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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

2013 nuclear spin – all about FEAR -theme for June

(Of course the real, and warranted fear, is the nuclear industry’s own  fear  – of going out of business)

The new argument being spun by  the nuclear industry – overcoming fear of radiation. Forget cancer, birth defects, genetic instability – the real health problem is simply just an unwarranted fear of radiation.  The nuclear lobby relies on the recent phone interviews with some  members of The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR)  notably UNSCEAR chair, Wolfgang Weiss

text-UNSCEAR

On May 31 UNSCEAR released, not an extensive official report, but   a brief preliminary report on Fukushima radiation and health  – the full report will be presented at the United Nations in October this year.  The world press has been quoting this statement from this unofficial UNSCEAR press release

“It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers,”  
But the World Health Organisation’s comprehensive report, February 2013, concluded that an increased rate of breast cancer is to be expected in future years, amongst women who were children when exposed to low level Fukushima radiation. It also predicted increased leukaemia amongst Fukushima clean-up workers.If you dissect the UNSCEAR  statement, you see how very carefully it is worded, so that in actuality, it does not contradict the World Health  Organisation.The word “attribute”. It would be virtually impossible to select individuals – to attribute whose cancer was caused by Fukushima radiation. Amongst  the exposed population, at least 30% would be expected to get cancer in the normal course of events, without any Fukushima accident. Of every 30 or so people who later developed cancer, only one would be expected to have come from the Fukushima radiation, but which one?The words “the general public”.  That widens the scope to all of Japan’s 128 million people. But the WHO was talking only about the few thousands who were exposed to low level radiation in the affected area.

The words “the vast majority of workers”. But the WHO predicted leukaemia to develop in only a minority of the affected workers.

Both the World Health Organisation and the UNSCEAR press release, though conservative, are far from confident in the harmlessness of the Fukushima radiation.  The UNSCEAR release is headed “not an official document”. We will have to wait until October for the official one.
spin-Fukushima-radiation-co
The World Health Organisation is bound by an agreement with the IAEA. A clause of this agreement says the WHO effectively grants the right of prior approval over any research it might undertake or report on to the IAEAUNSCEAR is also subservient to the IAEA. Every UNSCEAR report must be approved by the IAEA. UNSCEAR’s membership is largely from the nuclear industry. Its chairman,  Wolfgang Weiss is a boss on Euratom which, according to Wikipedia is an international organisation founded in 1958 with the purpose of creating a specialist market for nuclear power in Europe, developing nuclear energy and distributing it to its member states while selling the surplus to non-member states.
Weiss,-Wolfgang-hypocritThe IAEA itself has as its founding brief – “The agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity through the world.”
A careful study of both publications shows that while they take a very conservative attitude to the health risks from Fukushima radiation, (in keeping with their obligations to the IAEA) they certainly do not conclude that there is nothing to worry about.
The latest pitch of the nuclear lobby is that Fukushima radiation is OK, that their industry will go ahead, as the public loses its fear of radiation. And the nuclear lobby is now on a campaign to convince the public to abandon that fear.. It sounds plausible, but even WHO and UNSCEAR, under the thumb of the IAEA, have their doubts. There are many other reputable scientific agencies that agree with Dr Margaret Chan, Director General  of the WHO,  that there is no safe level of ionising radiation.

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