Monday, 17 August 2009

Nuclear Power's Sick Legacy

CO2 is not the only global warming gas emitted by nuclear power. The Pacudah enrichment plant in Kentucky, which processes uranium from many countries, including Australia, annually leaks 93 per cent of the CFC-114 gas released by the US. Banned under the Montreal protocol, CFC is a prodigious destroyer of the ozone layer and it also is a potent global warming agent.

Furthermore, nuclear reactors routinely emit large amounts of radioactive materials, including the fat-soluble noble gases xenon, krypton and argon. Deemed "inert" by the nuclear industry, they are readily inhaled by populations near reactors and absorbed into the bloodstream where they concentrate in the fat pads of the abdomen and upper thighs, exposing ovaries and testicles to mutagenic gamma radiation (like X-rays).

Tritium, radioactive hydrogen, is also regularly discharged from reactors. Combining with oxygen, it forms tritiated water, which passes readily through skin, lungs and gut. Contrary to industry propaganda, tritium is a dangerous carcinogenic element producing cancers, congenital malformations and genetic deformities in low doses in animals, and by extrapolation in humans.
Already, radioactive elements in many nuclear-powered countries are leaking into underground water systems, rivers, and oceans, progressively concentrating at each level of the food chain. Strontium 90, which causes bone cancer and leukaemia, and cesium 137, which induces rare muscle and brain cancers, are radioactive for 600 years. Food and human breast milk will become increasingly radioactive near numerous waste sites. Cancers will inevitably increase in frequency in exposed populations, as will genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis in their descendants.

Each typical 1000-megawatt reactor makes 200 kilograms of plutonium a year. Less than one-millionth of a gram is carcinogenic. Handled like iron by the body, it causes liver, lung and bone cancer and leukaemia. Crossing the placenta to induce congential deformities, it has a predilection for the testicle, where inevitably it will cause genetic abnormalities. With a radiological life of 240,000 years, released in the ecosphere it will affect biological systems forever.

There is a REASON for the increased occurrances of cancers in today's society. This is one cause. Other causes are likely due to the chemical industry. Our modern world is swimming in all manner of artificial materials that have not been properly investigated to see their effects on the body. A wise, and less profit driven scientific culture would be more careful when it comes to our long term health. Things need to change.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, August 17th, 2009.]

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