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This week, a collection of speakers on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster (which Wikipedia reports injured 39 and may result in anywhere from 0 to 1000 cancer deaths). We hear testimony that the real figures are many orders of magnitude higher, and that the crisis is far from over, with radiation leaks increasing and a pool containing over 400 tons of nuclear fuel suspended 100 foot in the air in a badly damaged building highly vulnerable to any further seismic disturbance.
Thanks to Amy Grunder from Sounds Of Dissent for the interview, and to Maria Gilardin of TUC Radio for the other interviews
A big thanks this week to TUC Radio, who produced most of our material for this episode - selected recordings from a much under-reported event held in New York in March 2013 (the second anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown). Cosponsored by the Helen Caldicott Foundation and by Physicians for Social Responsibility, the symposium brought together a variety of experts to testify on the health risks presented by the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, as a counter to the systematic downplaying of the situation by the commercially-controlled media, who continue their blackout of the ongoing disaster at Fukushima.
After an initial thought from John F. Kennedy, we begin the show with a report from diplomat Akio Matsumura. Echoing the concerns of episode 558 he asks why the advocates of nuclear power have not faced up to the challenge of spent nuclear fuel which must be stored safely for around 100,000 years. He suggests that over 1,000,000 people have died as a result of the Chernobyl, and that Fukushima radiation emissions are at least comparable, and probably greater. More than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area.
Next we hear a presentation from Helen Caldicott on the health dangers of radiation.
We conclude our look at radiation and health with Wladimir Wertelecki. Now retired he is advancing scientific and public understanding of the global impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. He reports on the results of OMNI-Net Ukraine's Congenital Malformations Monitoring Program. Ten years of scientific study of birth defects of children and their possible relation to ionizing radiation found a strong correlation between birth defects and exposure to radiation, and powerful evidence that the existing models of health effects of radiation are naive at best. He was recorded on March 12, 2013 at the New York Academy of Medicine.
We conclude the show with an interview from December 1, 2012 of Ruthann Rudel, senior scientist of environmental toxicology and director of research at the Silent Spring Institute. She reports on the effects of endocrine disruptors in flame retardants. The Chicago Tribune reports that the average American is born with the highest recorded levels of these chemicals worldwide, which are linked to cancer, changes in DNA, hormone disruption, lowered IQ, decreased fertility and hyperactivity. Rudel reports that she detected an imbalance in levels of PBDEs (polybrominated phenyl diethers) in people on the east and west coast of the USA, and tracked this to TB117, a California law mandating stringent testing on furniture flammability. She reports that big tobacco, under pressure to produce 'fire safe cigarettes', partnered with manufacturers of flame retardants to set up "Citizens for Fire Safety", an astroturf group to lobby for tougher fire regulations. After the health impacts of fire retardants have come under closer scrutiny, she reports that the producers of flame retardants have spent millions of dollars to prevent a modification or repeal of TB117.