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

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A First-Hand Account of Japan's Nuclear CrisisKatsumi Furitsu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

Young doctors speak out on the Fukushima disaster . . . . . . . . . . .40

Japans Nuclear NightmareRonald McCoy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41

A terribly difficult situation with a lot of uncertainties:PSR Press Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46

What may we learn from Fukushima?Frank Boulton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57

Radiation in medicine and in nuclear power plants:the same but very differentAndreas Nidecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61

Children, Teens and the Japan DisasterHarry Wang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63

June 2011Special Edition

A publication ofInternational Physicians for

the Prevention of Nuclear War

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Medicine & 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&GS waspublished continuously from1990 (as The PSR Quarterly)through 2002.

A complete archive of arti-cles is available atwww.ippnw.org.

Editor: John Loretz

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.

INTERNATIONAL PHYSICIANS FOR THE PREVENTIONOF NUCLEAR WAR

66-70 UNION SQUARE, #204 SOMERVILLE, MA 02143 USA+1.617.440.1733 (TEL)+1.617.440.1734 (FAX)

DIRECTOR@IPPNW.ORG (EMAIL)IPPNW.ORG

PEACEANDHEALTHBLOG.COM

CONTENTS

About this issue

We decided topublish this special

issue of M&GSthefirst since 2002inorder to present inone place the per-spectives on radia-

tion and health, thedangers posed by

nuclear energy,and the links

between nuclearpower and nuclearweapons technolo-

gies that IPPNW,its national affili-ates, and its net-

work of physicianexperts have made

available to thepress and to thepublic since thetragic events in

Japan in March.

This is by nomeans a compre-

hensive collection,and we refer read-

ers to the IPPNWPeace and HealthBlog (peaceand-healthblog.com),

where many moreresources, including

links to audio andvideo reports in

several languages,are compiled.

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis, Month 1: A Brief Chronology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Fukushima Radioisotopes: Some Key Facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Editorials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

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

Commentaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

In the News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

A First-Hand Account of Japan's Nuclear CrisisKatsumi Furitsu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

Young doctors speak out on the Fukushima disaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

Japans Nuclear NightmareRonald McCoy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41

A terribly difficult situation with a lot of uncertainties:PSR Press Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46

What may we learn from Fukushima?Frank Boulton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57

Radiation in medicine and in nuclear power plants: the same but very differentAndreas Nidecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61

Children, Teens and the Japan DisasterHarry Wang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Medicine & Global Survival June 2011 2

On March 11, 2011, a massive earth-quake and tsunami caused extensiveand irreparable damage to the nuclearreactors and spent fuel pools at the

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.

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.

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.

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.

The nuclear reactors and spent fuelpools at Fukushima and at similar nuclear

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.

The International Atomic EnergyAgency and the World Health Organizationhave estimated that there were 6,000 to 9,000

INTRODUCTION

Rescue workers monitor children for increased radiation exposureafter the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Reuters photo.

Medicine & Global Survival June 2011 3

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.

In addition to the immediate and longterm health dangers from ra

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