Choice for Humanity
Saga of Nuclear Power
probability that something will go seriously
wrong is real...the damage that would
caused if it went wrong is indefinite."
Page II - In this page:
Is nuclear power safe/accidents?
- Is radiation harmful
Is it electrical or political power
To destroy their own race...
Prof. Hayrettin KILIÇThe Green Think Tank of Turunch Foundation.
Is nuclear power safe/accidents
A number of serious accidents since 1957 have demonstrated that
the radiation released from a nuclear
accident has no boundaries. There
are nearly 440 nuclear power plants sitting like atomic
bombs, scattered around the world, ticking
within vicinity of metropolitan areas,
vulnerable to trigger by human error,
a faulty valve, a natural disaster, or
a terrorist attack. A 1000 MW nuclear reactor contains about more 1.5 billion curies of
equivalent of the long-lived isotopes
released by an explosion of 1000 Hiroshima
A U.S. government study showed that there have been 169
incidents that could have led to a catastrophic
accident. In 1987 along, US nuclear power
plants reported nearly 3000 mishaps,
at least 430 emergency shutdowns,
and 104,000 incident in which workers
were exposed to measurable doses of radiation.
In fact, in the US civilian nuclear industry
in 1991, there were 165 various accidents
at nuclear reactors. None of the former
Soviet Unions' 45 civilian nuclear reactors
meets western safety standard and at present
time, 10 reactors still operating that
are similar to the Chernobyl reactor design,
considered inherently unsafe. Accidents
at Russian nuclear installations increased
45%, according to IAEA records;
in 1992 number of accidents reached to
a total of 205. In Japan, nuclear
power plants equipped with super computer
technology suffered 20 serious accidents
There have been thousands of nuclear accidents both in the civilian
and military plants.
The following important nuclear
accidents are worth mentioning; in 1957
the first nuclear power accident took
place in a nuclear complex in Kushtym,
Russia near the Ural mountains, spreading
20 million curies of long-lived
radioactive isotopes over a 410 sq. mile
area. The same year, at Windscale,
England, thousands of people developed
high levels of Iodine-131 in their thyroid
glands as result of an accident. There
have been over 700 hundred plutonium
fires at the Rock Flats plant near
the city of Denver, USA. In 1989, the plant was raided by FBI agents and closed down
because of gross safety violations. At
the Savannah River Site in South Carolina,
where five nuclear reactors as well as
two big reprocessing plants are located,
there have been over 30 very serious
reactor accidents. In 1965, there was
a leak of 2,100 gallons of highly radioactive
water, which almost caused a meltdown.
In 1979 the Three Mile Island accident was triggered by a malfunctioning
pump and valve combined with a series
of operator errors. It is estimated that
millions of curies of radioactive gas
escaped from the plant where radiation
monitoring devices were not designed to
measure such large quantities of radiation.
The cost of cleaning up at this
plant has already reached several billion
dollars. In April 1986, the worst nuclear
accident took place in the Chernobyl nuclear
complex in Ukraine. Two-hundred metric
tons of uranium dioxide reactor fuel and
800 tons of radioactive graphite
burst into the environment as the result
of an explosion triggered by a series
of human errors. In the first few days of accident, ground level radiation in
Kiev was 2000 times higher than
standard allowed levels by the World Health
At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio,
Dr. Yuri Sherback, Ukraine's Environment
Minister said more than 6000 people may
have already died as a result of the Chernobyl
accident and that the death toll in the
Ukraine alone would eventually reach 40,000.
Nuclear plants are permitted to release radiation into the atmosphere
on a regular basis that can significantly
increase levels of exposure to individuals.
One of the radioactive gases released,
Xenon-135, decays into Cesium-135,
which has a half-life of 2 million
years. Other emissions contaminate
agricultural areas, waterways and groundwater
Resent findings indicate that the
resulting low-level radiation is far more
devastating than previously imagined. Areas surrounding nuclear plants have reported increases (up
to 400%) in cancers, genetic mutations,
stillbirths, and some degenerative diseased.
Children are the first victims.
Radiation harms us by ionizing, that is, altering the electric
charge of the atoms and molecules composing
our body cells. As explained by Prof.
John Gofman, lower doses of radiation
can cause abnormalities of the immune
system and can also cause leukemia five
to ten years after exposure, other cancers,
twelve to sixty years later, and genetic
diseases and congenital abnormalities
in future generations.
Our bodies are made up of billions of cells. Inside each cell is a nucleus, and inside
the nucleus are long bead-like strings
known as chromosomes. These strings are
DNA molecules, a sequence of which
are specific genes. Genes control every
aspect of an individual's hereditary characteristics
hair color, eye color, personality factors,
brain development, and so forth. Genes
also control cellular activities, and
within every cell there is thought to
be a regulatory gene that controls the
cell's rate of division.
If our bodies are gamma-irradiated from the exterior, or if we
inhale a particle of radioactive matter,
Pu-235 or U-235 into our lungs and one
of its atoms emits and alpha or beta particle,
this radiation can collide with a regulatory
gene and chemically damage it, sometimes
killing the cell, sometimes leaving it
alive. The surviving cell continues to
function normally, until one day, five
to sixty years later (i.e., after the
"latent period" of carcinogens),
instead of dividing to produce two new
cells, it goes berserk and manufactures
billions of identically damaged cells.
This type of growth, which leads to formation
of a tumor; is called cancer.
Besides leading to cancer, radiation also causes genetic mutations,
mainly sudden changes in the inheritable
characteristics of an organism. A child
formed from an egg or sperm cell mutated
by radiation in a dominant way will show
the results of that mutation. It may spontaneously
abort or, if it survives pregnancy, it
may turn out to be a sickly, deformed
individual with a shortened lifespan.
Radiation can also cause chromosomal breakage in the sperm or egg
cell, leading to seriously deformed offspring.
One disease associated with chromosomal
damage is mongolism, or Down's syndrome.
If the radiation kills specific cells
in the developing embryo during the first
three months of intrauterine life, and
if the cell that is destined to form the
septum of the heart is killed then a baby
may be born with a hole in its heart.
Also there is an increase incidence of
childhood leukemia if the fetus is exposed
to radiation in the uterus.
An article published in the British Medical Journal, Feb.
17, 1990 stated that there were higher
incidences of leukemia in children of
men who worked at other jobs in the area.
In the light of these findings, the British
government officials have suggested to
plant workers that they may wish to avoid
having children. A study in the Journal
of the American Medical Association
(Vol. 265, March, 1991) revealed that
at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in
U.S.A., leukemia mortality among workers
was 63% higher than expected.
Finally, John Gofman who is a Professor of nuclear-physical chemistry,
co-discoverer of U-232, U-233, Pu-239
in the Manhattan Project, Former Associate
Director of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory,
and Professor of Emeritus of Medical Physics,
at UC Berkeley, states that "Nuclear
power is unacceptable because it unavoidably
inflicts cancer and genetic injury on
people. It is a mass, random, premeditated
it electrical or political power
As the world's attention is lately focused on the suspected nuclear
weapons program of North Korea and Iran,
South Korea and Japan are quietly fostering
rapid expansion of nuclear power and consequently
sheltering a nuclear weapons program.
In the case of Japan, the reprocessing
of spent fuel from its own breeder reactors
to produce 98% pure plutonium-239, and
the acquiring of high-purity plutonium
from France, cannot be justified as a
response to the country's chronic energy
shortage. Rather it is a clear step toward
the production of tactical nuclear weapons.
In the case of South Korea, it was announced
in September 1992 that it will import
two Canadian dual-use CANDU reactors,
which are being built and are capable
of producing weapons-grade plutonium-239
while they generate electricity. In fact
that, South Korea recently admitted that
they have secretly tried to enrich weapon
grade U-235 in small laboratory-scale.
As the nuclear reactor market in the US, Europe and Russia have
collapsed, those companies involved in
nuclear technology have turned to the
Middle East and Far East, especially to
Iran, Pakistan, Chine, Taiwan, South and
North Korea, Malaysia, India to save their
economical Cartel. In addition to their support for South
Korean nuclear expansion, they are joining
with the South Korean nuclear industry
in hopes of increasing their nuclear profits
through reactor sales in potential markets
such as the Middle East and other developing
In the shadows of a civilian nuclear program it seems that there
is a military nuclear programs
developing in Northeast Asia, leading
to a nuclear and tactical nuclear weapons
race among North-South Korea, China and
Japan. Further, possibility of a unified South-North
Korea or Chine-Taiwan super nuclear power,
will automatically lend justification
for Japan to build its own nuclear arsenal
in this region.
In the meantime, a similar race is shaping, between arch enemies
Pakistan and India.
And Iran, now pursuing to be nuclear
power in Islamic world against to Israel.
The situation in the Middle East and Balkans,
at the present time seems to be ambiguous. Israel is known to be in possession of
more than 100 nuclear warheads and a considerable
amount of plutonium inventory.
Ukraine has inherited a substantial
amount of nuclear weapons from the old
Soviet Union. Turkey, with blessing of the West may
be taking its first step to into nuclear
destroy their own race...
Finally, the oldest triangle was already formed during the cold
war among the USA, Europe and Russia.
In order to justify their new Counter-proliferation
doctrine and keep their nuclear arsenal,
advanced nuclear states are creating new
small triangles and supporting them by
political, technological, and financial
means. Even worse, advanced nuclear countries
have been key suppliers of nuclear technology
and the materials to Non-NPT, and technology
to Brazil, Israel as well as South Africa.
Argentina and Switzerland supplied enriched
uranium and tritium to South Africa, heavy
water and enrichment technology assisting
Argentina, Pakistan, Iran and South Africa
with enriched uranium. The US has delivered 9 super computers
to Israeli Universities capable of simulating
a nuclear weapons launch, delivery, and
All these countries' fascination with nuclear power lies beyond
energy shortages. Rather, it lies in nuclear
energy's symbolizing the wealth and military
power of a given country in their region.
It is the classic sales scheme of the
western nuclear power is a yardstick for
measuring their overall strength, as well
as making them regional military nuclear
powers. A perfect example of this scheme at the
present time is Iran, and in the past
is Iraq which was led to believe that
it would become the nuclear power in the
Middle East. However, after Iraq spent billions of dollars to build a nuclear
power plant, it took only a couple of
Israeli planes to destroy it.
In the end, the people of Iraq
not only paid for the power plant from
their pockets but are also paying with
their lives by being exposed to a high
does of radiation.
Contrary to what the nuclear industry might say, it is indeed disadvantageous
for the developing countries to have nuclear
power plants, which represent well coordinated
sitting ducks, stuffed with tons of highly
In Turkey's case, it would be highly
unwise to spend billions of dollars building
nuclear power plants to obtain nuclear
bombs for military strength, when most
hostile countries around Turkey already
possess these nuclear ducks, sitting there
in clear aim.
Today, the unavoidable reality confronting each of us is that a
dangerous nuclear domino game is laid
out on the Earth's surface, stretching
from Japan, across Europe, all the way
to Alaska. It is the pressing responsibility of us all to act upon this
fragile environment and revoke any action
towards further military or civilian nuclear
The only feasible path to is the
denuclearization. However, God
forbid the savage genes of human kind
should take over and tip one of these
dominoes. Then that will be the day
that humans succeed at what they have
tried to do the last ten thousand years
by conventional means... To destroy
their own race...
Last but not least, Co-creator of the Atomic bomb, Professor Edward
Teller stated that "The probability
that something will go seriously wrong
is real...the damage that would caused
if it went wrong is indefinite."
Hayrettin KILIC Ph.D
The Green Think Tank of Turunch Foundation.
New Jersey, USA
1. Bulletin of Atomic
The Nuclear Policy Research Institute
Nuclear Information and Resources
4. Institute For Energy and Environmental
6. The New York Times
7. International Atomic Energy Agency
8. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, USA
9. Department of Energy, USA
10. Rutland Herald, Vermont
11. The Nuclear Energy Information Service
12. US Government Congressional Budget
13. U.S. Congress, Office of Technology
A Brief Profile of Prof. Hayrettin Kiliç>
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