The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Effects on the brain from nuclear radiation – reports from Hanford

radiation-warningNBC stations reveal nuclear workers suffering severe brain damage, dementia — Toxic waste raining down from sky, wore baseball caps for protection — Brains being eaten away, teeth falling out — Workers raising safety issues framed using false evidence, fired — Gov’t not allowed in to investigate (VIDEO) NBC Right Now,Apr. 30, 2014: Former Hanford Worker Sick from Nuclear Waste

  • Jane Sander, reporter: A nuclear waste spill happened hours before at the tank farm.
  • Lonnie Poteet, Hanford worker: I was already burning from my glove line to my t-shirt line and… starting to lose a little bit of vision in my right eye… Why didn’t they say something?
  • Sander: Poteet describes living his life now as recluse… sharp pains in his head, they cause him to often twitch. He says medication prevents him from collapsing in pain due to severe nerve damage in his brain.
  • Poteet: [More Hanford workers] are going to be exposed to the same situation… Nobody is going to do anything to stop it… As long as there’s profit… and they get their bonuses on a decent time, that’s all they care about… Most of the workers onsite right now are running scared. They will not bring up any safety concerns because as soon as you do, you’re going to be labeled and thrown off the site, just as fast as they can go. They’ll either create stuff that never happened, or they’ll find ways to get you.

NBC Right Now, June 5, 2014: Sick Former Hanford Worker Speaks Out

  • Jane Sander, reporter: He sadly lives his life with a deadly disease…
  • Lawrence Rouse, Hanford worker:  I have toxic encephalopathy… it eats your brain away.
  • Sander: Near the end of his almost 20 years at Hanford… he began to develop severe symptoms. Stuttering, memory loss, losing teeth…emotionally unstable…violent outbursts.
  • Rouse: [My son] wrote this letter, this little poem, and said that his dad is gone… It would rain the chemicals on you from the stack. That’s why we wore the baseball caps.
  • Sander: The Washington Dept. of Labor and DOE denied [compensation]… Since the [EEOICPA] program began in 2001, they’ve paid more than $1 billion in compensation and medical bills to [6,936 Hanford] workers…
  • Rouse: DOE has always denied everything. And that’s not going to change.
  • Sander: More Hanford workers continue to file claims for their illnesses.
  • Watch the broadcast here

KING 5 Seattle (NBC), June 4, 2014: It’s an unprecedented series of workplace accidents in the state. Since mid-March the number Hanford workers seeking medical help after breathing in chemical vapors has risen to 34.

  • Susannah Frame, reporter: Vapors causing serious illnesses at Hanford is not new… at the most contaminated workplace in the nation, OSHA can’t get past the gates to investigate.
  • Diana Gegg, Hanford worker: It’s turned my life upside down.
  • Frame: Brain damage, sudden tremors, vision loss, dementia – Illnesses the gov’t admits were caused by exposure… she can’t go out without a wheelchair, cook, or drive.

Watch the broadcast here


June 7, 2014 Posted by | health, psychology - mental health, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

The psychopathology of the nuclear arms race

atomic-bomb-lNuclear Crisis: Can the Sane prevail in Time? By  (about the author) OpEdNews 6/3/2014 “………Through much of recorded history it has been accepted as normal that, periodically, large groups of men should meet and hack each other to pieces. This was the method of choice for resolving disputes. In the last few hundred years, with the aid of science, our capacity for killing other members of our species has been accelerating way beyond reason. It has now reached an apogee. We are at the end of the process. We can now, in a few hours, incinerate every human being in existence. What an accomplishment! What an epitaph! We have two thousand nuclear weapons held on hair-trigger alert, already mounted on board their missiles and ready to be launched at a moment’s notice. This could happen at any time; perhaps when one of the nine nuclear states elects the ultimate psychopathic and/or narcissistic individual as their leader — one who believes that a first strike will enable him to win a nuclear war and rule gloriously thereafter.

Ian Hughes is a physicist and psychologist. He has just written a book entitled ‘Imperfect Design: How Our Psychology Threatens Our World’2. In the book he describes how psychologists and psychiatrists have recently identified three psychological disorders from which a small proportion of humans suffer. This psychologically diseased minority has tended to dominate the normal majority. The disorders can make the bearers a danger to the rest of us. And when such individuals get into power, with the destructive forces already referred to at their disposal, this danger could not be more acute and urgent. The disorders are Psychopathy, Paranoid Personality Disorder, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Psychopaths lack the ability to empathize with others. They relate to people in a similar way to relating to things. Many psychopaths have demonstrated their ability to kill without conscience.

Narcissists suffer from the belief that only they are important and thus are unable to appreciate the concept of equality. They have a sense of entitlement. They are entitled to more wealth, more power, more of everything than everyone else.

Paranoid Personality Disorder sufferers live in fear. They are hyper-sensitive and see everything and everyone as a threat……..Tragically, in our corporate culture the psychopaths have a home in organizations that embrace their own values……..And the government itself in many instances exhibits psychologically dysfunctional behaviour.

The most dire example of all this keeps us all in a state of conscious or unconscious dread. The existence and deployment of nuclear weapons keep the survival of the human race on a knife edge. This is not rational behavior. ………most of us do not wish to prepare for the incineration of millions of fellow human beings to make us feel ‘secure’. This sounds as extreme as paranoia can get……….

At the same time as suffering from extreme paranoia the US leaders have an attitude of ‘exceptionalism’. They have a ‘manifest destiny’. They invade and attack other parts of the world at will (provided these are parts of the world that are unable to effectively fight back). The believe that they can do this ‘by right’. Narcissism. The narcissism of the leaders of the nuclear states takes many forms. Switzerland has no nuclear weapons but its government has built nuclear shelters for all its citizens. The US government decided not to build nuclear shelters for its citizens and then went on to spend more on building them exclusively for the government than it spent on all variety of needs and services for the rest of us.6………..

Leaders of Nuclear States Show Contempt for Us All

The nuclear states who are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (UK, US, Russia, China, and France) undertake to get rid of their nuclear weapons. The treaty came into force in 1970. Every five years there is a Review Conference to see how this is going. Before the Review Conference there are a number of Pre-Review Conferences (referred to as PrepComs) to decide what will be discussed at the Review Conference. The third (!) Pre-Review Conference for the 2015 Review Conference has just concluded — without adopting any agreed recommendations! All the nuclear states are renewing their nuclear arsenals. The British government has declared that it is building an arsenal for the next fifty years. The nuclear-armed states illustrated their commitment to making progress with disarmament by pleading that they had made a glossary of nuclear definitions! This ludicrous pantomime is treating the public with contempt. It is clear that the nuclear states have no intention of honouring the Non-Proliferation Treaty…….

June 4, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Discrimination and the mental effects of being afflicted by ionising radiation

highly-recommendedWhen life becomes a shadow – after nuclear catastrophe, Ecologist Robert Jacobs 8th April 2014  “……Discrimination

HibakushaPeople who may have been exposed to radiation usually experience discrimination in their new homes and often become social pariahs. We first saw this dynamic with the hibakushain Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

They found it very difficult to find marriage partners since prospective spouses feared they would have malformed children, found it difficult to find jobs since employers assumed that they would be sick more often, and often become the targets of bullying. It became very common to hide the fact that one’s family had been among those exposed to radiation.

Many people are familiar with the story of Sadako Sasaki who died at the age of twelve after being exposed to radiation from the nuclear attack on Hiroshima ten years earlier.

Sadako folded paper cranes in accordance with a Japanese tradition that someone who folds 1,000 paper cranes is granted a wish. Sadako’s story has become well known and children around the world fold paper cranes when they learn her story, many of which are sent here to Hiroshima.

While Sadako has become a symbol of the innocence of so many hibakusha who were victims of the nuclear attack, her father tried to hide this fact so that his family would not suffer discrimination and was upset that his daughter had become so famously afflicted.

Fukushima victims bullied

Children whose families evacuated from Fukushima prefecture after the triple meltdowns at Fukushima found themselves the victims of bullying at their new schools. Cars with Fukushima license plates were scratched when parked in other prefectures.

Often this is the result of the natural fear of contamination that is associated with people exposed to a poison. In the Marshall Islands those who were evacuated from Rongelap and other atolls that became unlivable after being blanketed with radioactive fallout from the Bravo test in 1954 have had to live as refugees on other peoples atolls for several generations now.

The Marshall Islands have a very small amount of livable land and so being moved to atolls that traditionally belonged to others left them with no access to good soil and good locations for fishing and storing boats. They have had to live by the good graces of their new hosts, and endure being seen as interlopers.Becoming medical subjects – or ‘objects’?

Many people who have been exposed to radiation then become the subjects of medical studies, often with no information about the medical tests to which they are subjected.

For example Hibakusha of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki became medical subjects of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission during the American occupation of Japan after World War Two.

This study has continued to this day under the now jointly US-Japan operated Radiation Effects Research Foundation. In the early days of the study Japanese hibakusha had no choice about being subjected to the medical exams.

An American military jeep would appear in front of their homes and they had to go in for an examination, whether it was a good time or not. They were not given information about the results of their tests. This has happened in many radiation-affected communities.

In 1966 a US nuclear bomber blew up in midair and its debris fell on the small village of Palomares, Spain. Four H-bombs fell from the plane, one into the sea, and three onto the small village. None exploded but two broke open and contaminated part of the town with plutonium and other radionuclides.

To this day some of the residents of Palomares are taken to Madrid each year for a medical examination as the effects of exposure on their health is tracked.

They have never been given any of the results of the tests nor informed if any illnesses they develop were related to their exposures. They are subjects, not participants in the gathering and assessing of the effects of radiation on their bodies.

There is no doubt that such studies contribute data to our understanding of the health consequences of radiation exposures (the data itself is contentious for reasons that I won’t go into here), however for those from whom the information is gathered, being studied but not informed reduces ones sense of integrity and agency in one’s own health maintenance.

Many Pacific islanders exposed to radiation by the nuclear tests of the US, the UK and France had such experiences where they were examined and then sent off with no access to the results. Many report feeling as if the data had been harvested from them.

Anxieties belittled

Often the first thing that those exposed to radiation are told is that they have nothing to worry about. Their anxieties are belittled.

Radiation is a very abstract and difficult thing to understand. It is imperceptible – tasteless, odorless, invisible – adding to uncertainty that people feel about whether they were exposed, how much they were exposed to, and whether they and their loved one’s will suffer any health effects.

The dismissal of their anxieties by medical and governmental authorities only compounds their anxiety. When other members of their community develop health problems, such as thyroid cancer and other illnesses years later it can cast a pall over their own sense of wellbeing for the rest of their lives.

Every time that they run a fever, every time that they experience pain in their stomachs, nosebleeds, and other common ailments this anxiety rears up and they think – this is it, it’s finally got me. These fears extend to their parents, their children and other loved ones. Every fever that their child runs triggers horrible fears that their child will die.

Sadako was healthy for nine years following her exposure to radiation when she was two years old in Hiroshima. Then suddenly her neck began to swell and she was soon diagnosed with leukemia. This is the nightmare world that the parents of children exposed to radiation experience on a daily basis. Every ailment can rip them apart.

Radiophobia and ‘blaming the victim’ Radiophobia and ‘blaming the victim’

Iit is often the case that who is and isn’t exposed to radiation, especially to internalized alpha emitting particles, is unknown. So large numbers of people near a nuclear detonation, a nuclear production plant, a nuclear power plant accident, a uranium mining location and countless other sources of exposure to radiation worry about their health and the health of their loved ones.

Among this group, some have been exposed and some have not. The uncertainty is part of the trauma. Often, as is currently the case for the people of Northern Japan, all of these people are dismissed as having undue fear of radiation, and are often told that their health problems are the result of their own anxieties. In some cases that may well be true but it is beside the point.

For those who have experienced some radiological catastrophe – who may have been removed from their homes and communities and lost those bonds and support systems, who are uncertain as to whether each flu or stomach ache is the harbinger of the end, and who cannot be certain that contamination from hard to find alpha emitting particles is still possible when their children play in the park – anxiety is the natural response.

Even if it does cause health problems, it is not their fault: forces outside of their control have upended their lives and they now must live a life of uncertainty and often experience discrimination.

Of course they are going to suffer from the anxiety that this situation produces. To blame them for this is to blame the victims in the situation and is a further form of traumatization.

Their lives will be divided in two parts – before, and after

Radiation makes people invisible. It makes them second class citizens who no longer have the expectation of being treated with dignity by their government, by those overseeing nuclear facilities near to them, by the military and nuclear industry engaged in practices that expose people to radiation, and often by their new neighbors when they become refugees.

People exposed to radiation often lose their homes, either through forced removal or through contamination that makes living in them dangerous.

They lose their livelihoods, their diets, their communities, and their traditions. They can lose the knowledge base that connects them to their land and insures their wellbeing.

Radiation can cause health problems and death, and even when it doesn’t it can cause devastating anxiety and uncertainty that can become crippling. Often those exposed to radiation are blamed for all of the problems that follow their exposures.

After a nuclear disaster we count the victims in terms of those who died – but they are only a small fraction of the people who are truly victimized by the event. Countless more suffer the destruction of their communities, their families, and their wellbeing. The devastation that a nuclear disaster truly wreaks is unknowable.

The lives of those exposed to radiation, or those in areas affected by radiation but uncertain about their exposures, will never be the same. As Natalia Manzurova, one of the ‘liquidators’ at Chernobyl said in an interview published two months after the Fukushima triple meltdowns:

“Their lives will be divided into two parts: before and after Fukushima. They’ll worry about their health and their children’s health. The government will probably say there was not that much radiation and that it didn’t harm them. And the government will probably not compensate them for all that they’ve lost. What they lost can’t be calculated.”

April 9, 2014 Posted by | psychology - mental health, radiation, Reference, social effects | 1 Comment

How spin about wind farms can make you sick

fearThe results showed that the experience of symptoms and mood during exposure to audible windfarm sound and infrasound was influenced by the type of expectations provided before exposure periods.

The onus falls on the media to report on health fears about wind farms cautiously, particularly given strong evidence that it is the discussion itself that may be creating and perpetuating health complaints.

wind-farm-evil-1Wind turbines don’t make you feel sick or healthy, but spin can  Fiona Crichton  PhD candidate in psychological medicine at University of Auckland 29 Nov 13

Despite at least 19 reviews of the scientific evidence universally concluding that exposure to wind farm sound doesn’t trigger adverse health effects, people continue to report feeling unwell because they live near wind turbines.

We’ve known for some time that exposure to negative messages about wind farms makes people more likely to report feeling sick after exposure to turbines. And new research, published by my colleagues and I this week in the journal Health Psychology, shows positive messages about wind farms may have the opposite effect – improve perceptions of health.


Speculation in the media and on the internet often attributes the symptoms to sub-audible sound produced by operating wind farms (infrasound). But the reality is that infrasound (sound below 16 hertz) is consistently present in the environment and is caused by wind, ocean waves and traffic. Importantly, research demonstrates there is nothing unusual about the levels of infrasound produced by wind farms. Continue reading

November 29, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, renewable | Leave a comment

Junichiro Koizumi, politician in harmony with Japan’s anti nuclear mood

“There is nothing more costly than nuclear power,” Koizumi said, marking a stunning reversal for an LDP stalwart…….

Koizumi siding with the anti-nuclear movement is important for two reasons. One, he’s an extraordinarily perceptive politician with a unique ability to read the public mood and sell sweeping change to the masses. Two, he’s calling for a kind of Manhattan Project in reverse

A Quake Revives Japan’s Nuclear Nightmare Bloomberg, By William Pesek Oct 28, 2013 As Tokyo shook early Saturday morning and loud shrieks from mobile-phone earthquake-warning alarms filled bedrooms around the city, one word immediately sprung to mind:Fukushima.

Those who don’t reside 135 miles away from the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl won’t understand this reaction. But the first thing most of Tokyo’s 13 million residents do once things stop wobbling is check if all’s well at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant still leaking radiation into the atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean…… Continue reading

October 29, 2013 Posted by | Japan, psychology - mental health, social effects | Leave a comment

Japanese people ‘in denial’ about Fukushima radiation – suffering ‘nuclear fatigue’?

Abe,-Shinzo-nukeflag-japanNuke Fatigue & the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, EE Times, Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent 9/5/2013………..What’s unacceptable to me, though, when I come back here, is to witness firsthand how Japan is handling the persistent radioactive leakage problem at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. The people, the government, and the entire nation seem to be living in total denial.

Hitomi Nakayama, a lawyer and a long-time friend of mine since college days, calls it “nuclear fatigue.” She laments the fundamentally stoic nature of people in the stricken region of Tohoku. Some who lived in villages in Fukushima, heavily nuked as a result of the meltdown at the power plant, still harbor dreams of returning to their homes. Many have never even considered suing the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). Instead, with a shrug, they say they’re thankful for Tepco’s contribution to economic growth in the region, Nakayama explained.

People and the media in Japan would rather talk about something else, like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as they look past the still unfolding nuclear crisis in Fukushima.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling troubled by the supine media here — who are insanely obsessed with the pending vote by the chronically corrupt International Olympic Committee. Japanese newspapers and TV are clearly dancing to the tune of those who badly want Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

In contrast, there is little public debate about the worst atomic horror in Japan since Nagasaki……

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, psychology - mental health, social effects | 1 Comment

Nuclear nationalism – the dangerous hubris

The dangers of nuclear hubris, Praful Bidwai Thursday, Jul 25, 2013,   Agency: DNA Nuclear weapons and aggression always go together. So do nuclear weapons, hubris and machismo. Aggressiveness — and readiness to wreak mass destruction or inflict great cruelties upon an adversary’s civilians — lies at the heart of the nuclear weapons rationale, the acceptance and normalisation of their mind-numbing violence, and the development and deployment of such armaments, whether they are used or not.

Nuclear deterrence seeks security through terror, by threatening the enemy with “unacceptable” damage. As the Dr Strangelove film shows, nuclear scientists and experts quintessentially, yet naturally, imbibe deeply cynical, male-supremacist and pathologically aggression-prone attitudes. Many of them personally, literally, exude violence.

This mindset is often expressed in boastful and extravagant claims of nuclear prowess and “achievements”— having bigger and more warheads, more and longer-range missiles, and above all, having them first. This has nowhere been in greater evidence than in South Asia. Continue reading

July 26, 2013 Posted by | India, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment

Compensation for Fukushima evacuees’ radiation anxiety

justiceFukushima Evacuees To Get Radiation Uncertainty Compensation 6/3/2013   A government-backed arbitration body in Japan directed the operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant to pay compensation to former residents of a district for radiation exposure and future healthuncertainties.

As per a directive issued by the Nuclear Damage Claim Dispute Resolution Center, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has to pay about $10,000 each to pregnant women and those aged below 18 years. The other residents of Nagadoro district would get $5,000 each, Japanese media reported on Sunday.

Nagadoro is near the Fukushima plant where radiation levels remain high and it is the only district that the government declared uninhabitable for a long period.

An evacuation order for the area was issued more than a month after the nuclear accident on March 11, 2011. The arbitrators accepted the residents’ claim of fear and anxiety as they had lived without any protection against high radiation doses because of their delayed evacuation. The residents had already received compensation for having to evacuate, but the amount did not cover health anxieties. Lawyers representing the residents said it was for the first time that compensation for health anxietywas granted.

The massive tsunami severely damaged four reactors at the Fukushima plant north of Tokyo, knocking out its cooling systems and triggering meltdowns and radiation leaks. Tens of thousands of people fled their homes in the worst atomic disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, Legal, psychology - mental health, social effects | Leave a comment

Discrimination as well as radiation, for Fukushima’s children

Fukushima activist fights fear and discrimination based on radiation, Japan Times,  BY MIZUHO AOKI MAY 9, 2013 Sachiko Banba aches for children in Fukushima Prefecture, who worry whether they can lead a normal life.

“Three frequently asked questions from children are whether they are OK to live in Fukushima after they get married, whether they can give birth to a baby, and whether their baby will be healthy,” said Banba, 52, who runs a cram school in Minamisoma, Fukushima, less than 30 km from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Although tens of thousands of people fled their homes in Fukushima Prefecture following the March 2011 reactor meltdowns, many, including children, still remain. Most heartbreaking to Banba is the discrimination they face based on ignorance, and the likelihood it will follow them the rest of their lives.

Children catch snatches of the adult debates over the health risks of radiation exposure, and sense something bad might happen.“It’s due to people’s ignorance. There are still people who think radiation is something contagious,” Banba said. “By gaining correct knowledge, I hope children in Fukushima will be able to talk about radiation (exposure) when they are asked about it.”

Since last year, Banba and Dr. Masaharu Tsubokura have hosted more than 40 radiation study sessions for 1,500 children and adults, supplying people with the necessary information to counter the arguments of those who would discriminate against them.

Many locals have tales to tell, such as the Fukushima woman whose engagement was broken off due to the strong opposition of her fiance’s family.

Banba herself has felt the sting of intolerance many times outside the prefecture…..

citizens and medical experts like Tsubokura, who has been checking Minamisoma residents’ internal radiation exposure levels at Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital for nearly two years, are also holding study sessions in Fukushima and other prefectures to pass on basic knowledge as well as the latest findings.

Tsubokura said people outside Fukushima know little about radioactive materials. About half his audience at a lecture in Nagoya didn’t know that radioactive substances from Fukushima No. 1 fell to Earth in rain.

“Many thought a beam was emitted directly from the power plant,” Tsubokura said.

Similar discrimination was seen after the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many people believed survivors were contagious and that marrying hibakusha or their descendants would produce babies with birth defects.

According to a 2008 survey of about 27,000 A-bomb survivors conducted by the city of Hiroshima, the main source of their emotional suffering after their exposure to radioactive “black rain” was discrimination, prejudice and anxiety over long-term health effects.

Even more than 60 years later, they are still haunted by discrimination, said Terumi Tanaka, secretary general of Nihon Hidankyo, an atomic bomb victims’ organization. Speaking at the Japan National Press Club in August 2011, he said the issue of radiation exposure is raised even today when their grandchildren try to marry……

May 9, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, psychology - mental health, radiation, social effects | Leave a comment

North Korea’s longstanding fear of a USA nuclear attack

as more nations like North Korea obtain nuclear weapons, and as the US struggles to keep a credible nuclear umbrella over its allies from Asia to Europe to the Middle East, the world needs to find a replacement for the current system of maintaining stability based on the mutual fear of nuclear war.

North Korea’s threats show just how urgent that need is.



This fear by three successive leaders from the Kim family in Pyongyang helped pushed them to develop atomic bombs. Now the regime’s threat to attack the United States defies the very logic of the nuclear age – namely, that states with nuclear weapons would always act rationally because of the risk of massive retaliation, or “assured destruction.”

read-this-way As historian Ward Wilson points out in a new book, “Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons,” atomic bombs “were born out of fear, nurtured in and sustained by fear.” Their power to devastate requires a mutual fear to avoid their use.


The current escalation of threats between the US and North Korea illustrates how this reliance on fear can falter. Nations that rely on maximizing fear as a primary tool for defence will find the emotion very difficult to manage in all cases.

The North’s threats, for example, have now led South Korea to consider ending its ban on developing its own nuclear weapons. It is asking for US support to start a nuclear program.

Many in Seoul, South Korea, see the American people as too weary for war and the Obama administration as too eager to reduce the US nuclear arsenal unilaterally. They fear that the American “nuclear umbrella,” which has protected South Korea for 60 years, may no longer be credible enough to deter North Korea from either launching nuclear weapons or using them as blackmail.

MONITOR’S VIEW: Cyberattack on South Korea needs constructive responseFor two decades, the US has tried to talk down North Korea from possessing nuclear weapons by offering hope in place of fear. It tried to convince Pyongyang that the US was not a threat while offering its food aid and oil supplies in return for nuclear disarmament. It hasn’t worked, despite some limited help from China.

Similar persuasion is now being tried on Iran: Give up your nuclear ambitions and instead become a regional power through the strength of your economy, ideas, and culture. In other words, replace the fear that looks to nuclear power for comfort and instead build up your nation’s “soft power.”

President Obama, who came into office with the goal of eliminating the world’s nuclear weapons, has had a difficult time making his case. Instead, he has to now send B-2 bombers near North Korea to assure South Korea of the US nuclear umbrella and as a threat to North Korea. The tit-for-tat of fear only keeps rising.

MONITOR’S VIEW: In Obama trip to Israel, signs of US redirectionHis recent trip to Israel was designed in part to persuade Iran to cease its uranium enrichment. His visit was an attempt to reinforce faith in the US nuclear umbrella for the region, especially Israel. But as with North Korea, the logic of deterrence assumes that the leaders in Iran will be both fearful and rational.

In the past few decades, a dozen countries have given up their nuclear programs or handed over nuclear weapons on their soil. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, for example,Kazakhstan cooperated with Russia and the US to hand over the weapons in its possession. Most of those nations chose to seek safety in being a nation of peace, goodwill, and prosperity while also relying on an international system that depends to a large degree on the US maintaining it.

And most nations abide by international agreements banning the use of chemical and biological weapons. Fear of those weapons has been largely contained.

Yet as more nations like North Korea obtain nuclear weapons, and as the US struggles to keep a credible nuclear umbrella over its allies from Asia to Europe to the Middle East, the world needs to find a replacement for the current system of maintaining stability based on the mutual fear of nuclear war.

North Korea’s threats show just how urgent that need is.

April 8, 2013 Posted by | North Korea, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment

Dysfunctional science has led to complacency about how bad Fukushima really is

the international scientific community has failed us and become the promoter of “Dysfunctional Science.”
“Science is at a tipping point because, having fragmented into specialties and sub-specialties, it is no longer equipped to deal with falsifying data. The barricades of technical jargon and self-serving politics prevent the specialists from seeing what would be all too obvious from a higher vantage point. Such a system is averse to outside challenges by ‘those who transcend the conventional,’ and leading authorities feel free to ignore them….

Few universities have shown the courage to insist on a broad and balanced picture of present knowledge or an even-handed comparison of theoretical assumptions and available alternatives. To apply such basic standards today would risk discrediting entire departments” (30).

Nuclear energy, which provides only 2.5 percent of global primary energy needs, is the most dangerous experiment humanity has ever undertaken. The time to end the insanity is now (31). Between reducing consumption, rearranging society in a less consumer intensive form, and implementing an array of alternative energy schemes, our problems could be solved
highly-recommended Underestimating Japan’s Nuclear Disaster By Richard Wilcox November 30, 2012 “………Postmodern Postmortem Denial Syndrome The college aged students I teach in Japan are in denial and do not want to talk about Fukushima. Some have even give pro-nuclear presentations in class! Indeed, many are keenly aware of the nuclear dangers and are critical of nuclear power, but others have fatalistic attitudes. Some students told me their parents who live in Fukushima or near there are worried and angry about the situation, but if you ask the average person in Tokyo about the issue, they would probably just shrug their shoulders. People do not like having bad news pointed out to them or having their noses rubbed in radioactive debris. If they feel, or the mass media helps them to believe, that they are far enough away from the problem, they can convince themselves that it is not worth worrying about.

Escapism and distraction is the name of the game. Japanese TV variety shows can only be described as narcissistic, self-absorbed, childish, silly and often substance-less nonsense. This is great for creating a dumbed-down and subservient society but not good for long term sustainability. A thriving democracy depends upon a well informed public. The situation is similar in many countries.

What is the psychological dimension for understanding how a society can become so complacent while life-threatening dangers stare us in the face? Like a beautiful but beguiling snake that has been trampled upon, the venom released from the bite of its fangs can be deadly to the victim.

An apt illustration of our cognitive dissonance comes from journalist David McNeil, who endured the 311 nuclear crisis in Tokyo and notes with irony, “[t]hroughout the worst week of the crisis, a diligent clerk at my local video store phoned daily to remind me that I had failed to return a DVD” (27). Even though the country had been nearly brought to its knees, it was business as usual. Political analyst, Dean Hendersen, notes an historical aspect of this behavior:

“By indoctrinating people as to the omnipotence of the Emperor and of the need to make sacrifices in his name, the Japanese become in many ways the most exploited people on the planet- working long hours, never questioning their supervisors, singing company songs and drinking only with company cohorts after hours. Any resistance to this fascism is instantly branded anti-Japanese behavior. The perpetrator is considered mentally disturbed. Rather than challenge this state terror regime, most Japanese have learned to suppress their feelings…” (28).
The cultural underpinnings that led to the nuclear disaster are explained by Professor Shaun O’Dwyer, who studies modern Confucianism.
“There are two important habitual attitudes in postwar Japanese and East Asian governance that are arguably Confucian. There is paternalism on the part of governments, legitimized by the efficiency of a highly educated, meritocratic bureaucracy; and (until recently) reciprocating loyalty from citizens, grounded in a faith in the moral and intellectual ability of their leaders to work for their good.

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December 1, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Japan, psychology - mental health, Reference | 1 Comment

Fukushima’s 50 heroes fear discrimination and bullying

The Economist: “Something strange was afoot” during Prime Minister’s visit to plant — Fukushima 50 muzzled   Title: Japan’s nuclear disaster: Meet the Fukushima 50? No, you can’t
Source: The Economist Author: Banyan Date: Oct 8, 2012
It has taken the Japanese government more than 18 months to pay tribute to a group of brave men, once known as the “Fukushima 50”, who risked their lives to prevent meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant from spiralling out of control.

But when the prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, belatedly offered official thanks to them on October 7th something strange was afoot: six of the eight men he addressed had their backs to the television cameras, refused to be photographed and did not introduce themselves by name, not even to Mr Noda
The reason: officials from the government and from Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) quietly admitted that the men wanted to keep their identities secret because they were scared of stigmatisation for being involved in the disaster, such as might lead to the bullying of their children and grandchildren. But Tepco is also muzzling them, presumably for fear that what they say will further discredit the now nationalised company. When I asked if I could at least hand my business card to them to see if they wanted to tell their side of the story, an irate Tepco spokesman answered bluntly: “Impossible.”

…Yet even after Mr Noda’s visit, the men do not get the recognition they deserve. Kyodo, a news agency, relegates any mention of them to the bottom of a boring story about decontamination.

October 10, 2012 Posted by | Fukushima 2012, Japan, psychology - mental health, social effects | 2 Comments

East Kazakhstan’s horror nuclear legacy from Soviet times till now

Josef Stalin’s nuclear legacy remains in East Kazakhstan, 9 October 2012   Stalin used the area as a nuclear test site and the local population have been paying a terrible price ever since. The plight of these people in East Kazakhstan has touched the heart of Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson, who has campaigned to bring their situation to wider 
recognition for 13 years. Now, in an exclusive article for 
The Scotsman, he argues Stalin’s actions could have devastating consequences in the future, too Continue reading

October 9, 2012 Posted by | civil liberties, health, history, psychology - mental health, Reference, social effects | Leave a comment

Less than a quarter of Japan’s nuclear engineers think that the industry is trustworthy

Only 23.4 percent, down from 43.8 percent a year earlier, said they “can agree” with the view that “the safety awareness and efforts of those engaged in the use of nuclear energy are trustworthy.”

Atomic engineers feel less confident about nuke safety September 22, 2012 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN After watching one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters in their own backyard, members of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, a pro-nuclear association of nuclear engineers, are not surprisingly feeling much less confident about the safety of their industry. Continue reading

September 22, 2012 Posted by | Japan, psychology - mental health | 1 Comment

Nuclear weapons scientists – studied by anthropologist

Designed for Death Guernica , Helen Caldicott interviews Hugh Gusterson September 4, 201As we grapple with the legal, political, and cultural implications of drone warfare and targeted killing, the renowned anthropologist draws on an older turning point in military ethics—weapons design at Los Alamos…

…. . A pioneer in the anthropology of science and current professor at George Mason University, Gusterson has studied the culture of nuclear weapons scientists and antinuclear activists in the United Sates and Russia. He is a vocal critic of government recruitment of anthropologists in counterinsurgency projects in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a founding member of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists.

The following interview is excerpted from the forthcoming Loving This Planet: Leading Thinkers Talk About How to Make a Better World, a collection of transcripts from the weekly radio program of physician-turned-activist Dr. Helen Caldicott. …. . A pioneer in the anthropology of science and current professor at George Mason University, Gusterson has studied the culture of nuclear weapons scientists and antinuclear activists in the United Sates and Russia. He is a vocal critic of government recruitment of anthropologists in counterinsurgency projects in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a founding member of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists.

The following interview is excerpted from the forthcoming Loving This Planet: Leading Thinkers Talk About How to Make a Better World, a collection of transcripts from the weekly radio program of physician-turned-activist Dr. Helen Caldicott. ….

Hugh Gusterson:  There are two nuclear weapons labs: one is Los Alamos, which developed the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the other is Lawrence Livermore in San Francisco, which was established in 1952. I have done extensive fieldwork at both labs….I vividly remember one weapons scientist telling me that he could never work on conventional weapons, because it would be immoral. He felt much more comfortable working on nuclear weapons, because he was convinced that nuclear weapons would never be used. I was very struck that he felt morally cleaner working on weapons that could destroy a city than he would have felt working on napalm…..  most of the weapons scientists didn’t see much conflict between Christianity and designing weapons of mass destruction, and they were quite sure the weapons would never be used……

Hugh Gusterson: They also talk about missiles being connected to the outside world by umbilical cords. The very first bomb tested was referred to as Oppenheimer’s baby. The one dropped on Hiroshima was Little Boy. So there is this language of metaphors of birth that surrounds this bomb enterprise. They talk about the results of radioactive decay processes as being daughter products. So there is this language of fertility and birth….. The language of death is banished from the world of nuclear weapons scientists; they don’t talk about killing people; they talk about collateral damage. People are not incinerated; they’re always carbonized—anesthetizing language from which death is banished. But there’s this very rich set of metaphors about birth. I’ve always wondered if that wasn’t an attempt on their part to say, We’re really about life, we’re not about killing people. Which you can see as a form of denial…..

As an anthropologist, I find it particularly offensive when you talk to weapons scientists, or to other kinds of nuclear weapons professionals, that there’s a uniform assumption that Americans are the only people who can be uniquely trusted with nuclear weapons in a way that black and brown people, non-Christians in particular, cannot. You hear it said that only Americans and Europeans have the strength required of people to have nuclear weapons. This flies in the face of the evidence, since the United States is the only country ever to abuse weapons…..

September 5, 2012 Posted by | psychology - mental health, USA | Leave a comment