Safe Radiation Is A Lethal TMI Lie – People Died At Three Mile Island

Harvey Wasserman

Here are two articles from Harvey Wasserman, author and editor of nukefree.org, that should be spread far and wide.

The first article is “Safe” Radiation is a Lethal Three Mile Island Lie and addresses the government lies about so called “safe” doses of radiation.

The second article is People Died at Thread Mile Island discusses the government orchestrated cover up of the Three Mile Island incident.

Note the parallels between the Three Mile Island cover up and the events that are occurring right now.

“Safe” Radiation Is a Lethal TMI

Harvey Wasserman

Harvey Wasserman

Lie

There is no safe dose of radiation.

There is no safe dose of radiation.

We do not x-ray pregnant women.

Any detectable fallout can kill.

With erratic radiation spikes, major air and water emissions and at least three reactors and waste pools in serious danger at Fukushima, we must prepare for the worst.

When you hear the terms “safe” and “insignificant” in reference to radioactive fallout, ask yourself:  ”Safe to whom”?  ”Insignificant for which of us?”

Despite the corporate media, what has and will continue to come here from Fukushima is deadly to Americans.  At very least it threatens countless embryos and fetuses in utero, the infants, the elderly, the unborn who will come to future mothers now being exposed.  (http://nukefree.org/… )

No matter how small the dose, the human egg in waiting, or embryo or fetus in utero, or newborn infant, or weakened elder, has no defense against even the tiniest radioactive assault.

Science has never found such a “safe” threshold, and never will.

In the 1950s Dr. Alice Stewart showed a definitive link between medical x-rays administered to pregnant women and the curse of childhood leukemia among their offspring.

After a fierce 30-year debate, the medical profession agreed.   Today, administering an x-ray to a pregnant woman is universally understood to be a serious health hazard.

Those who pioneered the health physics profession–-towering greats like Dr. Karl Z. Morgan and Dr. John Gofman-set a definitive, impenetrable standard.  A safe dose of radiation does not exist.  All doses, “insignificant” or otherwise, can harm the human organism.

That has been repeatedly shown in major studies–-done most notably by Dr. Ernest Sternglass, Jay Gould, Joe Mangano, Arnie Gundersen, Dr. Steven Wing (http://nukefree.org/… ) and others–-showing that among human populations near commercial reactors, infant death rates plummet once the reactors shut down.

In 1979, 32 years ago this March 28, the owners of Three Mile Island said there was no meltdown, no serious radiation release and no need for evacuation.

All were lies.

To this day no one knows how much radiation was released or where it went or who it killed.

TMI’s owners ran ads dismissing the emissions as the equivalent of a single chest x-ray given to everyone within a ten mile radius.

But that included all the pregnant women.

Soon infant death rates soared in nearby Harrisburg.  Some 2400 central Pennsylvania families sued based on the health impacts.

In 1980 I interviewed dozens of these people.  Cancer, leukemia, birth defects, stillbirths, sterility, malformations, open lesions, hair loss, a metallic taste and much more were among the symptoms.

(http://www.loran-history.info/… )

The death and mutation rate among farm and wild animals was also thoroughly documented by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and a team of investigators from the Baltimore News-American.

We were again told there were “no health dangers” from radiation that hit California from Chernobyl ten days after that 1986 explosion.  But bird births at the Point Reyes National Seashore quickly dropped 60% from the levels that had been carefully monitored and recorded through the previous decade.

The cloud then crossed the northern tier of the United States.  Heightened radiation levels were found in milk in New England–-as they were throughout Europe from clouds that had blown from Chernobyl in the other direction.

The doses were neither “insignificant” nor “safe” to those far or near.

In Russia ten years later, I interviewed dozens of downwind victims, and many of the 800,000 “liquidators” who ran into Chernobyl’s seething corpse to help clean it up.  After TMI, it was déjà vu all over again.

The most recently published findings, from a compendium of more than 5,000 studies, indicate a global Chernobyl death toll in excess of 985,000, and still counting.  ( http://www.nukefree.org/… ).

Today we are assaulted by yet another radioactive death cloud from yet another “perfectly safe” nuclear plant.

Fukushima’s radiation is pouring into the air and water.  The operators have reported radiation levels a million times normal, then retracted the estimate.  Workers are being exposed to doses that are certain to be lethal.  At least three of the reactors, and one or more of the spent fuel pools, hover at the brink of catastrophe.

Fukushima’s radiation has now been detected in Los Angeles and Sacramento, and has blown east across North America.  It has also been detected in Sweden, which means its blowing across Europe as well.

Radiation is not being released as a single puff.  Rather it’s a steady stream that could yet turn into a tsunami.

Fukushima’s worst may be yet to come.  Its collective emissions are virtually certain to exceed Chernobyl’s.

And yet we continue to hear smug, misinformed “experts,” TV meteorologists and industry talking heads saying these are “safe” doses.

The response of the Obama Administration has been beyond derelict.  As the accident began, the President went on national television to assure us there was nothing to worry about, and that he would continue to demand $36 billion in loan guarantees to build new nuclear plants.

Since then, even as the Fukushima crisis mounts, President Obama has remained silent.

Millions of Americans have heard about potassium iodide (KI), which can be used block the uptake of radioactive iodine and perhaps protect the thyroid.

But KI can have potential medical side-effects for some individuals.  And timing can be critical.  To say the least, we need to know when the radioactive fallout is present.

Yet the administration has not provided us with a national supply of KI, or guidance for using it.

At very least we need reliable real-time mapping of the radioactive clouds as they cross the nation.  Every American should be issued a mask, and sufficient KI pills with directions on how to use them, if necessary.

Above all, we need national leadership that puts the health of our people above all else.

Americans who are of reproductive age–-and their unborn, our babies, the elderly, those of us who may be specially sensitive–-we all deserve better.

As we have learned so tragically from Drs. Stewart, Morgan, Gofman and Sternglass, from Gundersenand Mangano and so many other researchers, from TMI and Chernobyl, and from the on-going operation of nuclear plants where infant death rates continue to be affected–-a “perfectly safe” dose of radiation does not exist.

No truly informed or responsible scientist, medical doctor, health researcher, TV weatherman, bloviating “expert” or on-the scene reporter would ever tell you otherwise.

Whenever you hear the term “insignificant” fallout, ask yourself:  “insignificant to whom?”

“Acceptable” to which expectant mother.  To whose child?  To how many mourning parents?  For which dying elder?

Nuclear reactors make global warming worse and prolong our addiction to fossil fuels.  They stand in the way of our transition to a totally green-powered Earth.

As we continue to learn at such a huge cost, there can never be a “perfectly safe” nuclear reactor, any more than there can be a “perfectly harmless” dose of radiation.

“Impossible” accidents continue to happen, one after the other, each of them successively worse.

What we fear most about TMI, then Chernobyl and now Fukushima, is not what has happened–-but what is yet to come, there, and at the next inevitable reactor disaster.

We are a pro-life movement.

Please call the White House, the Congress and your state and local governments and DEMAND they protect the health and safety of our people in the face of this disaster.

Harvey Wasserman edits www.nukefree.org.  He is author of SOLARTOPIA!  OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH (www.solartopia.org), and co-author, with Robert Alvarez, Norman Solomon and Eleanor Walters, of KILLING OUR OWN:  THE DISASTER OF AMERICA’S EXPERIENCE WITH ATOMIC RADIATION.

People Died at Three Mile Island

People died–-and are still dying–-at Three Mile Island.

As the thirtieth anniversary of America’s most infamous industrial accident approaches, we mourn the deaths that accompanied the biggest string of lies ever told in US industrial history.

As news of the accident poured into the global media, the public was assured there were no radiation releases.

That quickly proved to be false.

The public was then told the releases were controlled and done purposely to alleviate pressure on the core.

Both those assertions were false.

The public was told the releases were “insignificant.”

But stack monitors were saturated and unusable, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission later told Congress it did not know–-and STILL does not know–-how much radiation was released at Three Mile Island, or where it went.

Using unsubstantiated estimates of how much radiation was released, the government issued average doses allegedly received by people in the region, which it assured the public were safe. But the estimates were utterly meaningless, among other things ignoring the likelihood that high doses of concentrated fallout could come down heavily on specific areas.

Official estimates said a uniform dose to all persons in the region was equivalent to a single chest x-ray. But pregnant women are no longer x-rayed because it has long been known a single dose can do catastrophic damage to an embryo or fetus in utero.

The public was told there was no melting of fuel inside the core.

But robotic cameras later showed a very substantial portion of the fuel did melt.

The public was told there was no danger of an explosion.

But there was, as there had been at Michigan’s Fermi reactor in 1966. In 1986, Chernobyl Unit Four did explode.

The public was told there was no need to evacuate anyone from the area.

But Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh then evacuated pregnant women and small children. Unfortunately, many were sent to nearby Hershey, which was showered with fallout.

In fact, the entire region should have been immediately evacuated. It is standard wisdom in the health physics community that–-due in part to the extreme vulnerability of human embryos, fetuses and small children, as well as the weaknesses of old age–-there is no safe dose of radiation, and none will ever be found.

The public was assured the government would follow up with meticulous studies of the health impacts of the accident.

In fact, the state of Pennsylvania hid the health impacts, including deletion of cancers from the public record, abolition of the state’s tumor registry, misrepresentation of the impacts it could not hide (including an apparent tripling of the infant death rate in nearby Harrisburg) and much more.

The federal government did nothing to track the health histories of the region’s residents.

In fact, the most reliable studies were conducted by local residents like Jane Lee and Mary Osborne, who went door-to-door in neighborhoods where the fallout was thought to be worst. Their surveys showed very substantial plagues of cancer, leukemia, birth defects, respiratory problems, hair loss, rashes, lesions and much more.

A study by Columbia University claimed there were no significant health impacts, but its data by some interpretations points in the opposite direction. Investigations by epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Wing of the University of North Carolina, and others, led Wing to warn that the official studies on the health impacts of the accident suffered from “logical and methodological problems.” Studies by Wing and by Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry official, being announced this week at Harrisburg, significantly challenge official pronouncements on both radiation releases and health impacts.

Gundersen, a leading technical expert on nuclear engineering, says: “When I correctly interpreted the containment pressure spike and the doses measured in the environment after the TMI accident, I proved that TMI’s releases were about one hundred times higher than the industry and the NRC claim, in part because the containment leaked. This new data supports the epidemiology of Dr. Steve Wing and proves that there really were injuries from the accident. New reactor designs are also effected, as the NRC is using its low assumed release rates to justify decreases in emergency planning and containment design.”

Data unearthed by radiologist Dr. Ernest Sternglass of the University of Pittsburgh, and statisticians Jay Gould (now deceased) and Joe Mangano of New York have led to strong assertions of major public health impacts. According to Mangano, one major study “found that the number of cancers within 10 miles of TMI rose from 1731 to 2847 between 1975-79 and 1981-85. A 64% increase. But they ‘didn’t find any link’ with the accident, and suggested the rise might be due to stress.” On-going work bySternglass and Mangano clearly indicates that “normal” reactor radiation releases of far less magnitude that those at TMI continue to have catastrophic impacts on local populations.

Anecdotal evidence among the local human population has been devastating. Large numbers of central Pennsylvanians suffered skin sores and lesions that erupted while they were out of doors as the fallout rained down on them. Many quickly developed large, visible tumors, breathing problems, and a metallic taste in their mouths that matched that experienced by some of the men who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, and who were exposed to nuclear tests in the south Pacific and Nevada.

A series of interviews conducted by Robbie Leppzer and compiled in a “a two-hour public radio documentary VOICES FROM THREE MILE ISLAND ( www.turningtide.com ) give some indication of the horrors experienced by the people of central Pennsylvania.

They are further underscored by harrowing broadcasts from then-CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-c1PrCLaRw ) warning that “the world has never known a day quite like today. It faced the considerable uncertainties and dangers of the worst nuclear power plant accident of the atomic age. And the horror tonight is that it could get much worse.”

In March of 1980, I went into the region and compiled a range of interviews clearly indicating widespread health damage done by radiation from the accident. The survey led to the book KILLING OUR OWN, co-authored with Norman Solomon, Robert Alvarez and Eleanor Walters (www.ratical.org/radiation/KillingOurOwn/KOO.pdf ) which correlated the damage done at TMIwith that suffered during nuclear bomb tests, atomic weapons production, mis-use of medical x-rays, the painting of radium watch dials, uranium mining and milling,
radioactive fuel production, failed attempts at waste disposal, and more.

My research at TMI also uncovered a plague of death and disease among the area’s wild animals and farm livestock. Entire bee hives expired immediately after the accident, along with a disappearance
of birds, many of whom were found scattered dead on the ground. A rash of malformed pets were born and stillborn, including kittens that could not walk and a dog with no eyes. Reproductive rates among the
region’s cows and horses plummeted.

Much of this was documented by a three-person investigative team from the Baltimore News-American, which made it clear that the problems could only have been caused by radiation. Statistics from Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture confirmed the plague, but the state denied its existence, and said that if it did exist, it could not have been caused by TMI.

In the mid-1980s the citizens of the three counties surrounding Three Mile Island voted by a margin of 3:1 to permanently retired TMI Unit One, which had been shut when Unit Two melted. The Reagan Administration trashed the vote and re-opened the reactor, which still operates. Its owners now seek a license renewal.

Some 2400 area residents have long-since filed a class action lawsuit demanding compensation for the plague of death and disease visited upon their families. In the past quarter-century they have been denied access to the federal court system, which claims there was not enough radiation released to do such harm. TMI’s owners did quietly pay out millions in damages to area residents whose children were born with genetic damage, among other things. The payments came in exchange for silence among those receiving them.

But for all the global attention focused on the accident and its health effects, there has never been a binding public trial to test the assertion by thousands of conservative central Pennsylvanians that radiation from TMI destroyed their lives.

So while the nuclear power industry continues to assert that “no one died at Three Mile Island,” it refuses to allow an open judicial hearing on the hundreds of cases still pending.

As the pushers of the “nuclear renaissance” demand massive tax- and rate-payer subsidies to build yet another generation of reactors, they cynically stonewall the obvious death toll that continues to
mount at the site of an accident that happened thirty years ago. The “see no evil” mantra continues to define all official approaches to the victims of this horrific disaster.

Ironically, like Chernobyl, Three Mile Island Unit Two was a state-of-the-art reactor. Its official opening came on December 28, 1978, and it melted exactly three months later. Had it operated longer,
the accumulated radiation spewing from its core almost certainly would have been far greater.

Every reactor now operating in the US is much older–-nearly all fully three decades older–-than TMI-2when it melted. Their potential fallout that could dwarf what came down in 1979.

But the Big Lie remains officially in tact. Expect to hear all week that TMI was “a success story” because “no one was killed.”

But in mere moments that brand new reactor morphed from a $900 million asset to a multi-billion-dollar liability. It could happen to any atomic power plant, now, tomorrow and into the future.

Meanwhile, the death toll from America’s worst industrial catastrophe continues to rise. More than ever, it is shrouded in official lies and desecrated by a reactor-pushing “renaissance” hell-bent on repeating the nightmare on an even larger scale.


Harvey Wasserman has been writing about atomic energy and the green alternatives since 1973. His 1982 assertion to Bryant Gumbel on NBC’s TODAY Show that people were killed at TMI sparked a national mailing from the reactor industry demanding a retraction. NBC was later bought by General Electric, still a major force pushing atomic power.

Categories: HEALTH, NUCLEAR NEWS

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