Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cancer, Coverups and Contamination: The Real Cost of Nuclear Energy

 The fact remains that the nuclear industry is hopelessly problematic and this is made worse, if anything through the excessive over engineering insisted upon by regulators hoping that will solve the problem.. 

At the end of the day the fuel must be contained and just as certain, it must also be opened in order to do anything.  This has never been a fool proof-able problem.  Hard costs alone make the technology a loser and empirical costs properly accounted would shut the industry down forever.

Better though we no longer need this industry at all and we can abandon it all.  I have ample better solutions available, but right off the shelf we do have geothermal and super conducting transmission lines.  Why are we not converting now?

Cancer, Coverups and Contamination: The Real Cost of Nuclear Energy

27th September 2015

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

“When the Chernobyl accident happened some of the iodine went around the world several times. In fact, you, I, everyone – we all have a piece of Chernobyl in our body…” ~ Theoretical physicist and author Michio Kaku


Disinformation is a component of any propaganda. The highly paid technocrats and advocates of “peaceful uses of the atom” increasingly use disinformation to repress and control public protest against nuclear pollution and environmental injustice.

As a former employee of two US national nuclear labs, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, and after having seen what I have seen, NO, I am NOT an advocate of nuclear power. Unfortunately, most so-called experts on these issues talk in front of a blackboard, but that is not what nuclear materials are; they are not theory and calculations on paper, as most academics around the world seem to think, but destructive beasts that kill people without any discrimination. Let them go and get dressed like astronauts with breathing masks, and experience nuclear accidents, and be contaminated first hand, and see after that if they will still favor nuclear energy.

I was trained as a handler of nuclear materials, and I experienced how easy it is for contamination to occur and how difficult it is to clean up. I experienced the brainwashing and deception by the nuclear system advocates. During training, we were told that nuclear radiation is just like the light from sun, but when a “little accident” did occur, my co-workers were brought to the hospital immediately for treatment and then fired from the job within one month. Technical equipment of hundreds of thousands of dollars had to be trashed due to contamination. I witnessed explosions, and virtually all instances were due to human error. I worked side by side with the designers of storage cans for nuclear waste, I did research on the behavior of nuclear waste, and I have published a number of technical reports on MOX (mixed oxide), Uranium and Plutonium. I have worked for hundreds of hours in two nuclear labs and my eyes have seen a lot.

When I realized that within the Lab, environmental or nonproliferation work was but an illusion, I decided to resign. My conscience simply does not allow me to work for the development or maintenance of nuclear weapons, particularly in such a dangerous environment.

A few months after I resigned, I received a letter from LLNL with the title: “Beryllium Medical Surveillance Testing for Former LLNL Employees”. In that letter, I was asked to participate in voluntary blood screening for possible Chronic Beryllium Disease, a disease that causes scarring of the lung tissue after a person inhales dust or fumes of beryllium, a toxic and relatively rare element that is created through nuclear fusion reactions. I was shocked to read that the same letter was sent to 28,000 other former LLNL workers. The reason I was shocked is that one of my friends was trying to win his legal case against the lab for beryllium exposure, but the Department of Energy (which oversees the national laboratories) had refused to accept his medical results, which were positive.
What happened as a result? A court decision was finally made. But that is the overarching ethos of the nuclear industry: contaminate people because of profit, refuse to admit it, and then contest it in court until there is no other choice but to finally admit it.
What Are The Financial Costs of Nuclear Energy?

Although it is touted as a clean and inexpensive form of energy, nuclear energy is a very expensive form of energy, when one considers the financial costs, the impacts to environmental and public health — and the cost of truth, which is routinely and unscientifically sacrificed by biased industry operators and regulators.
An analysis regarding the financial cost of nuclear energy that comes to mind is from Public Citizen. Their analysis shows that U.S. states that use nuclear power to generate electricity have significantly higher electricity rates — on average 25 percent higher — than states that do not, and concluded that the higher a state’s reliance on nuclear power, the higher electricity rates will always be. This is because nuclear plants are more costly — financially speaking — to build, operate and maintain than other forms of power.
“Despite its promise more than 50 years ago of energy “too cheap to meter,” the nuclear power industry continues to be dependent on taxpayer handouts to survive… Even with massive subsidies, nuclear technology is prohibitively expensive. Current cost projections for a new nuclear reactor are over four times as high as the initial “nuclear renaissance” projections.” [source]
However, since the late 1990s, US government policy and funding decisions have encouraged the development of greater nuclear energy capacity. This policy is directly linked to the US government’s policy of continuing to develop nuclear weapons, as I will soon detail.
In 2011, the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) published the following analysis of the financial cost-benefit models governments use to justify the use of nuclear power generation:
“Cost-benefit analysis is a methodology now favoured by policy-makers… However, there are considerable problems with this method as an aid to policy-making. In the first case it relies on the ability to measure costs and benefits accurately. It is notoriously difficult to measure environmental costs (see e.g. Pearce, 1993; Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1994). As is demonstrated elsewhere in this report, in the case of nuclear power, measurement of the negative health consequences is equally intractable. Similarly, the benefits of any process may often be assessed and given a monetary value in a way which views the process from within an existing paradigm. For example, the value of energy is assessed within a policy framework which plots an inevitable increase in our need for energy, ignoring the possibilities of energy-saving and demand management. Behind the assumption that we will always and inevitably need more energy lies the further assumption that economic growth will continue, an assumption which has long been the subject of fierce debate… Within such a set of assumptions the benefits of extra energy are likely to be overstated.”
Wenonah Hauter, former director of Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program, agrees:
“The administration is living in a dream world if it thinks that nuclear energy will be a panacea to our current and future energy woes… Nuclear power is not the energy of the future… Increasing our reliance on it will only worsen conditions for consumers in years to come.”
Those worsening conditions will not only be financial, but also environmental and biological.
What Are The Public Health and Environmental Impacts of Radiation Exposure?

Another important factor in the equation of the cost of nuclear power is public health. This factor is downplayed if not completely ignored in most cost analyses so, while the corporations continue to benefit, the risks of nuclear power generation are passed onto the unaware public. However, informed citizens know that cancer is devastating their families and ask why. Let’s look at some facts about breast cancer, among so many other kinds.
Breast cancer kills 46,000 women in the U.S. alone, each year. It is well known that cancer rates depend on the degree of exposure to carcinogens. But what are the carcinogens that cause cancer?

Cancer, Coverups and Contamination - The Real Cost of Nuclear Energy - Chernobyl Victims After Thyroid Cancer Surgery
Chernobyl victims after thyroid cancer surgery. Cancer rates skyrocketed in the Chernobyl region following the 1986 disaster, just as they did in Japan following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Physician, author and activist Dr. Janette D. Sherman MD is a practicing physician who specializes in internal medicine and toxicology with an emphasis on chemicals and nuclear radiation that cause illnesses, including cancer and birth defects. In her fully-documented book “Life’s Delicate Balance: The Causes and Prevntion of Breast Cancer” (New York and London: Taylor and Francis, 2000), Dr. Sherman explains an established cause of breast and other cancers: ionizing radiation from x-rays and from nuclear power plant emissions and the radioactive fallout from atomic bomb tests. Dr. Sherman also asks a simple question, which medical and nuclear insiders are otherwise unable to answer;
How [else] can one explain the doubling, since 1940, of a woman’s likelihood of developing breast cancer, and also increasing in tandem with prostate and childhood cancers?”
How is it known that ionizing radiation in our environment – that is, in air, water, soil and food – plays an important role in causing breast cancer? Because when women from their non-industrial homelands move to nuclear and industrial countries, their breast cancer rate inevitably goes up. In 1984, a study of Mormon families in Utah downwind from the nuclear tests in Nevada reported elevated numbers of breast cancers. Girls who survived the bombing of Hiroshima are also now dying in excessive numbers from breast cancer. There are also a number of ecological studies showing that women living near nuclear power plants suffer from elevated rates of breast cancers.
It is not a secret that all nuclear power plants leak radioactivity routinely into local air and water, and that any exposure to ionizing radiation increases a woman’s danger of breast cancer. Clearly there is an epidemic of cancer that is sweeping the western world, and the only way to prevent the nuclear industry from further contributing to this problem is to end nuclear power permanently. This is also the conclusion of the ECRR 2010 recommendations report
“The Committee concludes that the present cancer epidemic is a consequence of exposures to global atmospheric weapons fallout in the period 1959-63 and that more recent releases of radioisotopes to the environment from the operation of the nuclear fuel cycle will result in significant increases in cancer and other types of ill health.”
But is breast cancer from nuclear power plants the only cost of nuclear power to public health? How about dozens of other illnesses? Studies have clearly linked radiation exposure to increased rates of childhood cancers, thyroid damage, skin complaints, endocrine disruption, pregnancy issues (such as miscarriage) and emotional trauma, which itself negatively impacts the body.
“In 2007, the latest of a long series of childhood leukemia studies was published: this one from the German Childhood Cancer Registry, showing a statistically significant effect on child cancer in those living within 5km of nuclear plants (KiKK 2007). The size of this study, and the affiliation of the authors, made it impossible to conclude that this was anything but proof of a causal relationship between childhood cancer and nuclear plant exposures to radioactive releases…

“The Committee has examined the considerable weight of evidence relating to the existence of childhood cancer clusters near nuclear sites, including evidence from aggregations of nuclear sites in the UK and Germany and has concluded that it is exposure to internal radiation from discharges from the sites which is the cause of the illness.”
Uranium mining has also cost many lives and great suffering, not just on the workers but on all the communities around these mines. These problems, and the lack of a solution or accountability from the nuclear industry, is described in detail in the ECRR report:

“In response to a challenge to the ethical foundation of civilian nuclear power and the cancers caused by licensed emissions, nuclear industry apologists have offered comparisons between the number of miners killed as part of the lifecycle of energy production in coal-fired power stations with the number of citizens killed by cancers consequent on nuclear releases. However, this is an ethically flawed position. The miners are well informed about the risky nature of their employment and accept it in return for direct pecuniary gain. Their situation is not the same as that of the adult or child who breathes in radioactive particles released from Sellafield without knowing they are in the air, or without benefiting directly from their production. Such people are in effect bystanders and thus have a morally distinct status from those who are engaged in producing the pollutants…

“If the nuclear industry and the military are to continue within a sound ethical framework serious questions need to be addressed and those who will suffer its health consequences need to be informed and consulted to a far greater extent than they ever have been… while children will inevitably die from leukemia as a result of radioactive discharges, causality will be denied and… [their numbers deemed] not worthy of consideration. The moral bankruptcy of such a justification is intuitively apparent…
“The Committee concludes that releases of radioactivity without consent can not be justified ethically since [even] the smallest dose has a finite, if small, probability of fatal harm.”
And how about many other locations, beside power plants, where radiation pollution exists? How about the hundreds of thousands of people that have died and suffered from the whole nuclear cycle? How about future generations who will similarly suffer from long-term contamination?

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