By Michael Steinberg
Do Nukes Kill?
While the decline of the nuclear power industry has become undeniable, one of the more significant aspects of this story still receives scant attention. In order to function, nuclear reactors generate radioactive materials and must release them into the air and water of surrounding communities. This doesn’t just happen during serious accidents as at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, but during day-to-day operations at nuke plants.
The US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 left no doubt that radiation can make people sick, causing cancer and other lethal diseases. Yet the nuclear industry must remain in denial rather than admit it has been killing humans and other living beings for the better part of a century now.
Fortunately other voices have been speaking out against this nuclear madness for just as long. These include Albert Schweizer, John Gofman, Rosalie Bertell, Ernest Sternglass, Helen Caldicott, Jay Gould and Joseph Mangano.
Mangano is currently executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project , one of the leading organizations that has been contributing studies illuminating the negative health effects of radiation on public health.
Studies by Mangano and colleagues have demonstrated that people living within 50 miles of nuclear reactors have abnormally high cancer rates and death rates. They also show that when nuclear reactors shut down permanently, those rates begin to go down.
In 2017 the Radiation and Public Health Project added two more such studies to its impressive body of work, both authored by Joe Mangano.
In December his study “Soaring Thyroid Cancer Rates North of New York City Documented ” appeared in the Journal of Environmental Protection. Mangano presented this study at Columbia University in NYC on December 4.
The study concerns radioactive emissions from the Indian Point nuclear plant, located 35 miles north of Manhattan on the Hudson River. The plant’s two reactors have been operating since the mid 1970s and are slated to close permanently in 2021.
The study found that “The rate of thyroid cancer cases in the 4 counties just north of NYC” surrounding Indian Point “which was 22 % below the US in the late 1970s has soared to 53% above the US rate. New cases jumped from 51 to 412 per year.”
Last March Mangano released another study, “Cancer Death Rates Near Salem (New Jersey) Nuclear Plant Rising Since 1980s.”
That study found “Since the 1980s the cancer death rate in Salem County has risen from 5.3% below the state rate to 20.2% above. This may be caused by radioactive releases from three reactors”, one at Hope Creek and two at Salem, located adjacent to one another, that started up between 1976and 1986. They’re located on Delaware Bay in Salem County, 30 miles south of Philadelphia.