cancer, Chernobyl, Fukushima, health effects, health impacts, iodine 131, ionizing radiation, leukemia, nuclear energy, nuclear fallout, nuclear power plant, nuclear power plants, nuclear waste, radioactive iodine, salt dome storage, strontium, thyroid cancer, uranium mining
This video dates from March 2011, but it is the most clear, concise, comprehensive summary, which we have seen, of the problems associated with nuclear energy from start to finish. Because of its importance, we have decided to transcribe it below for those who prefer reading to videos. Dr. Rosen is German but the video is in a clear English. Below his speech we have also added information about the problems with the leaking salt-dome nuclear waste dump in Germany to which he alludes:
Medical Voices – Dr. Alex Rosen on the Health Risks of Nuclear Energy
“Hello my name is Alex Rosen. I am a pediatrician from Germany. Like many of you, I am horrified by the pictures, which we are seeing coming from the nuclear plant in Fukushima in Japan. What we are seeing might be a nuclear meltdown in the making and we are all very worried about the health effects of this catastrophe. As physicians we are expected to know what is good and what is bad for people’s health. And, we are expected to inform the public when we notice a health hazard. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War have been saying for a long time that nuclear energy is bad for your health. And, I am afraid that the horrible events in Japan right now are proving us right.
The health risks of nuclear energy do not start with the power plant, they start with uranium mining. Uranium is the fuel which powers nuclear plants and it comes from countries like Canada, Australia, India, Russia, or Nigeria. In order to mine uranium, large strips of land are made uninhabitable for thousands of years, indigenous people are expelled from their land, and those who remain suffer from the medical consequences of radiation.
As we have seen in Fukushima these days, nuclear power is never 100% safe. No technology is. Besides the danger of direct radiation affecting the plant’s workers and the people living in the immediate vicinity, there is the danger of nuclear particles being spread by explosion and by fire into the atmosphere and being carried thousands of miles away by the winds coming down as nuclear fallout. We have Tokyo with 35 million people, living just a few hundred kilometers away from the plant, and depending on how the winds turn there is a danger of these nuclear particles being spread towards Tokyo.
Nuclear particles are for example Iodine 131 which goes into the thyroid gland and can cause thyroid cancer or strontium 90 which accumulates in the bones and can cause leukemia.
We know about the effects of these nuclear particles because we have studied the health effects of the Chernobyl disaster, where we have seen a significant rise of thyroid cancers, a significant rise of childhood leukemia, of solid tumors, of cardiovascular diseases, of blindness. Also, the rate of malformations, stillbirths, Down’s syndrome and miscarriages increased sharply in the affected regions but also all over Western Europe, after the Chernobyl disaster.
You also have to take into consideration the extreme psychological and social impact such a disaster has on the population.
But, nuclear power plants are not only a threat to people’s health when there is an accident. Even during so-called normal service there is radiation being emitted from nuclear power plants. A study performed by the German childhood cancer registry just two years ago showed a significant increase in the rate of childhood leukemia in the 5 km area around a nuclear power plant, as well as a significant rise in all types of childhood cancer, depending on the distance that the children lived away for the nuclear power plant.
Finally there is the issue of nuclear waste. Not only can it be used to produce nuclear weapons, but there is also no solution where it can be stored for thousands of years that it is still emitting radiation. In Germany, the attempt to find a final storage site for nuclear waste has led to large-scale demonstrations, because people see that the salt mines which have so far been used to as storage sites are causing a great threat to people living in the vicinity.
So, in conclusion, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War are warning that nuclear energy is bad for people’s health.
Think about it.”
[End of video] (we have added bold for emphasis)
Additional countries having uranium mining are the USA, Kazakhstan, Niger and others.
The German salt dome nuclear waste storage problem, which he alludes to, is very serious. The dome is leaking and they are having trouble retrieving the nuclear waste. There is the risk of a sinkhole. Despite these problems and the currently collapsing Louisiana sinkhole, the US gov still is holding on to the hare-brained idea of nuclear waste in salt domes. (Note that salt beds and salt domes are not the same). Even the German government appears to be hanging on to this stupid idea:
“RADIOACTIVE WASTE IN THE ASSE SALT MINE IN GERMANY
The Asse Salt Mine near Wolfenbüttel, Lower Saxony was used to dispose low-level radioactive waste (LAW) and medium-level radioactive waste (MAW), including about 28 kg of plutonium from 1967 to 1978. Officials say that there is no high-level radioactive waste (HAW) but we are sure that there will be some high-level radioactive parts (HAW) too. The waste originated from the nuclear reprocessing plant Karlsruhe (WAK) and from nuclear power plants who operated during that time. Up to 90 percent of the whole waste in the Asse Salt Mine came from the nuclear-industry. Also, the Asse Salt Mine was a prototype for the thirty year old plan to establish a high-level radioactive waste storage in Gorleben, Lower Saxony.
In 1967, scientists said that there will be no danger of water or brine leaks. In 1969, many German newspapers wrote about the Asse: ‘Scientists: security for all times’ was the headline. But in 1988 a continuous inflow of brine solution started, and since then they have not been able to stop the leakage. Currently there are about 12 m3 daily flowing into the mine, which should be dry for all times. In the beginning, the persons responsible said that a leakage would be the worst thinkable accident for dry storage of radioactive waste.
Eight years later in 1996, it was published for the first time that they had a ‘little’ problem with water. Later they decided to flood the whole mine. This plan was stopped in September 2008, when we found out that the brines in the Asse were contaminated with tritium and radioactive caesium since 1988. Therefore, they definitely violated the Nuclear Law (Atomgesetz) and the German Radiation Protection Ordinance (Strahlenschutzverordnung) in the last year. Because there is a special mineral salt in the mine which is easily soluble (carnallite) the inflow is really serious.
There is great danger of contamination of the ground and drinking water in the whole region.
Further, there is great danger that the whole mine (several million cubic meters) would collapse, creating a huge sink hole. See the entire article here: http://www.fraktion.gruene-niedersachsen.de/themen/themenspecial-endlager/artikel/radioactive-waste-in-the-asse-salt-mine-in-germany.html (bold added for emphasis)
Information from the German gov, in English, where they explain that they must retrieve the nuclear waste is here: http://www.asse.bund.de/EN/2_WhatIs/History/_node.html