The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster ?· The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is automatically shut down,…

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<p>A First-Hand Account of Japan's Nuclear CrisisKatsumi Furitsu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28</p> <p>Young doctors speak out on the Fukushima disaster . . . . . . . . . . .40</p> <p>Japans Nuclear NightmareRonald McCoy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41</p> <p>A terribly difficult situation with a lot of uncertainties:PSR Press Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46</p> <p>What may we learn from Fukushima?Frank Boulton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57</p> <p>Radiation in medicine and in nuclear power plants:the same but very differentAndreas Nidecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61</p> <p>Children, Teens and the Japan DisasterHarry Wang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63</p> <p>June 2011Special Edition</p> <p>A publication ofInternational Physicians for</p> <p>the Prevention of Nuclear War</p> <p>The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster</p> <p>Medicine &amp; Global Survival ispublished by InternationalPhysicians for the Preventionof Nuclear War. A peer-reviewed journal on medical,public health, environmental,and humanitarian aspects ofwarparticularly nuclearwarand other forms ofarmed violence, M&amp;GS waspublished continuously from1990 (as The PSR Quarterly)through 2002.</p> <p>A complete archive of arti-cles is available atwww.ippnw.org.</p> <p>Editor: John Loretz</p> <p>International Physicians forthe Prevention of NuclearWar (IPPNW) is a federationof national medical organiza-tions in 63 countries, repre-senting doctors, medical stu-dents, other health workers,and concerned citizens whoshare the common goal ofcreating a more peaceful andsecure world freed from thethreat of nuclear annihilation.IPPNW received the NobelPeace Prize in 1985.</p> <p>INTERNATIONAL PHYSICIANS FOR THE PREVENTIONOF NUCLEAR WAR</p> <p>66-70 UNION SQUARE, #204 SOMERVILLE, MA 02143 USA+1.617.440.1733 (TEL)+1.617.440.1734 (FAX)</p> <p>DIRECTOR@IPPNW.ORG (EMAIL)IPPNW.ORG</p> <p>PEACEANDHEALTHBLOG.COM</p> <p>CONTENTS</p> <p>About this issue</p> <p>We decided topublish this special</p> <p>issue of M&amp;GSthefirst since 2002inorder to present inone place the per-spectives on radia-</p> <p>tion and health, thedangers posed by</p> <p>nuclear energy,and the links</p> <p>between nuclearpower and nuclearweapons technolo-</p> <p>gies that IPPNW,its national affili-ates, and its net-</p> <p>work of physicianexperts have made</p> <p>available to thepress and to thepublic since thetragic events in</p> <p>Japan in March.</p> <p>This is by nomeans a compre-</p> <p>hensive collection,and we refer read-</p> <p>ers to the IPPNWPeace and HealthBlog (peaceand-healthblog.com),</p> <p>where many moreresources, including</p> <p>links to audio andvideo reports in</p> <p>several languages,are compiled.</p> <p>Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2</p> <p>The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis, Month 1: A Brief Chronology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Fukushima Radioisotopes: Some Key Facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6</p> <p>Editorials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7</p> <p>IPPNW has been a constant voice against nuclear energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7IPPNW Nuclear Energy Resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8Nuclear powerbasta! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Nuclear energy is no alternative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10A potential source of radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10Futility of nuclear energy: Alternatives for Nigeria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10What could be worse? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12From Hiroshima to Fukushima and back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13The nuclear chain splitting atoms, hairs and personalities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13Just in case you missed it, here's why radiation is a health hazard . . . . . . . . . . . . .14There really is no safe level of radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16Anger is renewable energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17Children of Fukushima need our protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17</p> <p>Commentaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19</p> <p>In the News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23</p> <p>A First-Hand Account of Japan's Nuclear CrisisKatsumi Furitsu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28</p> <p>Young doctors speak out on the Fukushima disaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40</p> <p>Japans Nuclear NightmareRonald McCoy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41</p> <p>A terribly difficult situation with a lot of uncertainties:PSR Press Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46</p> <p>What may we learn from Fukushima?Frank Boulton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57</p> <p>Radiation in medicine and in nuclear power plants: the same but very differentAndreas Nidecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61</p> <p>Children, Teens and the Japan DisasterHarry Wang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63</p> <p>The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster</p> <p>Medicine &amp; Global Survival June 2011 2</p> <p>On March 11, 2011, a massive earth-quake and tsunami caused extensiveand irreparable damage to the nuclearreactors and spent fuel pools at the</p> <p>Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan,releasing harmful radiation into the environ-ment. Since then, our physician experts havebriefed government officials, medical profes-sionals, and journalists in numerous countriesabout the impact of these radiation releases onpublic health in Japan and elsewhere.</p> <p>IPPNWs first concern has been for thepeople of northeastern Japan, whose healthand security have been seriously compro-mised by a misguided national reliance onnuclear-generated electricity. In the days fol-lowing the disaster, IPPNW called for anexpansion of the evacuation zone aroundFukushima to protect the health of childrenand pregnant women, who are particularlyvulnerable to the effects of radiation. Thatevacuation zone, comparable to the one thathas surrounded the Chernobyl reactor since1986, had been extended to 12 miles by midApril 2011. </p> <p>IPPNW has been formally opposed tonuclear energy since 1998, when ourInternational Council called for a halt to newplant construction and the phase out of exist-ing nuclear plants because of the insur-mountable dangers nuclear energy poses tohealth, the environment, and security. </p> <p>First and foremost, we know that thereis an inherent link between nuclear powerand nuclear weapons. Every commercialreactor produces plutonium and other fissilematerials that can be used in weapons pro-grams. The biggest practical obstacle to theabolition of nuclear weapons is the prolifera-tion of nuclear power plants around theworldthe so-called nuclear renaissancepromoted by the industry and its govern-ment proponents.</p> <p>The nuclear reactors and spent fuelpools at Fukushima and at similar nuclear</p> <p>power stations in the US and in other coun-tries contain thousands of times the amountsof radioactive isotopes released by theHiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. Isotopesthat have been steadily and increasinglyentering the air, soil, and water around theplant include iodine-131, which causes thy-roid cancer; cesium-137, which causes cancerin the liver and kidneys; strontium-90, whichcauses leukemia; and plutonium-239, whichhas a half-life of 24,000 years and causes lungcancer when ingested in microscopicamounts. </p> <p>The International Atomic EnergyAgency and the World Health Organizationhave estimated that there were 6,000 to 9,000</p> <p>INTRODUCTION</p> <p>Rescue workers monitor children for increased radiation exposureafter the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Reuters photo.</p> <p>Medicine &amp; Global Survival June 2011 3</p> <p>new cases of cancerprimarily thyroid can-cers and leukemias among childrenas aresult of the 1986 Chernobyl explosion inRussia, but there is good reason to believethat the true numbers are much, much high-er. While it is now impossible to reconstructan accurate data set of exposures and illness-es related to Chernobyl, independent expertshave concluded that the IAEA/WHO dataitself supports an estimate as high as 25,000additional cancer deaths, and that the realnumber of deaths and illnesses is substantial-ly higherinto the tens or even hundreds ofthousands according to an assessment pub-lished by IPPNW-Germany in April 2011. </p> <p>In addition to the immediate and longterm health dangers from radioactive conta-mination, the environmental destructionresulting from each major nuclear powerplant disaster to date has been enormous.While one of the two reactors at Three MileIsland continues to produce electricity, thearea surrounding the plant, which was thesite of the first commercial reactor meltdownin 1979, will have to be monitored for hun-dreds of years after the facility is finallydecommissioned. There is a permanent 20-mile exclusion zone around the Chernobylreactor. It is still too soon to assess the fullextent of the long term dangers aroundFukushima, but there is no doubt that anextensive area around the doomed reactorswill be uninhabitable and unusable for gen-erations to come.</p> <p>IPPNW has additional concerns aboutnuclear power plants. They are tempting tar-gets for acts of terrorism. Were someone todeliberately fly an aircraft into the nuclearplant at Indian Point, just north of New YorkCity, for example, and rupture the contain-ment vessel around the reactor, the probableresult, planned or spontaneous, would be theevacuation of one of the world's major cities,immeasurable damage to the US economy,</p> <p>and ripple effectsmore like an economictsunamito the global economy.</p> <p>IPPNW rejects the industry's argumentsthat nuclear energy is needed to mitigate theeffects of global warming. Even if the otherrisks described above were acceptable, whichwe believe they are not, the world wouldneed to build hundreds of new nuclearpower plants, at an average cost of $8-10 bil-lion each, in order to bring about sufficientcarbon reductions to protect the climate.Moreover, it would take decades to bring thatnumber of plants online, by which time itwould be too late to prevent a climate cata-strophe. As Amory Lovins, Arjun Makhijani,and other energy experts have pointed out,investments in conservation, efficiency, andrenewable energy sources such as wind andsolar, are dollar-for-dollar more effective inreducing carbon emissions than comparablesubsidies to the nuclear industry. As a sim-ple matter of economics, nuclear energy failsevery test. That is why IPPNW has joinedother NGOs in supporting the InternationalRenewable Energy Agency (IRENA), anintergovernmental body of nearly 150 coun-tries committed to the rapid developmentand deployment of renewable, non-nuclearenergy worldwide. </p> <p>The attempts to provide security withnuclear weapons and to meet global energyneeds with nuclear power share the sameflawed premise: that we can prevent the mostdangerous technologies ever created byhuman hands from ever failing. The lesson ofHiroshima and Nagasaki is that nuclearweapons must be abolished before they abol-ish us. The lesson of Fukushimaand ofChernobyl and Three Mile Island beforethatis that we can no longer afford to rollthe dice on a technology that cannot beallowed to fail, when failures now appear tobe inevitable, with catastrophic conse-quences.</p> <p>The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis, Month 1: A Brief Chronology</p> <p>March 11, 2011A magnitude 9 earthquake strikes the northeast coast of Japan and is followed 30 minuteslater by a tsunami. More than 20,000 people are killed or injured, almost 7,000 more are missing, and hundredsof thousands are forced to evacuate. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is automatically shut down, butwith no electricity to power the cooling systems, water inside the reactors began to boil off, threatening a meltdownof the uranium fuel in three reactor cores that had been running at the time. The Japanese government declares astate of emergency and advises people living near the plant to leave.</p> <p>March 12Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) reports rising pressure inside reactor 1, begins to vent radioactivesteam containing iodine-131 and cesium-137, and starts to evacuate 20,000 people who live within 10 kilometersof the plant. An explosion tears the roof off the building housing reactor 1; workers begin to pump seawater intothe reactor; the government distributes iodine pills to nearby residents.</p> <p>March 13The evacuation zone is expanded to 20 kilometers; radiation levels continue to rise; seawater ispumped into reactors 2 and 3, which are also failing. </p> <p>March 14A second hydrogen explosion ruptures reactor 3, injuring several workers; evidence begins to appearthat the reactor containment may have been breached; cooling fails at reactor 2, exposing the fuel rods to the air.</p> <p>March 15An explosion occurs in the building housing reactor 2 and radiation levels increase four-fold; the reac-tor containment is apparently damaged. A fire in the reactor 4 building, shut down for maintenance at the time ofthe earthquake, threatens the spent fuel ponds on the building's roof. Prime Minister Naoto Kan goes on televisionto warn residents within a 30-kilometer radius of the crippled plant to remain indoors. A fourth hydrogen explosionrocks the reactor 4 building. By day's end, radiation levels near reactor 3 reach 400 milliSieverts per hour; TEPCOevacuates all non-essential workers.</p> <p>March 16Water continues to boil off spent fuel ponds in reactors 3 and 4 but temperatures and pressures beginto drop at reactor 2, indicating some level of success. Radiation spikes, however, prevent workers from approach-ing the reactor, and a plan to dump seawater on the reactor by helicopter has to be postponed. Seawater isdropped on the ex...</p>