Dear Robert Holloway,
Do you really want me to reply to the letters on your web page and are you prepared to publish my letter in full? I ask these questions because in the past I have been lied to by members of the nuclear industry and most recently in the last few days by members of the DOE at Brookhaven National Lab.
Should I defend myself against attack by members of the nuclear industry from Los Alamos where new and better nuclear bombs are currently being designed for use in third world countries now that the Cold War is over? Why is this evil thinking and action countenanced by you people when such weapons would invoke the incineration and vapourisation of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings?(1)
Should I defend myself against attack by the current President of the Health Physics Society when the father and much lauded dean of health physics Karl Z Morgan recently said “It is with much reluctance and regret that I now must recognise that the US profession of health physics has become essentially a labor union for the nuclear industry – not a profession of scientists dedicated to protect the worker and members of the public from radiation injury?”(2)
Should I defend myself when in the 1970s 3 uranium diffusion plants used 6700 megawatts of coal produced electricity per year- the equivalent of almost 7 large nuclear reactors to enrich uranium for this country – all done at tax payers expense. As you also know, these enrichment plants are the single largest point source of CFC114 gas to the environment, a material that is both a potent global warmer and also an effective destroyer of the ozone layer. Is there therefore any doubt to this day that uranium enrichment, which remains hidden from public view and debate adds, enormously to global warming?
Should I defend myself when a surfeit of new literature shows that low doses of radiation, are 6 to 8 times more dangerous than originally estimated?(3, 4, 5, 6)
Should I defend myself when I have written an important and accessible book for the public and my profession on the medical effects of radiation, with particular reference to internal emitters, and the nuclear fuel cycle? Much of the this material I gleaned from the Journal of Health Physics.(7)
Should I defend myself when it is now becoming apparent that the incidence of cancer is increasing, and almost certainly one of the etiological factors is fallout from the atmospheric tests combined with the long latent period of carcinogenesis. Should I defend myself when the National Cancer Institute sat for years on the data estimating that up to 75,000 people have been or will be condemned to developing thyroid tumors from iodine 131 fallout from these tests?
Should I defend myself when it is obvious that radio- iodine was only one of the fallout isotopes, yet none of you have had the integrity to examine the medical implications of others, including strontium 90, cesium 137, plutonium and other transuranics?
Should I defend myself when you people know better than anyone else that the radioactivity of certain nuclides lasts for eternities, that the problem of nuclear waste has not and probably will never satisfactorily be solved, and that isotopes concentrate by orders of magnitude in the food chain, a fact that was well-researched by health physicists? As you are well aware, these radioactive materials will greatly increase the incidence of genetic diseases and malignancies over time.
Should I defend myself when you know as well as I that infants and children are ten to twenty times more radiosensitive than adults?
With all the data now at hand, what do you people think you are doing defending the nuclear weapons and power industry which is obsolete and medically contraindicated. Have you forgotten what Einstein once said “The splitting of the atom changed everything save mans mode of thinking, thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe”?
Yours In Truth
Helen Caldicott MBBS, FRACP, Diplomate
American College of Pediatricians, Fellow
American Thoracic Society
Founding President Emeritus Physicians for Social Responsibility
1. William Arkin, “What’s New”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Nov/Dec 1997
2. Karl Z Morgan, “Health Physics: Its Development, Successes, Failures, and Eccentricities”, American Journal of Industrial Medicine 22:125-133 (1992)
3. Hal Morgenstern et al, “Epidemiological Study to Determine Possible Adverse Effects to Rocketdyne/Atomics International Workers from Exposure to Ionizing Radiation” Final Report to the Public Health Institute Berkeley, Cal, Subcontract No.324A-8701-S0163
4. Rob Edwards, “Radiation Roulette” New Scientist, 11 Oct, 1997
5. Lynne M Wiley et al, “Impaired Cell Proliferation in Mice That Persists Across at Least Two Generations after Paternal Irradiation” Radiation Research Society, 1997
6. Hans Ellegren et al, “Fitness Loss and Germline Mutations in Barn Swallows Breeding in Chernobyl”, Nature, Vol 389, Oct 1997
7. Helen Caldicott, “Nuclear Madness” WW Norton, 1994