Features, Nuke Madness

Dr Helen Caldicott on Fukushima: An ongoing catastrophe

16 storey building in Chernobyl © Ua2mosfet
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Fossil Fool Bulletin 2.22 • 10 May 2019

Dr Helen Caldicott spoke to Michael Welch of Global Research earlier this year, on the eighth anniversary of the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan, which passed mostly without comment in mainstream media circles.

As part of efforts to normalise this historic event and cover it up in its magnitude, the Japanese government has invested considerable financial, public relations and other resources into what they are billing the ‘Recovery Olympics’ set to take place in a year’s time in Tokyo.

But Helen Caldicott warns that the dangers associated with Fukushima have not gone away and remain a cause for concern.

Dr Helen Caldicott, an Australian, has been an author, physician and one of the world’s leading anti-nuclear campaigners. She is the editor of the 2014 book, Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe.

She says it’s difficult to fully assess the health impacts of the Fukushima disaster because the Japanese government has authorised only examination of thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is caused by radioactive iodine and there were many, many cases after Chernobyl.

“Already, they’ve looked at children under the age of 18 in the Fukushima prefecture at the time of the accident, and … by June 18 last year… 201 had developed thyroid cancer. Some cancers had metastasised,” Caldicott said.

“The incidence of thyroid cancer in that population normally is one per million. So obviously it’s an epidemic of thyroid cancer and it’s just starting now.

“What people need to understand is the latent period of carcinogenesis, ie the time after exposure to radiation when cancers develop, is any time from three years to 80 years. Thyroid cancers appear early. Leukemia appears about five to 10 years later. They’re not looking for leukemia.

“Solid cancers of every organ, or any organ as such appear about 15 years later and continue, and in fact the Hibakusha from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki who are still alive are still developing cancers in higher than normal numbers.”

Caldicott said the Japanese government has told doctors that they are not to talk to their patients about radiation and related illnesses, and if they do, they might lose their funding from the government.

“So, there’s a huge, huge cover up,” Caldicott said.

“There are ongoing emissions into the air consistently. A huge amount of water is being stored – over a million gallons in tanks at the site. That water is being siphoned off from the reactor cores, the damaged melted cores. Water is pumped consistently every day, every hour, to keep the cores cool in case they have another melt. And that water, of course, is extremely contaminated.

“Now they say they’ve filtered out the contaminants except for the tritium which is part of the water molecule, but they haven’t. There’s strontium, cesium, and many other elements in that water – it’s highly radioactive – and because there isn’t enough room to build more tanks, they’re talking about emptying all that water into the Pacific Ocean and the fishermen are very, very upset. The fish already being caught off Fukushima, some are obviously contaminated. But this will be a disaster.

“Water comes down from the mountains behind the reactors, flows underneath the reactors into the sea and always has. And when the reactors were in good shape, the water was fine. But now the three molten cores are in contact with that water flowing under the reactors, and so the water flowing into the Pacific is very radioactive and that’s a separate thing from the million gallons or more in those tanks.

“They put up a refrigerated wall of frozen dirt around the reactors to prevent that water from the mountains flowing underneath the reactors, which has cut down the amount of water flowing per day from 500 tons to about 150. But of course, if they lose electricity, that refrigeration system is going to fail, and it’s a transient thing anyway so it’s ridiculous. So, over time the Pacific is going to become more and more radioactive.

Robots’ wiring melts and disappears

“They talk about decommissioning and removing those molten cores. When robots go in and try and have a look at them, their wiring just melts and disappears. They’re extraordinarily radioactive. No human can go near them because they would die within 48 hours from the radiation exposure. They will never, and I quote never, decommission those reactors. They will never be able to stop the water coming down from the mountains. And so, the truth be known, it’s an ongoing global radiological catastrophe which no one really is addressing in full.”

Chernobyl has killed a million

Caldicott said a book published by the New York Academy of Sciences, called Chernobyl, included over 5,000 studies of children and diseases in Belarus and the Ukraine, and all over Europe. It finds that over a million people have already died from the Chernobyl disaster.

“May I say that parts of Tokyo are extremely radioactive,” Caldicott said. People have been measuring the dirt from rooves of apartments, from the roadway, from vacuum cleaner dust. Some of these samples, they’re so radioactive that they would classify to be buried in radioactive waste facilities in America.

“To have the Olympics in Fukushima just defies imagination. Some of the areas where the athletes are going to be running, the dust and dirt there has been measured, and it’s highly radioactive. … And those young athletes – and young people are much more sensitive to radiation, developing cancers later than older people – it’s just a catastrophe waiting to happen.”

• The full interview transcript is available at:

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