Mar 08

–  Fukushima’s Nuclear Casualties (CounterPunch, March 7, 2013):

Exactly two years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, perhaps the most crucial issue to be addressed is how many people were harmed by radioactive emissions.

The full tally won’t be known for years, after many scientific studies. But some have rushed to judgment, proclaiming exposures were so small that there will be virtually no harm from Fukushima fallout.

This knee-jerk reaction after a meltdown is nothing new. Nearly 12 years after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, there were no journal articles examining changes in local cancer rates. But 31 articles in publications like the Journal of Trauma and Stress and Psychosomatic Medicine had already explored psychological consequences.

Eventually, the first articles on cancer cases showed that in the five years after the accident, there was a whopping 64% increase in the cancer cases within 10 miles of Three Mile Island. But the writers, from Columbia University, concluded radiation could not account for this rise, suggesting stress be considered instead. While this was later contested by researchers from the University of North Carolina, many officials still subscribe to the slogan “nobody died at Three Mile Island.”

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Jul 26


Startling Revelations about Three Mile Island Disaster Raise Doubts Over Nuke Safety (Alternet, April 3, 2009):

A growing body of personal and scientific evidence contradicts the official story that the accident posed no threat to the public.

This story originally appeared on Facing South, online magazine of the Institute for Southern Studies.

It was April Fool’s Day, 1979 — 30 years ago this week — when Randall Thompson first set foot inside the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pa. Just four days earlier, in the early morning hours of March 28, a relatively minor problem in the plant’s Unit 2 reactor sparked a series of mishaps that led to the meltdown of almost half the uranium fuel and uncontrolled releases of radiation into the air and surrounding Susquehanna River.

It was the single worst disaster ever to befall the U.S. nuclear power industry, and Thompson was hired as a health physics technician to go inside the plant and find out how dangerous the situation was. He spent 28 days monitoring radiation releases.

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