The unacknowledged human cost of nuclear power
This op-ed is by Deb Katz, the executive director of Citizens Awareness Network in response to an op-ed by Guy Page of Vermont Energy Partnership.
In his op-ed piece of May 6, Guy Page lays out all of the predictable arguments in support of nuclear power; it’s clean, it’s safe and no one has ever died from nuclear power. As the communications director for the Vermont Energy Partnership, of which Entergy is a member, he suffers from the same problem as Entergy; their messaging is out of sync with their reality.
Page makes the following claim, “Nuclear power is safe. Many Americans and Vermonters fear and distrust nuclear power. What do history and the present day teach us? In the 50-plus years of the U.S. nuclear power industry, no-one has ever died as a result of radiation.”
Page, his employer, Entergy, and the nuclear industry continue to make this claim even as we witness first hand as the catastrophe unfolds in Japan. This is now the third nuclear power catastrophe in three decades. As more and more nuclear power plants age is it out of the question to think that we can expect to have another nuclear meltdown somewhere on the planet within the next 10 years?
The claim that no one has ever died from radiation poisoning is beyond the pale. Supporters of nuclear power refuse to accept the known and verifiable fact that there is no safe level of radiation. They will only accept the sudden death of a coal mine collapse or a gas explosion as their benchmark. As most of us know, radiation does not kill its victim immediately. It takes time. People like Page shamelessly exploit this fact to make the wild claim that no one has ever died from radiation. Maybe the question should be revised. Has anyone suffered from exposure to radiation? Does an epidemic of childhood thyroid cancer in Russia count or the children born with “Chernobyl heart” or the kids who spend their summers in Ireland because they suffer from “Chernobyl aids”? Can we count the statistically significant number of children born with Down syndrome in Germany the year after the accident? This is the unacknowledged cost of nuclear power. Keep reading