"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel

Monday, January 9, 2012

Skewing science to justify nuclear power


Nuclear power and nuclear weapons are inextricably linked in many ways. They both produce ionizing radiation that, when released into the environment, exposes people to a wide variety of radioactive isotopes. Some are extremely short-lived, while others exist for countless lifetimes. One thing they all share? When they enter the body they act at the cellular level, causing damage, potentially to the cell's genetic material, and even at low exposure levels present some risk of a wide variety of effects.

Over a period of more than 66 years - through releases of radioisotopes to the environment from both nuclear power generation (routine operations and accidents) and nuclear weapons production and testing - vast quantities of radioisotopes have accumulated around the globe, creating a captive population of human guinea pigs.

However, "science" has not always been practiced as would be expected (of ethical scientists) throughout the nuclear age.  The U.S. government has pursued a policy of nuclear power and nuclear weapons at all costs, and for many decades has sought to pacify the public, convincing it that there are no measurable risks from the production of nuclear power.  Most recently we have been told (by people who obviously know better) that nuclear power is a "green" form of energy - aah, greenwashing at its best (or should I say worst).

For an excellent uncovering of the thin facade that perpetuates the myths of radiation safey, read  Science with a Skew: The Nuclear Power Industry After Chernobyl and Fukushima, by Gayle Greene, just published in The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 10, Issue 1 No 3, January 2, 2012.  Just as with Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Greene pulls back the curtain to reveal the ugly truth behind the great facade of the nuclear power-weapons complex.

Even as the Fukushima disaster is already being largely forgotten by the mainstream news media, Greene reminds us of decades of deceit and obsfucation regarding the risks of radiation related to both nuclear power and nuclear weapons, focusing on a variety of subplots including the Chernobyl disaster, which has been mostly ignored by mainstream media, and has given barely a mention in news reports about Fukushima.  As Greene reminds us:

Chernobyl is a better predictor of the Fukushima consequences than Hiroshima, but we wouldn’t know that from mainstream media. Perhaps we would rather not know that 57% of Chernobyl contamination went outside the former USSR; that people as far away as Oregon were warned not to drink rainwater “for some time”; that thyroid cancer doubled in Connecticut in the six years following the accident; that 369 farms in Great Britain remained contaminated 23 years after the catastrophe; that the German government compensates hunters for wild boar meat too contaminated to be eaten – and it paid four times more in compensation in 2009 than in 2007. Perhaps we’d rather not consider the possibility that “the Chernobyl cancer toll is one of the soundest reasons for the ‘cancer epidemic’ that has been afflicting humankind since the end of the 20th century.”
Skewed science is not science at all.  Rather, in the case of all things nuclear, it is simply a propaganda tool of a government narrowly focused on policies that, rather than serving humanity, serve the narrow interests of the nuclear industry and the national security state.  It is up to the people to speak out and challenge the lies, and material like Gayle Greene's investigative reporting is extremely valuable in our task.  Future generations deserve a sustainable, nuclear-free world.

Toward a nuclear-free world,


Note: source URL for Greene's article: http://japanfocus.org/-Gayle-Greene/3672

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