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Hysteria Isn’t Killing Nuclear Power via Counter Punch


Time was, that a woman suffering from menopause, pre-menstrual syndrome, a heightened libido or lack thereof,  was labeled “hysterical.” Her very real medical or psychological troubles were put down to an “emotional reaction.” For a while these symptoms were even attributed to a “wandering womb.” What? Yes, really.

For years, if you were a woman who opposed nuclear power, you were likely subjected to exactly the same treatment (although luckily not the one for the “wandering womb,” which I won’t go into here). How many of us were told, usually by men, that we were simply far too “emotional”? (Implication? We just didn’t understand the actual “science”.)

But as the long-term survival of nuclear power became ever more unlikely, the pro-nuclear forces ramped up their rhetoric to sweep everyone into the “hysteria” basket. That’s where you belonged if you dared to claim that nuclear power is too dangerous a technology to continue. A hysteric. A fear-mongerer. And, these days, a purveyor of “fake news.” You’ll find it everywhere.


And here’s what well known columnist, Fareed Zacharia, just wrote in a February 14 column in the Washington Post that appeared to have been cribbed from the cliff notes of any number of pro-nuclear front groups:
“Fears about nuclear power, which Sanders clearly shares, are largely based on emotional reactions to the few high-profile accidents that have taken place over the past few decades.”

But it’s not fear that has done in nuclear power. It’s the very real risks  — along with its exorbitant cost.
It’s the fact that it can poison people, animals, air, land and water for millennia.

It’s the fact that, despite their ivory tower pontificating, people like Zacharia have never met the mothers of children suffering as a result of the Fukushima disaster or even, still, Chernobyl. Those children may be immaterial statistics to lofty columnists and bloggers, but they aren’t immaterial to those mothers.


So, yes, Mr. Zacharia, I have an “emotional reaction” when I see small children who should be carefree and playing outside, confined indoors, or worse, coming down with thyroid cancer they would never have suffered without Fukushima.

I have  an “emotional reaction” when I see the sad faces of mentally and physically disabled children dumped into Belarusian orphanages, children harmed by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which happened long before they were born.

I even have an “emotional reaction” when I see the photos and videos of dead or dying cows abandoned in Fukushima, their bellowing cries echoing around cowsheds already strewn with the corpses of their herdmates.

And yes, I have an “emotional reaction” even when there isn’t an accident.

I am disturbed at the alarming increase in leukemias among children living close to nuclear power plants.

I get emotional hearing the stories of Navajo uranium miners and their families, who must battle radiation exposure-induced diseases along with deprivation and discrimination.

re atI am disturbed, emotionally, at the toll taken on endangered sea turtles, captured and killed at operating nuclear plants.

And I get upset when I see that, once again, the only plans for dealing with radioactive waste are to dump it on poor communities of color.


If you don’t have an “emotional reaction” when confronted with the tragedies wrought by nuclear power, then you are the one who needs a doctor.

Read more at Hysteria Isn’t Killing Nuclear Power

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