Published on Thursday, July 29, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
Don’t Be Fooled: Nuclear Power Kills
Two of the nuclear industry's talking points these days are that "nuclear power hasn't killed anyone" and that "no one died at
A quick look at the record of some of the deadliest radiation accidents counters efforts by the Nuclear Energy Institute, and some in Congress, to whitewash their poisoned nuclear power and win another $32 billion in taxpayer giveaways for building new reactors. What follows is a sampling -- a completely footnoted version of the list is available from Nukewatch .
January 3, 1961: Three killed in Idaho
The experimental boiling-water reactor called SL-1 (Stationary Low-Power Plant No.1) in
July 27, 1972: Two killed at Surry reactor
At the Surry Unit 2 pressurized water reactor in
March 28, 1979:
Exposure to radioactive fallout and contaminated water released by the meltdown at
Infant deaths in surrounding counties soared 53 percent in the first month after TMI; 27 percent in the first year. As originally published, the federal government's own Monthly Vital Statistics Report shows a statistically significant rise in infant mortality rates shortly after the accident.
Studying 10 counties closest to TMI, deaths from birth defects were15-to-35 percent higher afterward than before the accident; breast cancer incidence rose seven percent higher; these increases far exceeded those elsewhere in
In counties downwind of the accident, leukemia deaths among kids under 10 (1980-to-1984) jumped almost 50 percent compared to the national rate. From 1980-1984 death rates in the three nearest counties were considerably higher than 1970-74 (before the reactor opened) for leukemia, female breast, thyroid and bone and joint cancers.
March 26, 1986: From 4,000 to 125,000
Estimates of deaths caused by
The United Nations reported Sept. 6, 2005 that its scientists predicted about 4,000 eventual radiation-
related deaths among 600,000 people in the affected area. CNN reported April 26, 1997, "Ukrainian authorities say over 4,000 died of radiation-related illnesses.
The Wisconsin State Journal noted on April 15, 1991 that "The most senior scientist at the
The Milwaukee Journal, on April 21, 1991 reported, "Many Soviet and Western researchers dispute the official death toll of only 32, saying that at least 500 people and possibly as many as 7,000 have died of cancer and other illnesses."
December 9, 1986: Four more killed at Surry
Again at the Surry Reactor Unit 2, a similar pressurized steam burned four people to death after an unchecked and corroded 18-inch steel feed-water pipe broke and spewed 30,000 gallons of extremely hot pressurized water.
March 11, 1997: Cancer deaths unknown at Tokaimura
September 30, 1999: Two killed at Tokaimura
Workers at Japan's Tokaimura uranium processing complex caused a "uranium criticality burst" that killed two men, exposed at least 600 residents in the surrounding community to a burst of neutron radiation, and caused the evacuation of thousands. One worker died of radiation poisoning after 82 days of agonizing pain, the other took 210 days to die.
August 9, 2004: Five killed at Mihama
At the Mihama reactor in
John LaForge is on the Nukewatch  staff and edits its Quarterly.
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/29-0
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs