It's a hard rain that's going to fall
By Ritt Goldstein
For reasons one can only speculate upon, official pronouncements regarding the ongoing
It was April 27, 1986, when radiation alarms sounded at Sweden's Forsmark nuclear power plant, radiation 14 times normal the cause, though the radiation did not originate at Forsmark. Soon after, the then-Soviet Union revealed
It was 21 years after the Chernobyl fire, May 2007, when one Swedish paper headlined "Swedes still dying from Chernobyl radiation", Gavle and what is occurring there figuring prominently in the English-language article. A heavy rainstorm had struck
Prevailing winds at that time had driven radioactive clouds from Chernobyl over parts of Scandinavia, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) providing a report on the early amounts of radiation registered in Chernobyl's aftermath, a report where Gavle is again significantly featured. A recent article on Time.com, “
I remember that after
According to a 2006 Swedish study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, it appears
A 2007 study performed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a prestigious Cambridge Massachusetts-based think-tank, examined the cognitive effects of
Notably, this journalist lives about a ninety minute drive from Gavle, and I only heard of the cognitive problems through a chance meeting while food shopping. I was told that an unusually high number of pregnancies during the peak radiation period had resulted in children with cognitive issues, the above report suggesting the accuracy of that information. But only some years ago, I personally had lived in
Initially, one of the places where I had lived was on the shore of a picturesque lake, the village it was in being about a half hour from the city's center. I was struck by how lovely it was, until I learned one couldn't eat the fish, and it wasn't a good idea to do too much swimming, radiation being a problem.
Twenty years after
The effects of radiation proved lasting, and recent news reports revealed radiation has entered
In an article titled "Progress at Japan Reactors; New Signs of Food Radiation", the March 20 New York Times noted
Highlighting what many perceive as a substantive part of the ongoing problem, The Times quoted Japan's deputy chief cabinet secretary, Tetsuro Fukuyama, as observing that he would let his own children "eat the spinach" from Fukushima. The IAEA has stated that only "up to four thousand" fatal cancers will result from
In contrast to the IAEA's fatality figures, a 2006 Greenpeace report forecast 100,000 cancer fatalities, and a 2010 book by leading Eastern European scientists utilizing original "Slavic language" documents ("Chernobyl
While some uncertainties exist, there are hard facts.
Gavle is about 1,600 kilometers from Chernobyl, and the amount of nuclear fuel present at Chernobyl during the 1986 accident is reported as about 180 tons, none of which contained plutonium, an element considerably more toxic than the uranium used in standard reactor fuel. Estimates of the amount of nuclear fuel present at the Fukushima reactors are roughly in the 2000 ton range, dwarfing Chernobyl, and one of the six reactors (number 3) does use a mixture of plutonium and uranium, "mox".
If nothing else, it would appear nuclear power is not the "clean, safe, inexpensive and reliable" energy source some claim. As to what nuclear power is,
Ritt Goldstein is an investigative political journalist whose work has appeared widely in the global media, including in the US Christian Science Monitor, Spain's El Mundo, Austria's Wiener Zeitung and Australia's Sydney Morning Herald.
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"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