Helen Caldicott speaks on dangers of nuclear - by Seán Kinane


On Saturday at the Bradenton campus of Manatee Community College, physician and activist Dr. Helen Caldicott spoke to a crowd of 250 people about the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear weapons. WMNFs Seán Kinane reports.

“You know, terrorists don’t need nuclear bombs. They are deployed all over your country, 103 of them. I could melt a nuclear power plant down in a couple of hours. All you do is cut off the external electricity supply upon which it depends for its safety systems. Or stop the million gallons of cooling water going into the reactor every minute from the river or the lake or the sea and the thing will melt down. Or infiltrate the control room. Do you know that since 9/11 the nuclear regulatory commission have not upgraded the security at all your reactors, not upgraded it. And it’s very easy to infiltrate a nuclear power plant and melt it down. I don’t know why it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve got a friend who is a nuclear engineer and he says it’s not if but when there’s another meltdown.�

That was Dr. Helen Caldicott. Her lecture was sponsored by several local peace and justice groups including the Coalition of Concerned Patriots and the Southwest Florida Peace Coalition. After her speech, titled “Ending the Nuclear Age,� she was presented with the Duisberg Peace Award. Caldicott mentioned the increased talk about building new nuclear power plants in the United States, despite the dangers, because they are being incorrectly touted as clean and renewable energy sources.

“So now the nuclear industry is saying well, nuclear power is the answer to global warming, right? Most Americans do think that’s true because they say it’s emission-free. That’s a lie. In Paducah, KY, they use two 1,000 MW coal-fired plants, dirty old things, to enrich the uranium. So the fossil fuel that’s used to mine the uranium, to transport it, to mill it, to enrich it, to build a huge reactor, to transport the waste and store it safely for half a million years, is a large amount. At the moment a nuclear power plant produces one-third the amount of carbon dioxide as a gas fired plant.�

Caldicott pointed out that nuclear is not renewable because there if all electricity were generated by nuclear power, there is only a three-year supply of uranium in the world. She also pointed out that there is 60,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste in cooling ponds at nuclear power plants. Fore these reasons, Caldicott insists that alternative energy sources, like solar and wind, must be developed.

“And it’s obscene, absolutely obscene, that you don’t have solar power in Florida. It’s called the sunshine state for god’s sake. Israel pretty well functions on solar power. Surely you are as smart as they are. There should be a solar collecting panel on every single roof in every single house in Florida. Then you could be selling electricity back to the grid and making money.�

Caldicott described that, with the illegal use of chemical weapons and radioactive depleted uranium munitions, the U.S. is already engaged in a nuclear war against the people of Iraq.

“They’re using phosphorous, they’re using napalm there. They’re using weapons made of uranium which when they hit another tank burst into flame producing tiny particles to be inhaled into the bronchi. In Basra where they used a lot in the first invasion, my colleagues, the pediatricians have seen a seven-fold increase in childhood cancer. And they couldn’t treat the patients because they had no drugs because of the sanctions. And they weep as their patients die. And the half-life of the uranium-238 that they’re using is 4.5 billion years. That’s why I’ve said it’s a nuclear war. And this uranium concentrates in the food, and it gets in the water supply and it’s blown up in the sandstorms that blow up over time in Iraq.�

But deaths due to cancer are not the only reason why Americans need to demand an end to the occupation of Iraq. As Caldicott points out, hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died and resources spent on the war could be better used by helping Americans get adequate health care.

“Last year in The Lancet, which is a very prestigious medical journal, they estimated that 100,000 civilians had been killed in Iraq. Now a year later they’re saying it’s 300,000. It’s just slaughter, it’s slaughter by these weapons that you’ve paid for with your tax dollars. This is a military-industrial economy. You don’t even have a free healthcare system! You’ve got to have a free healthcare system and your dollars need to go to you and not to kill other people.“

Since the Bush administration has not ruled out an attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities, including the possible first-strike use of nuclear weapons, Caldicott described what the consequences could be if that happens.

“And now they’re on to their next phase. Telling lies again. So what is America planning? According to George Bush and according to the Project for the New American Century, to drop nuclear bunker busters on their uranium facilities. Now, a nuclear bunker buster is about 8 times larger than the Hiroshima bomb that killed 120,000 people. It burrows underground and turns all that soil into radioactive fallout. Which rises into the air and blows over many countries including Pakistan. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists it might kill three million people.�

But because there are still thousands of nuclear missiles on hair-trigger alert, a full-scale nuclear war could happen at any time, as Dr. Caldicott explained

Well, it’s a bang or a whimper. The truth is if we have a nuclear war, we will turn into a lump of rock like Mars and it could occur tonight. What if they wake George Bush up at 3 in the morning from REM-4 sleep and tell him he’s got three minutes to decide. I mean it’s a scary scenario, and that’s realistic. Or it’s a whimper. So what we’ve got to do is stop making nuclear waste like now. And we’ve got to have a carbon-free future. And we could start right now by making Florida a totally solar state.�

To find out more about the work of Dr. Helen Caldicott, visit the website nuclearpolicy –dot- org.

For WMNF News, reporting from Bradenton, I’m Seán Kinane

Quotes not used due to time constrants:

[ACT – Rumsfeld – 26 sec]
“And at the other end is a very small minority of sociopaths whose reptilian midbrain does have a toxic reaction to testosterone, and one of those is Rumsfeld. He is clinically a sociopath because he lies consistently, but he’s kind of charming - aww-shucks, gee-golly. And the press were intriegued by him at first but are starting to see through him because the generals are starting to come out against him.�

[ACT – IraqChildren – 21 sec]
“Are the civilians in Iraq less valuable than the children sitting here just because they happen to have born in Iraq and not in America? Can you imagine if a country came over to you and shot down missiles into your houses and wedding parties because they wanted your oil?�

Don’t eat Hersey candy

“It’s inappropriate not to be passionate and indignant, and maybe angry in this day and age. And it’s the anger, if focused appropriately, will lead to the revolution that will save this planet.�

[ACT – 3 years uranium - 23 sec]
“If all electricity today was generated by nuclear power, there’s only three years supply of uranium left in the whole world. It’s a very finite resource. But what’s made is nuclear waste. There’s 60,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste sitting in what they call ‘swimming pools’ beside the reactors.�

Nuclear Power Research Institute

Dr. Helen Caldicott

Windhunter – maritime hydrogen generation machine

Eight Minutes to Midnight, A Portrait of Dr. Helen Caldicott

Union of Concerned Scientists

UCS info about bunker busters – would kill 3 million people, radiation would spread to India and expose 35 million to cancer.

Coalition of Concerned Patriots

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Project for the New American Century

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

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