Dr. Helen Caldicott: Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown Much Worse Than Chernobyl

nuclear dangers Helen CaldicottThere are good reasons not to eat apricots and hazelnuts from Turkey (after Chernobyl). Japan’s reactor is much worse. Brace for future horrors says expert Dr. Helen Caldicott.

Although several months have passed since the devastating earthquake and tsunami occurred in Japan, the resulting nuclear power plant crisis, and the effect on the world environment is still far from over. The health risks caused by the meltdown of  nuclear fuel rods in at least three reactors actually melting down will be felt for hundreds of years to come.

Helen CaldicottDr. Helen Caldicott

The Fukushima nuclear plant disaster has been a clarion call for anti-nuclear activists from all over the world. One of these activists Dr. Helen Caldicott,  is not prepared to be quiet as to the impact that this latest nuclear plant disaster will have on the world environment.

Dr. Caldicott, a pediatric physician by profession and Australian by nationality, has been  involved for the past 33 years in trying to make people aware of the dangers of nuclear energy.

Dr Caldicott has been awarded 20 honorary doctoral degrees and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling. She was awarded the Lannan Foundation Prize for Cultural Freedom in 2003, and in 2006, the Peace Organisation of Australia presented her with the inaugural Australian Peace Prize “for her longstanding commitment to raising awareness about the medical and environmental hazards of the nuclear age”. The Smithsonian Institution has named her as “one of the most outstanding women of the 20th Century”.

Following the Fukushima plant disaster, Dr. Caldicott was interviewed in order to get her thoughts on the environmental affects of the meltdown of the three Fukushima reactors. Her thoughts are expressed  in the following video :


What Dr. Caldicott is trying to impress upon us is that the effects of the radiation “leakage” from this disaster are ones that will not go away in a matter of months, or even years. Some forms of radiation, she says, will last for hundreds of years and will continue to cause various forms of cancer, birth defects, and other health problems for generations to come.

She compared Fukushima to the Ukraine Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986 from which she said more than 20,000 people, many of them children, contracted thyroid cancer.  She also says that 25 years later “40% of Europe is still radioactive”.  A lot of the radiation expelled from Chernobyl came down in countries like Turkey, and as a result she believes that people should not eat food products like dried fruits and nuts that originate from Turkey.

Dr. Caldicott also told her listeners not to eat many foods grown in parts of Europe as well.

For those of us living in the Middle East, nuclear programs in both Israel and Iran should be a concern in regards to future nuclear “accidents”. And for countries like Jordan which is now soliciting tenders to build its first nuclear power plant, it might be wise to reconsider this type of energy option.

Read more on Fukushima and other nuclear plant issues:
Japan’s Nuclear “Dead Zone” Dogs and Cats
“Worst Case Scenario” Realized as Three Fukushima Reactors Melt Down
Japan Nuclear Meltdown Will Seriously Affect World Environment

Canada, Japan, Russia and France Bid to Build Jordan’s First Nuclear Reactor


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13 thoughts on “Dr. Helen Caldicott: Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown Much Worse Than Chernobyl”

  1. Diane Whitmire says:

    I hope all those who understand the consequences of nuclear and breeder reactors and the threat of them, will please sign the petition to Remove Nuclear Reactors in America by 2022 at http://www.change.org. If you agree with the petition, please sign it and pass via Facebook, Tweets, and other social blogs, etc. I’m a senior and this is the best I can do. Thank you!

  2. Maurice says:

    I would imagine it poisons both the soil and ground water; and animals and humans feel the effects for decades, if not longer.

  3. Terry says:

    Can anyone tell me what happens if the nuclear fuel enters the ground and can anything be done about it, this is a worrying factor that I can’t find any info on.
    I would like to thank Dr Caldicott for all the work she does on nuclear issues.

  4. Maurice says:

    Hi Helen,

    First of all, I feel very humbled that you read and replied to this article. I am sorry for the adverse comment made by one of the readers, but like all sites where readers comments are invited, not all are favorable, unfortunately. I agree that a lot is being “undisclosed” by the Japanese in the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown incident. But I wonder whether this might also happen elsewhere, including the USA and also Australia. Governments often try to cover things up to either allay fears from their citizens; as well as to prevent too much adverse publicity that would result in fewer tourists and other people coming to their countries and the boycotting their food and other exports. Keep up the good work and hopefully this will help spread the message regarding the dangers of nuclear energy.

  5. How dare you asteroid ,call me a coal industry shill when I wrote a definitive book on global warming and the evils of coal etc in 1992 called IF YOU LOVE THIS PLANET, which has recently been updated and published by WW Norton, and have interviewed James Hansen among many other notable scientists on coal and global warming on my weekly radio program IF YOU LOVE THIS PLANET that can be downloaded at ifyoulovethisplanet.org

  6. Maurice says:

    Is it really fear mongering, or stating the unpleasant facts about an energy power source that can have very dangerous consequences for people and animals if an accident or natural disaster occurs. Speaking of natural disasters, this almost occurred recently in New Mexico when a nuclear research facility there was in danger of being burned in a series of wildfires that were in the vicinity. Fortunately, this didn’t happen; but it could have happened.

  7. bob says:

    About the alarmist thyroid cancer statement here… what’s the cure rate for those cancers under treatment which is being provided? Could it be 99+%? Isn’t the highly effective cure for thyroid cancer the administration of high doses of radioactive iodine? Thyroid cancer patients do not suffer additional cancers from the radiation treatments used to cure them. This woman has made her life ruthlessly fear mongering and cashing in on that fear mongering. Yes radiation contamination from nuclear plants is bad… but far more radiation exposure to the public comes from the burning of coal which is naturally rich in radioactive minerals.

  8. Eric says:

    Renewable energy MUST sustain a normal society. It is dangerous to assume our lack of conservation and energy demands deserve to be sustained. We don’t NEED half of what we use. It’s not nukes vs. coal. It’s all about conservation and living within our means. This is the root of our problem and it’s a human condition which we must learn to accept.

  9. Maurice Picow says:

    This is the “brave new world” that we now live in. Just think what would be the case in the aftermath of a “dirty bomb” – or worse.

  10. Dr. Helen Caldicott is a coal industry shill. She is trying to get nuclear power plants replaced with coal fired power plants. Chernobyl put as much radiation into the environment as a coal fired power plant does in 7 years and 5 months.

    Coal contains: URANIUM, ARSENIC, LEAD, MERCURY, Antimony, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine, Silver, Beryllium, Iron, Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium, Magnesium, Thorium, Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium, Chlorine, Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum and Zinc. There is so much of these elements in coal that cinders and coal smoke are actually valuable ores. We should be able to get all the uranium and thorium we need to fuel nuclear power plants for centuries by using cinders and smoke as ore. Unburned Coal also contains BENZENE, THE CANCER CAUSER. We could get all of our uranium and thorium from coal ashes and cinders. The carbon content of coal ranges from 96% down to 25%, the remainder being rock of various kinds. See:

    “Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2” National Academies Press page 66, 331, 80, 70
    page 66 in pdf or page 49 in hardcopy: “[T]he extrapolation of dose-response data for genomic instability to radiation-induced cancers in the low-dose range <100 mGy is not warranted." 100mGy= 100 millisieverts = 10 rem.

    If I lived at Fukushima, and my house had not been damaged by the tsunami, I would not evacuate. The radiation from the reactor has not exceeded natural background radiation in many inhabited places on Earth.

    book: “Power to Save the World; The Truth About Nuclear Energy” by Gwyneth Cravens, 2007 Gwyneth Cravens is a former anti-nuclear activist.

    Page 77: Natural gas contains radon, a radioactive gas.

    Page 86: Among 80000 nuclear bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cancer rate was only 6% higher than expected. Radiation is very weak at causing cancer.

    Page 98: There is a table of millirems per year from the
    background in a list of inhabited places.
    Chernobyl: 490 millirem/year
    Guarapari, Brazil: 3700 millirem/year [=3.7 rem]
    Tamil Nadu, India: 5300 millirem/year [=5.3 rem]
    Ramsar, Iran: 8900 to 13200 millirem/year [=8.9 to 13.2 rem]
    All are natural except for Chernobyl.

    Don’t take iodine pills unless your doctor tells you to. You are not getting enough radioactive iodine [iodine131 or Iodine 129] from Fukushima to cause you any harm. There has always been natural background radiation. We date ancient mummies by the radioactive carbon they ate thousands of years ago. The half life of iodine131 is 8 days. That means that every 8 days, iodine becomes only half as radioactive. Iodine129 has a half life of 17 million years. It decays so slowly that it is almost not radioactive. Iodine 131 is the highly radioactive one. Cesium has a more dangerous half life because its half life is comparable to half a human lifetime, but cesium is not an element needed by living things. Iodine pills have side effects.

    If you live in Chernobyl the total radiation dose you get each year is 390 millirem. That’s natural plus residual from the accident and fire. In Denver, Colorado, the natural dose is over 1000 millirem/year. Denver gets more than 2.56 times as much radiation as Chernobyl! But Denver has a low cancer rate.

    Calculate your annual radiation dose:

    The Average American gets 361 millirems/year. Smokers add 280 millirems/year from lead210. Radon accounts for 200 mrem/year.


    by Ted Trainer. University of NSW, Kensington.

  11. It is good to know that Dr Helen Caldicott is making people aware that the danger of nuclear accidents are not just immediate, the health risks continue for many years. After Chernobyl 5 young men in a local area in Northern Ireland, all of whom worked out of doors, all developed unusual Lymphomas. Within 4 years all were dead – my brother being one of the cohort. As I have moved around UK in the years since, I have heard of others who suffered a similar fate, but none of whom were counted in the deaths attributable to Chernobyl. Governments and their personnel do not seem to be interested unless everyone in an area is equally affected, and are then usually far too slow to act appropriately.

    The Japanese are to be commended on the quick issue of Iodine tablets to all the children thought to be at risk. However, I suggest that these should perhaps have been provided to youngsters over a much wider area. The other thing that needs to be done immediately a nuclear accident occurs, is to spread potash (usually as Potassium Carbonate) over all the land within reach of any fallout/air that might be contaminated with radioactive Cesium. Potassium is biochemically so similar to Cesium, that providing the plants have excess potash, their uptake sites are effectively blocked to the uptake of Cesium, thus keeping them free of radioactivity. This simple action thus protects, pasture and crops and therefore grazing livestock. If this had been done in the UK after Chernobyl, then we would not have had a situation where the Welsh and Scottish upland farmers were forbidden to sell their lambs for meat for several years.

  12. Maurice says:

    I’m surprised no one has commented on this yet. People should be very concerned, in fact down right scared. For sure, lay off recently manufactured food products from Japan, including seaweed (for sushi, etc.

    1. I agree. The world needs to be tracking where the winds and currents are going to go. I want to know more about what Helen says about Chernobyl. That will give us a road map to understand the potential threats, cover-ups and consequences.

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