On December 2, 2017 the University of Chicago celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first nuclear chain reaction that led to the building of the atomic bomb and the nuclear power industry. The physicist Leo Szilard said at the time that by his and Enrico Fermi’s invention universal death had come into the world. Today critics of the 2017 anniversary say that the lectures and events were biased in favor of nuclear weapons and nuclear power and even insulting to radiation victims as they culminated in fireworks in the shape of a mushroom cloud. The Nuclear Energy Information Service, NEIS, called attention to the plight of people who suffer the consequences of radiation. Dave Kraft of NEIS introduces the first speaker, Fairewinds Energy Education’s Arnie Gundersen.
Gundersen talks about his trips to Japan to collect dirt samples following the nuclear reactor explosions at Fukushima and his work with Japanese citizens who learn to collect and analyze samples. Gundersen finds to this day serious contamination up to 300 miles from Fukushima – even in areas that have been declared safe to live. He describes the terrible social pressure placed on mothers to return, with their children, to communities contaminated with radioactive particles.
He speaks of doctors under order from the Japanese government to diagnose the common effects of radiation as caused by stress. And he reveals that the NRC knew about the scale of the radiological contamination days after the meltdowns, describing the whole province of Fukushima as a contaminated zone. He also reveals that a stadium inside Fukushima province will be hosting the baseball competitions at the 2020 Olympics.
Credit Dale Lehman, WZRD Chicago, for the recording.