Dr. Helen Caldicott spoke to a standing room only crowd at the Faulkner Gallery on Friday
evening 3/23 on "The Medical Implications of Fukushima, Nuclear Power and Nuclear
The event was sponsored by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation to remind us that nuclear
issues are very much still with us.
Caldicott explained that the US and Russia still have enough warheads aimed at each other to
destroy both countries and cause a global nuclear winter. And that the margin for error is just
seconds in some cases before a launch can occur.
But most of her talk was on the impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and nuclear power in
general. She compared it to Chernobyl 25 years ago and said it is at least three times worse.
The effects of Chernobyl were never properly researched by the World Health Organization or
any other independent agency. Biologist Timothy Mousseau has done painstaking research on
the effects on his own. He said that the Russian research had never even been looked at or even
translated by international agencies.
Figures of a few thousand deaths are cited, but these are mostly from pro-nuclear industry
propaganda, she claims. She uses a figure of one million premature deaths as a result of
Not only is Fukushima worse, but also the Fukushima disaster is far from over, she warned.
There is still "uranium lava" inside the plant that can explode forth at any time.
Nuclear contamination from Chernobyl was largely ignored. The International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) looked at external radiation but did not look at internal consumption through
the food chain. When food was found to be radioactive, it was not disposed of; it was simply
diluted with unradiated food, she explained.
Radioactive isotopes can remain for hundreds of years and some for many thousands of years
Speaking as a physician, she explained the result is genetic damage, mutations and cancers.
And the radiation concentrates up the food chain. Wild animals at the top of the food chain after
Chernobyl had to be buried in nuclear waste dumps.
In the cases of Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, officials delayed warnings and
outright lied about the situation at every stage. Assurances of safety were issued when no
information was even available.
"Your government is full of corporate prostitutes," she explained. But she laid the harshest
criticism on us, the public, if we don't speak out.
You live in a democracy. You should be meeting with your members of Congress and Senators
and demanding action. You are the leaders.
It is your fault about the 1% and the 99% she told us.
The Nuclear Freeze movement in the 1980s was rejected by politicians until people got out in
the streets and politicians reacted. Mass political action works.
The good news is that we don't need nuclear power. She cited a book "Carbon-Free and
Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy" as showing exactly how.
Again, she berated us in California for not having solar panels on every home. When the
audience blamed the corporations, she said that is no excuse. You can put solar water heating
and photovoltaics on your roof today.
During the question and answer period, a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing spoke of
her survival in a high radiation zone.
Caldicott explained that medically radiation effects are "idiosyncratic" and that many died from
much lower radiation exposures.
Caldicott explained that she is 73 years old and still writing books and traveling the globe
speaking out. She expects each of us to do our part and not wait for others to do the work for
A few notes in closing....
Helen Caldicott's talk was informative, inspiring, and drove home the point that raising
awareness to ill-informed people worldwide to the constant threat of catastrophic nuclear
outcomes from human error or violent intent is truly the duty of every concerned citizen of the
planet (my words, not hers) wishing to draw an end to this madness.
Learn more about Dr. Caldicott and her work at:
- www.ifyoulovethis planet.org
- www.nuclearfreeplanet.org, and
At the tail end of the lecture, Dr. Caldicott summoned front row audience members including
myself to hold for the rest of the audience to see a 25-foot wide unfolding paper illustration of
an inordinate number of nuclear missiles carried aboard certain submarines. After having
shot the photos you see below during the first five or ten minutes of the lecture, a
routine bout of chronic fatigue knocked me out to the point of nearly falling asleep. The first
thing I remember after being suddenly awakened was Dr. Caldicott's voice saying something
along the lines of Well, the gentleman in the front row seems to have fallen asleep. I think at
this point someone tapped me on the shoulder and I groggily and stubbornly woke up. It was
this point I noticed people were snickering. While rather embarrassed, I stood to attention
and did my part. I wonder if anyone snapped a photo of the entire
line of scroll holders supporting the scroll of missles? Ha!