Those caught up in nuclear disasters suffer many times over, writes Robert Jacobs. Ill-health and early death aside, they are also cut off from their former communities, identities and family life, and the victims of social and medical discrimination.
Radiation makes people invisible. We know that exposure to radiation can be deleterious to one’s health; can cause sickness or even death when received in high doses.
But it does more. People who have been exposed to radiation, or even those who suspect that they have been exposed to radiation that never experience radiation related illnesses may find that their lives are forever changed – that they have assumed a kind of second class citizenship.
They slowly realize that they have become expendable and that their government and even their society is no longer invested in their wellbeing.
As a historian of the social and cultural aspects of nuclear technologies I have spent years working in radiation-affected communities around the world.
Many of these people have experienced exposure to radiation from nuclear weapon testing, from nuclear weapon production, from nuclear power plant accidents, from nuclear power production or storage, or, like the people in the community that I live, in Hiroshima, from being subjected to direct nuclear attack.
Fukushima – the victims’ future is all too predictable
Sickness and mortality
Losses of homes, community and identity
Loss of land and continuity
Ill health from processed or radioactive food
Loss of traditional knowledge
Fukushima victims bullied
Becoming medical subjects – or ‘objects’?
Radiophobia and ‘blaming the victim’
Their lives will be divided in two parts – before, and after
Article in Japanese: 放射能は人々を見えない存在にする ロバート・ジェイコブズ via SimplyInfo