Feb
08
    
A Desperate Passion by Helen Caldicott

A Desperate Passion

By Helen Caldicott

 t was on a cold spring day in May 1977 when the wind cuts straight through your clothes, the daffodils were not even out and the ground was still brown and muddy.

I had moved to live in Boston from Australia six months earlier and was only just acclimatizing to the New England weather.

We, my daughter Penny and I, marched in a ragged bunch down the main street of Seabrook New Hampshire to the municipal rubbish dump where a nuclear reactor was to be sited. I had been asked to address the crowd by a newly formed antinuclear group called the Clamshell Alliance. I really knew nothing about them but because I had become deeply concerned about the medical implications of nuclear power having recently read the classic POISONED POWER by Gofman and Tamplin, I was pleased to assist them in their noble venture.

I remember standing on the pile of rubbish speaking through a hand held megaphone about the dangers of plutonium.

“Plutonium lasts for half a million years and every reactor manufactures 500 pounds of it every year. If one pound of this material could be adequately distributed all human beings on earth would eventually die of lung cancer; ten pounds is fuel for a nuclear weapon”

This was the start of a bitterly fought struggle which unfortunately the forces of evil won. They built not just one but two reactors on the rubbish dump next to a crowded very popular beach, despite ten years of protest rallies and marches involving tens of thousands of committed wonderful people.

I write in my book A DESPERATE PASSION “It was tragic that the will of the common person was violated by a few powerful men, thereby imposing a toxic cauldron in their midst.”
The Clamshell Alliance was the precursor of similar groups that formed throughout the US in the years leading up to and following the Three Mile Island meltdown.

Now ,in 2007, using global warming as an excuse, and claiming falsely that nuclear power produces no emissions, the nuclear industry is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in a huge propaganda exercise to convince a lackadaisical American public that nuclear power is the answer to global warming.

Will it take another catastrophic meltdown to awaken the sleeping giant of the American body politic?

Or can we do it again by creating a massive grass roots educational campaign that will awaken the peoples’ innate conscience for life on the planet and for the lives of their children and grandchildren

Otherwise and inevitably our descendents will face epidemics of childhood cancer in all future generations and an increased incidence of genetic diseases (of which there are now over 16,000 described) which will accrue from massive nuclear waste facilities leaking all over the world.

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