All-Time Darwin Award: The Nuclear Industry
By Rady Ananda
Gar Smith’s Nuclear Roulette: The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth is a 14-point condemnation of President Eisenhower’s “peaceful atom,” an exposé of official and corporate lies, and a multi-pronged platform of alternatives.
When Ike okayed nuclear power, “they screwed the pooch,” says political cartoonist Mike DiBari. Ike’s military-industrial complex wrote our death sentence when the US authorized the development of nuclear energy: humanity will not survive this technology, nor will most other species.
“In 2000 alone, civilian reactors produced enough plutonium to make more than 34,000 nuclear bombs,” writes Smith.  This is what the nuclear energy industry is about – producing plutonium, tritium and other ingredients for nuclear bombs. 
One isotope of plutonium has a half-life of 24,000 years. That’s twice as long as the latest interglacial in which Homo sapiens developed agriculture, and thus modern civilization. Another – P-239 – has a 250,000-year half-life. That’s longer than Homo sapiens has been around. But then we have uranium-238 with a 4.5 billion-year half-life, the lifespan of Planet Earth. Tritium has a half life of 12 years; strontium 29 years, cesium – 30 years, and on for the hundreds of hot particles (radioactive isotopes) created by fission.
They can split atoms but can’t put Humpty back together again.
“Low-Level” Radiation Weakens, Sickens and Mutates the Biosphere
Nuke heads would have us believe that low-level radiation is harmless. Smith cites several media headlines and official reports asserting just that, despite thousands of studies refuting it.
And there’s also the threat of catastrophic explosion at a nuclear power plant. Michel Chossudovsky writes, “The crisis in Japan has been described as ‘a nuclear war without a war’…. Tactical nuclear weapons with an explosive capacity of up to six times a Hiroshima bomb are labelled by the Pentagon as ‘safe for the surrounding civilian population.’” 
Gayle Greene, author of Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation, notes:
“Nuclear proponents cite background radiation to argue that low-dose radiation is relatively harmless, asserting … that we’re daily exposed to background radiation and survive. But this argument misses the fact that background radiation is from an external source and so is a more finite exposure than radioactive substances ingested or inhaled, which go on irradiating tissues, ‘giving very high doses to small volumes of cells,’ as Helen Caldicott says.” 
In fact, radiation causes three types of damage. We all know about the burn from direct, physical impact. In addition to those immediately killed when the Fukushima disaster unfolded, a year later researchers Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman reported excess deaths in the US from the Fukushima fallout as high as 22,000 – most of them children under one year of age. 
Fukushima’s hot wind that blew east was found not only in California produce but also in Vermont’s bovine milk. Nuclear expert Arnie Gunderson estimated that for every ten hot particles being inhaled by the average Tokyo resident, six were being inhaled by the average Seattle resident. 
But beyond the hot particle burn suffered from direct impact, there are two other types of radiation damage explains teratologist Vladimir Wertelecki: teratogenesis – birth defects to a chromosomally normal fetus; and mutagenesis – recessive mutations to the DNA which may not show up for generations (like propensity for cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, etc.). 
“The impact of Chernobyl and Fukushima-Daiichi is ongoing and radiation still in the environment is inhaled or swallowed, leading to accumulation in the body. One mushroom eaten in affected areas may deliver as much radiation as hundreds of chest x-rays,” he concluded.
Radioactive waste and fallout generated by the creation and use of nuclear energy is killing and altering humans and other life forms, and this radiation will be here long after primates sigh their last breath.
In the Forward to Nuclear Roulette, Jerry Mander and Ernest Callenbach call the propaganda that nuclear waste can be safely sequestered for 250,000 years “an assertion bordering on the insane.” Nuclear energy’s poison is eternal, and humans have only been around for 150-200,000 years – we’re not likely to be around another 250K to watch over our radioactive waste.
To promote such energy is “madness” – as mad as the government of an island subject to volcanoes and tsunamis deciding to build dozens of nuclear power plants.
Low level radiation can and does kill us. One study Smith cites uses data from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control which shows that two-thirds of all breast cancer occurred among those who live within 100 miles of US nuclear plants. 
Greene describes a German study which reports that “children who lived less than 5 km from a plant were more than twice as likely to develop leukemia as children who lived more than 5 km away.”
Joseph Mangano showed that the highest cluster of thyroid cancer in the US occurs in a 90-mile radius of 16 nuclear reactors. 
In fact, thousands of studies over the past 60 years show harm from radiation. Not only do cancer rates increase, but the entire organism is compromised as seen by the high rates of congenital birth defects, compromised immune systems, rapid aging and organ failure among those populations near nuclear blasts and plants.
Dr. Wertelecki extensively studied the effects of radiation released by the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, focusing on birth defects instead of cancer. He found increased rates of congenital birth defects like spina bifida (malformed spinal cord), conjoined twins, and microcephaly (reduced head size). 
The region where most of these birth defects appear, Polissia in Rivne Province, Ukraine, hosts a unique ethnic group which has continuously occupied the land for thousands of years. They rely completely on wild and locally-produced foods, “all of which are radioactive,” reports Wertelecki.
Because the soils happen to be humus-poor, he told Dr. Helen Caldicott in a recent interview, “plants absorb about 20 times as much radiation as the same plants growing, let’s say, 50 miles away where the soils are richer in humus and other minerals.” 
These Ukrainians have been ingesting radioactive food, air and water for the past 26 years, and their children show it in the marked increase of birth defects and general failure to thrive. Wertelecki showed not only mutagenic effects passed on generationally, but also teratogenic effects even three generations later. In other words, Chernobyl fallout is still causing birth defects in an otherwise normal, healthy fetus.
We can expect the same health consequences in Japan and in the US where most of the Fukushima radiation has settled.
Wertelecki’s findings comport with what Alexey Yablokov, et al. reported in their landmark 2009 book, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. Not only did these researchers find that nearly a million people died from that single nuclear reactor explosion (not the mere 4,000 claimed by the World Health Organization), but they also find increased general morbidity, impairment and disability, as well as accelerated aging and nonmalignant diseases among today’s population. 
Global Research notes that “While Chernobyl was an enormous unprecedented disaster, it only occurred at one reactor and rapidly melted down. Once cooled, it was able to be covered with a concrete sarcophagus…” This is not so with Fukushima where three reactors fully melted down and a fourth was severely damaged. 
Chernobyl’s single reactor meltdown 26 years ago continues contaminating the northern hemisphere today with radiation, and the situation continues to worsen.
“Chernobyl radioactive contamination has adversely affected all biological as well as nonliving components of the environment: the atmosphere, surface and ground waters, and soil.” Yablokov concluded that the public and environmental health consequences from Chernobyl are only increasing, not decreasing in severity. 
Dr Helen Caldicott explains this is due to biomagnification – that process whereby poisons accumulate up the food chain. 
Human Insanity a Darwinian Failure
Which brings us to the Darwin Awards, where humans applaud those who remove themselves from our gene pool, saving the rest of us from their stupidity. Only this time, those “brilliant” scientists who split the atom are taking out humanity, and most other life forms on Planet Earth. The development of nuclear technology is a true Darwinian failure – our weakest link, our suicidally destructive genes. And they, or their progeny, or that portion of humanity promoting nuclear power, still contribute to our gene pool, to our collective demise, to the planet’s 6th Great Extinction.
What amazes me most about the Manhattan Project is that before that first atomic test, Oppenheimer admits that they did not know if the sky would ignite and destroy the biosphere, but they went ahead and exploded the bomb anyway. 
It’s one thing to climb inside a barrel to see if you can survive the drop at Niagara Falls, because you’re only risking your own life and, if you do die, you help humanity by removing your suicide genes from the genome. What Oppenheimer and the US government did was risk not only all of humanity, but the entire planet.
And those sick pups are consciously and deliberately irradiating the Middle East with depleted uranium weaponry. 
The moral depravity of such an act is on par with the decision to develop an energy source certain to wipe out the biosphere just from its waste alone. That governments around the world have fostered this suicidal, ecocidal technology exemplifies pathocracy. We are truly ruled by true psychopathy.  The development and use of nuclear power gets the all-time Darwin Award for Homo sapiens.
Smith’s section on alternatives is a frightening digression from his prior discussion on governmental lies, cover-ups and captivity by nuclear profits. Here, we find the Smart Grid being promoted, right along with biofuels – both of which have incurred the wrath of privacy advocates and environmentalists.
Though his entire book shows the complete failure of a federally regulated nuclear power program, he suggests that “a nationalized grid that is government-run as a public utility might better serve the country.”
Just as with the nuclear industry, the grid would be contracted out to private corporations with the skills and infrastructure to run it. The US Government would regulate the grid, and all the issues raised in his chapter, The Regulatory-Industrial Complex, would plague a nationalized Smart Grid.
He objects to: “a balkanized grid – bankrolled by private industry and guarded by proprietary smart meters.” But, the grid should be regionalized – and Smith promotes localization and decentralization, except not this time. Among the benefits of energy independence, a regionalized electric grid is far less vulnerable to massive, cascading disruptions than a nationalized one.
Denmark has built small, combined heat and power stations that are thermodynamically more efficient than conventional power plants, which service only cities or localities. They boast 95% efficiency as compared to a typical plant in Britain which may boast 33% efficiency. 
Along these lines, Smith reports that in 2006, “for the first time in history, micropower – which embraces small renewables, cogeneration, and other efficiencies – outperformed nuclear reactors, producing one-sixth of all the world’s electricity…”
Renewable energy can contribute substantially to energy demands, as Germany, Denmark and other nations have shown, but it cannot replace dig-it-up-and-burn-it fuel under current consumption rates in modern industrial society. Instead, and this Smith does promote, we need to power down – use less and use it more efficiently.
We must reject, however, his promotion of biofuels to complement the energy supply, because they are an abomination of nature. Genetically modified crops are the preferred source for biofuels, with all their attendant toxic chemicals linked to a host of human and environmental health problems, including the global pollinator die-off (which may kill us long before radiation finishes the job), and to mutagenic effects like sterilization, spontaneous abortion and growing links to diabetes, allergies, and other health disorders, as well as unavoidable genetic contamination of natural crops. Also, they require land that would otherwise be used for food and natural habitat, so it’s a net eco-loss to convert food crops or forests and prairies to GM biofuel plantations.   
Smith is absolutely correct to assert that, “Our long term survival in the twenty-first century depends not on consumption but on social solidarity, cooperation, sharing, resourcefulness, knowledge, and health.” His message is, let’s try to do what we can right now to become and stay healthy, as a species, as a planet. On that we also agree. 
 Gar Smith, Nuclear Roulette: The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth, Chelsea Green: Vermont, 2012. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/nuclear_roulette:paperback
 Helen Caldicott interview of Gordon Edwards, March 2011. http://ifyoulovethisplanet.org/audio/IYLTP – Ep 121.mp3
 Michel Chossudovsky, “Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War: The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation,” May 28, 2012. http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=theme&themeId=40
 Gayle Green, “Science with a Skew: The Nuclear Power Industry After Chernobyl and Fukushima,” 6 Jan. 2012. http://www.globalresearch.ca/science-with-a-skew-the-nuclear-power-industry-after-chernobyl-and-fukushima/
 Smith, p. 132, citing Joseph Mangano and Janette D. Sherman, “An Unexpected Mortality Increase in the United States Follows Arrival of the Radioactive Plume from Fukushima: Is There a Correlation?” International Journal of Health Services, v. 42, no. 1, Dec. 2011: 47-64.
 Smith, p. 134.
 Helen Caldicott interview of Vladimir Wertelecki, Sept. 2012, http://ifyoulovethisplanet.org/?p=6431
 Smith, p. 59, citing Jay M. Gould, The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors, New York: Four Walls Press, 1996, p. 187.
 Joseph J. Mangano, “Geographic Variation in U.S. Thyroid Cancer Incidence, and a Cluster of Near Nuclear Reactors in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania,” n.d. ca. 2009. http://www.radiation.org/reading/pubs/091116Thyroidcancer.pdf
 Wertelecki, W., et al. “Malformations in a Chornobyl Impacted Region,” Pediatrics. 2010;125(4):836-843. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/125/4/e836.full
 Alexey V. Yablokov, et al.,Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, New York Academy of Sciences: 2009. http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1573317578.html or see http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov%20Chernobyl%20book.pdf
 Nuclear News, “Extremely High Radiation Levels in Japan: University Researchers Challenge Official Data,” 11 April, 2011. http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24261
 Yablokov, p. 221.
 Helen Caldicott, “Fukushima: Nuclear Apologists Play Shoot the Messenger on Radiation,” 26 April 2011. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24563
 Lucy Walker, Countdown to Zero, Magnolia Pictures: 2010.
 Wikipedia, “Manhattan Project.” Accessed 17 Oct. 2012. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project:
“[Edward] Teller also raised the speculative possibility that an atomic bomb might ‘ignite’ the atmosphere because of a hypothetical fusion reaction of nitrogen nuclei.[note 1] Bethe calculated that it could not happen, and a report co-authored by Teller showed that ‘no self-propagating chain of nuclear reactions is likely to be started.’ In Serber’s account, Oppenheimer mentioned it to Arthur Compton, who ‘didn’t have enough sense to shut up about it. It somehow got into a document that went to Washington’ and was ‘never laid to rest’.[note 2] ”
Note 2: · ^ In Bethe’s account, the possibility of this ultimate catastrophe came up again in 1975 when it appeared in a magazine article by H.C. Dudley, who got the idea from a report by Pearl Buck of an interview she had with Arthur Compton in 1959. The worry was not entirely extinguished in some people’s minds until the Trinity test.
 Robert Koehler, “The Moral Equivalent of Nuremberg,” 18 Oct. 2012. http://coto2.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/the-moral-equivalent-of-nuremberg
 The US-led empire is now fully captive to corporate profits, to the exclusion of all other values – the very definition of psychopathy as discussed in the breakthrough documentary, The Corporation, and in Andrzej Łobaczewski’s Political Ponerology , which shows how hierarchies like corporations and governments draw psychopaths, so that today they dominate positions of power throughout the world.
 Susie Greaves, “The True Costs of French Nuclear Power,” 23 Jan. 2012. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/The_True_Costs_of_French_Nuclear_Power.php
 Rady Ananda, “GM Biofuels: Another Planned Disaster,” 3 May 2010.
 A single early example: Laura C. Hansen and John J. Obry, “Field deposition of Bt transgenic corn pollen: lethal effects on the monarch butterfly,” Oecologia 29 July 2000. Available at http://www.mindfully.org/GE/Field-Deposition-Bt-Pollen.htm (Accessed June 2011)
 For a detailed look at the national GMO battle back in 1999, where most of the same arguments are being repeated today (with a few significant new exceptions now that more independent studies have reached the public), see Andrew Hund, “Monsanto: Visionary or Architect of Bioserfdom? A Global Socio-Economic Examination of Genetically Modified Organisms,” 1999. Available at http://www.purefood.org/Monsanto/bioserf.cfm (Accessed August 2010)
Monsanto and the US Government still enforce, through use of arms and a Monsanto-led judicial system, intellectual property rights for biotech, and still refuse to label GMOs. Nor do either want to be held responsible for genetic contamination of natural crops, with the incumbent economic losses in global trade, nor for any of the increasing links to eco-destruction and animal and human health problems. We the People still insist we have the right to know what’s in our food and drug supply. This applies not only to the biotech world, but the increasingly linked nanotech world, as well. California’s historic Proposition 37 has the overwhelming support of the citizenry and should finally assert the people’s will, these 16+ years later. That is, unless those easily hacked voting systems serve the corporatocracy.
 I’m all for individual survival; don’t make the fatal mistake; all for one and one for all in a small niche or family. Some of my recent work:
Comprehensive Survival Food List & Storage Guide
12 Oct. 2012. http://www.activistpost.com/2012/10/comprehensive-survival-food-list.html
New Orleans is braced for Isaac
28 Aug. 2012. http://www.activistpost.com/2012/08/new-orleans-is-braced-for-isaac.html
Survival tips for the urbanite: Part 1 – Nuclear Radiation
30 July 2012. http://www.activistpost.com/2012/07/survival-tips-for-urbanite-part-1.html
…And for some philosophy by Dan and Sheila Gendron:
The One Most Important Question Survivalists Can Ask Themselves: Why Are You Trying to Survive? http://www.activistpost.com/2012/10/the-one-most-important-question.html