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Program Information
TUC Radio
The Life and Work of Dr. John Gofman
Weekly Program
Dr. John Gofman
 Maria Gilardin  Contact Contributor
May 22, 2012, 9:11 p.m.
How many nuclear power plant accidents does it take to come to that conclusion. Even after Fukushima there is very little movement in that direction. Why is that? Are we mistaken or uninformed about the dangers of nuclear radiation? Do we believe again - and over again this time - that there are safe doses of radiation? That radiation from power plants will not stay dangerous - depending on the element - from days to hundreds, thousands and even hundreds of thousands of years? That in these long time periods radioactive particles will not eventually move from the source of the accident to every corner of the earth?
The story of an extraordinary man illustrates both the science and the politics of nuclear power. Dr. John Gofman, from 1970 on, called for the closure of nuclear power plants. The obituaries for him in 2007 quoted him as saying:
“ Licensing a nuclear power plant is, in my view, licensing random premeditated murder. First of all, when you license a plant, you know what you are doing --- so it’s premeditated. Second, the evidence on radiation-producing cancer is beyond doubt. I’ve worked fifteen years on it, and so have many others. It is not a question anymore: Radiation produces cancer, and the evidence is good all the way down to the lowest doses. The only way you could license nuclear power plants and not have murder is if you could guarantee perfect containment. But they admit that they are not going to contain it perfectly."
Thanks to Leslie Freeman and her book: Nuclear Witnesses: Insiders Speak Out, to David Ratcliffe and his very well researched and informative web site Thanks to Egan OConnor, co-author and editor to some of John Gofmans writings and now keeper of his archives. And to Aileen Alfandary at KPFA Radio and the Pacifica Archives.
John Gofman studied under Glenn Seaborg at UC Berkeley and, in 1943, earned a Ph.D. in nuclear physical chemistry for his work on, and co-discovery of, Uranium 232 and 233. He finished Med. School in 1946 and became Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. He made a number of major discoveries working with cholesterol, lipoproteins, coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, and cancer. Gofman was so widely acclaimed as scientist in both fields, nuclear chemistry and medicine, that he was asked to be part of two major projects at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. His task was to evaluate the health effects of radiation and radionuclide release from weapons testing, nuclear war, radioactivity in medicine, nuclear power, etc.--all of the atomic energy programs. And he was given a three million dollar budget to start. His multiyear work in this field convinced him that nuclear power plants need to closed. His research was suppressed and he was forced to resign in 1973.
John Gofman is the 1992 recipient of the Right Livelihood Award for his anti-nuclear work. He is often called the "father" of the antinuclear movement.

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00:29:29 1 May 22, 2012
Berkeley, CA and Mendocino County
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00:29:29 1 May 22, 2012
Berkeley, CA and Mendocino County
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