Southeast and Washington, DC, during their visit which ends April 6. They plan to share their Chernobyl experiences in light of the nuclear power crisis in Japan. Full press release here.
The Commission for Independent Information and Research on Radioactivity, known as CRIIRAD, an independent French laboratory created after the 1986 Chernobyl explosion, is reporting that radioactive contamination of spinach sampled as far away as 100 kilometers from Fukushima are at dangerously high levels and should not be consumed. Milk sampled in Fukuhsima Prefecture towns about 60 km west-northwest from the reactor site was also found to be contaminated. CRIIRAD has been collaborating with Beyond Nuclear to provide analysis of water samples collected around U.S. nuclear plants, testing primarily for tritium (radioactive hydrogen) which is known to have leaked at numerous U.S. reactor sites.
Supporting scientific documents
CRIIRAD is a national independent laboratory based in Valence, France, which was formed after the Chernobyl reactor explosion in 1986 when the French government failed to take protective measures, resulting in widespread exposure in France (caused by numerous radioactive hotspots from Chernobyl fallout). It is completely unaffiliated with any government entity and its work has never been scientifically challenged.
Over the years, CRIIRAD has identified the radioactive contamination in France from the Chernobyl fallout; the country’s 210 abandoned uranium mines whose tailings have paved school playgrounds and parking lots; the deliberate effort by the French government to apply the wrong scientific protocol in an attempt to discredit a medical study that found leukemia clusters near the La Hague reprocessing facility; and the revelation that Areva’s uranium mining activities over the past 40 years in Niger and Gabon have left the drinking water, air and soil contaminated with unacceptably (and illegally) high levels of radioactivity. (CRIIRAD’s Web site can be viewed – in French – at http://www.criirad.org/).