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Michelle Laureen Crowley
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Has the Fukushima disaster really hurt no one? A response to Kelvin Kemm

30 December 2015, 11:07

Trudi Malan from Thyspunt Alliance did a sterling job of challenging Dr Kelvin Kemm’s opinion piece regarding the proposed nuclear site being on the verge of getting the green light  (News24,  December 28, 2015). I would like to challenge Dr Kelvin Kemm’s view that “Nuclear radiation hurt nobody” (News24, December 21, 2015). The point is, Dr Kemm, that the Fukushima disaster is far from over. As Dr Keith Baverstock, former regional adviser for Radiation and Public Health, World Health Organization (WHO), a speaker at the Citizen-Scientist International Symposium on Radiation Protection, made clear on October 23, 2015, Fukushima is “still an ongoing accident” that “nobody knows how to stop.”

First, Unit No 2’s nuclear reactor fuel is missing from the core containment vessel (NHK World News, September 25, 2015.)  Moreover, the ground beneath the plant’s Unit 4 is sinking; the entire structure is on the verge of collapse. Unit 4 currently holds more than 1 500 spent nuclear fuel rods, and a collective 37 million curies of deadly radiation that, if released, could make much of the world completely uninhabitable (Natural News, October 16, 2012).  

The situation only continues to worsen. Sputnik International reported on December 10, 2015  that a sharp increase in radiation levels was detected in one of the underground tunnels, and according to a press release issued by TEPCO itself, the water samples retrieved from the tunnels on December 3 contained 482 000 becquerels per liter of radioactive cesium, which is about 4 000-4 100 times higher as compared to the samples taken a year ago. 

It might be true that no one has died - yet - but consider the following: On October 23, 2015, the Japanese government confirmed that a worker at the Fukushima nuclear plant has contracted radiation-related cancer: Acute myelogenous leukaemia. In addition, mutations in nearly every fir tree surrounding the plant have been noted and abnormalities have been found in insects in monkeys, fish and frogs (ENENews, December 23, 2015). In a peer-reviewed study, Tsuda and his colleagues  (doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000385) reported that children living near the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdowns are 50 times more likely to be diagnosed with thyroid abnormalities as compared to children living elsewhere in Japan, and “the magnitude of the incidence rate ratios was too large to be explained only by a screening bias." Finally, a long-term study based on a sample of 300 000 nuclear-industry workers, published in July 2015 by an international consortium under the umbrella of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, concluded there is “no threshold dose below which radiation is harmless.”

I do not know which world you are living in Dr Kemm, but in the world in which I live, the energy you so eagerly support and purport to be harmless is the same energy source that has been shown to be poisoning the Pacific Ocean, and in time, will poison the whole world.  To say, “Well, the total amount of people killed by nuclear radiation was zero. The total harmed by radiation was zero. The total private property harmed by radiation was zero. Nuclear radiation hurt nobody” flies in the face of what few facts that have been published about the disaster, which as indicated by the experts, is far from over. 

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.


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