Tag Archives: Three Mile Island accident

Inhuman Radiation Experiments


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by JOHN LaFORGE

Inhuman Radiation Experiments

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This year marks the 20th anniversary of the declassification of top secret studies, done over a period of 60 years, in which the US conducted 2,000 radiation experiments on as many as 20,000 vulnerable US citizens.[i]

Victims included civilians, prison inmates, federal workers, hospital patients, pregnant women, infants, developmentally disabled children and military personnel — most of them powerless, poor, sick, elderly or terminally ill. Eileen Welsome’s 1999 exposé The Plutonium Files: America’s Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War details “the unspeakable scientific trials that reduced thousands of men, women, and even children to nameless specimens.”[ii]

The program employed industry and academic scientists who used their hapless patients or wards to see the immediate and short-term effects of radioactive contamination — with everything from plutonium to radioactive arsenic.[iii] The human subjects were mostly poisoned without their knowledge or consent.

An April 17, 1947 memo by Col. O.G. Haywood of the Army Corps of Engineers explained why the studies were classified. “It is desired that no document be released which refers to experiments with humans and might have adverse effect on public opinion or result in legal suits.”[iv]

In one Vanderbilt U. study, 829 pregnant women were unknowingly fed radioactive iron. In another, 188 children were given radioactive iron-laced lemonade. From 1963 to 1971, 67 inmates in Oregon and 64 prisoners in Washington had their testicles targeted with X-rays to see what doses made them sterile.[v]

At the Fernald State School, mentally retarded boys were fed radioactive iron and calcium but consent forms sent to parents didn’t mention radiation. Elsewhere psychiatric patients and infants were injected with radioactive iodine.[vi]

In a rare public condemnation, Clinton Administration Energy Sec. Hazel O’Leary confessed being aghast at the conduct of the scientists. She toldNewsweek in 1994: “I said, ‘Who were these people and why did this happen?’ The only thing I could think of was Nazi Germany.”[vii] None of the victims were provided follow-on medical care.

Scientists knew from the beginning of the 20th century that radiation can cause genetic and cell damage, cell death, radiation sickness and even death. A Presidential Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments was established in 1993 to investigate charges of unethical or criminal action by the experimenters. Its findings were published by Oxford U. Press in 1996 as The Human Radiation Experiments.

The abuse of X-radiation “therapy” was also conducted throughout the ’40s and ’50s. Everything from ringworm to tonsillitis was “treated” with X-radiation because the long-term risks were unknown or considered tolerable.

Children were routinely exposed to alarmingly high doses of radiation from devices like “fluoroscopes” to measure foot size in shoe stores.[viii]

Nasal radium capsules inserted in nostrils, used to attack hearing loss, are now thought to be the cause of cancers, thyroid and dental problems, immune dysfunction and more.[ix]

Experiments Spread Cancer Risks Far and Wide

In large scale experiments as late as 1985, the Energy Department deliberately produced reactor meltdowns which spewed radiation across Idaho and beyond.[x] The Air Force conducted at least eight deliberate meltdowns in the Utah desert, dispersing 14 times the radiation released by the partial meltdown of Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979.[xi]

The military even dumped radiation from planes and spread it across wide areas around and downwind of Oak Ridge, Tenn., Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Dugway, Utah. This “systematic radiation warfare program,” conducted between 1944 and 1961, was kept secret for 40 years.[xii]

“Radiation bombs” thrown from USAF planes intentionally spread radiation “unknown distances” endangering the young and old alike. One such experiment doused Utah with 60 times more radiation than escaped the Three Mile Island accident, according to Sen. John Glen, D-Ohio who released a report on the program 20 years ago.[xiii]

The Pentagon’s 235 above-ground nuclear bomb tests, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are not officially listed as radiation experiments. Yet between 250,000 and 500,000 U.S. military personnel were contaminated during their compulsory participation in the bomb tests and the post-war occupation of Japan.[xii]

Documents uncovered by the Advisory Committee show that the military knew there were serious radioactive fallout risks from its Nevada Test Site bomb blasts. The generals decided not to use a safer site in Florida, where fallout would have blown out to sea. “The officials determined it was probably not safe, but went ahead anyway,” said Pat Fitzgerald a scientist on the committee staff.[xv]

Dr. Gioacchino Failla, a Columbia University scientist who worked for the AEC, said at the time, “We should take some risk… we are faced with a war in which atomic weapons will undoubtedly be used, and we have to have some information about these things.”[xvi]

With the National Cancer Institute’s 1997 finding that all 160,000 million US citizens (in the country at the time of the bomb tests) were contaminated with fallout, it’s clear we did face war with atomic weapons — our own.

John LaForge works for the nuclear watchdog group Nukewatch in Wisconsin and edits its Quarterly newsletter.

Notes

[i] “Secret Radioactive Experiments to Bring Compensation by U.S.,” New York Times, Nov. 20, 1996

[ii] Eileen Welsome, The Plutonium Files, Delta Books, 1999, dust jacket

[iii] Welsome, The Plutonium Files, p. 9

[iv] “Radiation tests kept deliberately secret,” Washington Post, Dec. 16, 1994; Geoffrey Sea, “The Radiation Story No One Would Touch,” Project Censored, March/April 1994

[v] Subcommittee on Energy Conservation and Power, “American Nuclear Guinea Pigs: Three Decades of Radiation Experiments on U.S. Citizens,” US Gov’t Printing Office, Nov. 1986, p. 2; St. Paul Pioneer, via New York Times, Jan. 4, 1994

[vi] “48 more human radiation experiments revealed, Minneapolis StarTribune, June 28, 1994; Milwaukee Journal, June 29, 1994

[vii] Newsweek, Dec. 27, 1994

[viii] Joseph Mangano, Mad Science: The Nuclear Power Experiment, OR Books, 2012, p. 36

[ix] “Nasal radium treatments of ’50s linked to cancer,” Milwaukee Journal, Aug. 31, 1994

[x] “Reactor core is melted in experiment,” Washington Post service, Milwaukee Journal, July 10, 1985

[xi] “Tests spewed radiation, paper reports,” AP, Milwaukee Journal, Oct. 11, 1994

[xii] “Secret U.S. experiments in ’40s and ’50s included dropping radiation from sky,” St. Paul Pioneer, Dec. 16, 1993

[xiii] Katherine Rizzo, Associated Press, “A bombshell: U.S. spread radiation,” Duluth News Tribune, Dec. 16, 1993

[xiv] Catherine Caufield, Multiple Exposures, p. 107; Greg Gordon in “Wellstone: Compensate atomic vets,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, Mach 17, 1995; Associated Press, “Panel Told of Exposure to Test Danger,” Tulsa World, Jan. 24, 1995

[xv] Philip Hilts, “Fallout Risk Near Atom Tests Was Known, Documents Show,” New York Times, March 15, 1995, p. A13; and Pat Ortmeyer, “Let Them Drink Milk,” Institute for Environmental & Energy Research, November 1997, pp. 3 & 11

[xvi] Philip J. Hilts, “Fallout Risk Near Atom Tests Was Known, Documents Show,” New York Times, March 15, 1995

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Re-posted from counterpunch.org

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16 Reasons Why India Must Shun Nuclear Energy


Reproduced from DiaNuke.org

Koodankulam kids

16 Reasons Why India Must Shun Nuclear Energy

By Anuj Wankhede

1) Nuclear Energy is the most powerful discovery made by humans – both for peace and war.
 The sheer damage that nuclear power can cause is so huge that it will destroy the entire human race and life on earth.

2) Nuclear Energy is NOT a clean source of energy. From uranium mining, processing, cooling the reactors to the disposal of nuclear waste – all are highly polluting.

3) Radiation is a silent killer. The harm caused by a nuclear reactor even without an accident can be judged by the fact that there is an alarmingly high rate of cancer among those working in them. This information is available in the public domain and relates to studies done at Kalpakkam and Tarapur in India. Ironically, the studies are by the same government of India which claims nuclear Energy is safe!

4) The world has seen how nuclear accidents occur out of both design flaws as well as natural disasters. The Three Mile Island accident in the United States was due to a design flaw in the emergency alarm system and what happened at Fukushima was a culmination of rank bad designing coupled with nature’s fury.

5) The desalination plants will suck in sea water, filter (kill) marine life and convert it into fresh water for cooling the huge reactors. What does not get filtered gets evaporated in steam used to distill the salty sea water. This causes severe marine biodiversity changes as can be seen in the Middle East. These result in the formation of toxic algae laden “Red Tides” and the fish breeding in these areas are poisonous to humans and declared unfit for consumption. The Kudankulam project will certainly alter the biodiversity of the Bay of Bengal in general, and the Gulf of Mannar in particular. Marine experts agree and emphasize this profoundly rich and bio-diverse ecology needs the stewardship of preservation.

6) Japan, a heavily industrialized technologically advanced nation, shut down all its 54 nuclear reactors and is still getting along without the sort of crippling power cuts across India. More pertinently, the Japanese government agrees the any decision to restart the nuclear facilities should be ratified by the local people. In India, the Kudankulam and Jaitapur nuclear power projects are coming up despite stiff and open public agitation. The government refuses transparency and does not share necessary information regarding safety and other concerns. The former reactor is being started almost in a military style secret operation. Bear in mind that the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) has asked the government to make this information available to the public!

7) While a 1000MW power project sounds impressive, nuclear reactors in India average at 40 to 50% utilization levels. Even after this, there are huge energy losses which are simply accounted as “Transmission & Distribution (T&D)” losses. It is nothing but an admission of failure to deliver efficiently whatever power is generated.

8 ) The power sector is facing a huge deficit on account of the losses mentioned above and also because of “under recovery” of dues. This is a euphemism for money written off for providing free power to large industrial units and big farmers – both well connected politically and providing money for election purposes.

9) State governments forever dispute their rightful share of resources with each other. Even before the commissioning of the reactor at Kudankulam, its neighbour Kerala is demanding its share of power. What Tamil Nadu eventually gets out of the 1000 MW will be a minuscule amount after deducting 50% utilization, T&D losses and sharing with other states.

Even assuming an optimistic figure of approximately 300MW of actual usable power for the state, it does not make any logical sense to undertake such a costly and dangerous project. If this project was submitted to a bank for getting a loan, it would probably not even cross over to the bank manager! But here, the government is bankrolling the investment, certifying its environmental safety, its viability and liability – in short, it is just the whim and ego of the stubborn government.

10) Everyone agrees that large industrial accidents can (and do) occur. However, in case of nuclear accidents, the scope of damage done to all kinds of living matter is unlimited. And the most dangerous and sad truth is that all future generations will face fatal consequences. Chernobyl’s children are a tragic testimony of living death. Being handicapped only because your previous generations were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation is probably nature’s way of telling mankind that what you sow, you shall reap.

11) Every nation seeks to be self sufficient, and rightly so. However, in its haste to prove its self-reliance, the government is hiding a very crucial point. We simply don’t have the raw material needed for our atomic power plants. Uranium is scarce and a rare element found naturally. Dr. Homi Bhaba had a vision of making India self sufficient in power by building nuclear power projects. Although a man of vision, he envisaged a nuclear India based on thorium, not uranium. Thorium is abundantly available in India while scarce uranium can only be procured from friendly nations at a huge diplomatic and political cost. Although thorium reserves exist in plenty, the first reactor will come up only in 2016 at the earliest. Even this form of atomic energy has its own problems but in the 1950s and 60s thorium was considered absolutely safe.

12) India refuses to change its mindset with regards to atomic energy and equates it to “national pride” when actually the truth is that even at Kudankulam and Jaitapur, foreigners are doing all the work. Russians at the former and the French at the latter. Where is the national pride in doing a copy+paste job?

13) The ‘super secret’ nuclear technology is a thing of the past. And people have realized that the only thing atomic energy achieves is to boil water, nothing more, nothing less, except at the astronomical cost of constructing, running, maintaining and dismantling them.

In the process, the irreversible damage to man, nature, environment and the future is accepted as a “small price to pay for development.” When one looks at it rationally, it is actually a “huge price paid for questionable development.”

14) The western countries are concerned with Iranian and North Korean plans of building nuclear facilities, apparently of “peaceful” purposes. The developed nations are concerned because they know the real reasons! Uranium enrichment done in the name of peaceful activity is clandestinely diverted to developing nuclear weapons. 
Most experts believe both India and Pakistan are doing this and are running scared of the consequences. A tiny suitcase sized atomic bomb can wipe out a country of any meaningful size – many times over.

This is not paranoia. This is believed to have happened when the erstwhile Soviet Union broke up. The Russians spent a huge amount on recovering some of these lost/stolen “dirty bombs,” but have certainly not accounted for all of them. Does a nation factor in a situation of anarchy or civil war in which its people throw over a rogue dictator? And what if that rogue decided to “sell” or “barter” this destructive knowledge?

15) The threat of terrorists attacking nuclear installations is a clear and present danger. Just last month, an activist flew a small airplane over a French nuclear reactor and dropped a series of flares to send a message that nuclear safety is a myth. Breaches of this type have been done at various installations across the world. Ironically, leaders of the “most powerful nuclear nations” recently conducted a high level summit where they congratulated themselves on their nuclear safety!

16) The use of atomic energy for energy security has dissolved lately with so many industrialized nations either reducing or shelving nuclear energy programs. At least they have admitted that renewable energy is a workable alternative. While earlier there were cost concerns and problems with dependable supply, newer research in solar and wind power have taken care of them. Additionally, the new “smart grids” ensure reliable power on tap.

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