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Nuclear Deniers: Guilty Knowledge of Radiation from Hiroshima to Fukushima Charles Perrow, Emeritus Professor, Yale University Visiting Professor, Stanford.

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Presentation on theme: "Nuclear Deniers: Guilty Knowledge of Radiation from Hiroshima to Fukushima Charles Perrow, Emeritus Professor, Yale University Visiting Professor, Stanford."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nuclear Deniers: Guilty Knowledge of Radiation from Hiroshima to Fukushima Charles Perrow, Emeritus Professor, Yale University Visiting Professor, Stanford University

2 radiation from atomic bombs, nuclear processing plants, and nuclear power plants in several countries: Japan, the USA, the Soviet Union, the UK, Germany and France

3 The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945

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6 1953: AEC: low-level exposure to radiation “can be continued indefinitely without any detectable bodily change.”

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9 1956: Nat. Acad. of Scientists: Nuclear scientists: low-level radiation not harmful. Geneticists: all levels are harmful.

10 2005 BEIR VII: any dose harmful; extensive health effects other than cancer including genetic generational changes.

11 Radiation-related excess deaths: 2,850 to 3,800 Bomb death rate from immediate effects: about 200,000

12 Nuclear bomb fuel processing plants 1957 Windscale, UK. Large areas of Wales contaminated. No announcement.

13 1957 Chelyabinsk, Soviet Union, Ural Mountains. Nearly one half a million people irradiated. Secret for 30 years.

14 Accepting nuclear 1953: US National Security Council: "The President and Secretary [John Foster] Dulles were in complete agreement that somehow or other the tabu [sic] which surrounds the use of atomic weapons would have to be destroyed.” “ While Secretary Dulles admitted that in the present state of world opinion we could not use an A- bomb, we should make every effort now to dissipate this feeling."

15 1953 AEC Chair: “highlight the peaceful applications of nuclear explosive devices and thereby create a climate of world opinion that is more favorable to weapons development and tests.” As a DOD official put it in 1953: "The atomic bomb will be accepted far more readily if at the same time atomic energy is being used for constructive ends

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17 1959: International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) agree not to release radiation effects data the other has not agreed to.

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19 1979: Three Mile Island, Harrisburg, PA Negligible radiation declared

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22 1987: Chernobyl, USSR Not announced for 2 days; late evacuation; no warnings on food; radiation sickness not allowed as diagnosis, etc. The radioactive cloud spread over Belarus, the Ukraine and parts of Russia, and then Europe.

23 Chernobyl deaths: United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR): 64 (workforce only) UN Chernobyl Forum (UNSCEAR, IAEA, WHO) 4,000 deaths among the “liquidators.” Another report estimates an additional 5,000 deaths among the 6 million living in the contaminated areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, giving us 9,000.

24 Chernobyl deaths continued: Union of Concerned Scientists: 50,000 excess cancer cases and 25,000 excess deaths. Greenpeace: 200,000 Russia scientists: 950,000 premature cancer deaths

25 IAEA: Not victims, but survivors. Calling them victims: “has led them to perceive themselves as helpless, weak and lacking control over their future. This, in turn, has led either to over cautious behavior and exaggerated health concerns, or to reckless conduct, such as consumption of mushrooms, berries and game from areas still designated as highly contaminated, overuse of alcohol and tobacco, and unprotected promiscuous sexual activity.

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27 What if the plants behaved well? Children at highest risk study of 8 US nuclear plants closed in Strontium 90 in milk drops sharply, as did birth defects and infant deaths.

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30 2011: Fukushima’s rosy predictions: Nuclear Energy Institute declared two months after the accident, that ‘no health effects are expected among the Japanese people as a result of the events at Fukushima.’ The Fukushima Medical University in February, 2012, reported only about 29 people were expected to have doses over 10 millisieverts (mSv), and the highest recorded does was 23 mSv, well below the 100-mSv exposure level that might lead to a slight increase in cancer risk.

31 Scientific American (republished in Nature): Those exposed, one expert said, “are probably getting better care than they were before” the accident. “Mental health is the most significant issue” said a professor of gerontology in Japan.

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33 No point in making studies: Columbia U. radiologist: “40% of everybody will get cancer… It doesn’t seem to me that it’s possible to do an epidemiological study that will see an increased risk.”

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36 British sociologist: The accident “actually represent a compelling case for [nuclear power] expansion, as even these old fashioned reactors have withstood the worse that nature could throw at them.”

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39 Some doubts: the external exposures over a 90 day period were between times the natural background radiation, or the equivalent of chest ex-rays.

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42 a child living in one village and spending about 8 hours of the day outside and 16 hours inside would be exposed to about 148 mSv in the course of a year times the natural background radiation in Japan. This contradicts the WHO report of only mSv.

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45 Conclusions: Fukushima not much different Atomic bomb and testing denials Secrecy surrounding Windscale and Chernobyl. Fallout from TMI more serious than allowed Multiple denials about Chernobyl Radiation from normal operation plants denied

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