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As Anniversary Nears, Atomic Bomb Survivors Speak Out Against Nuclear Power


#1

As Anniversary Nears, Atomic Bomb Survivors Speak Out Against Nuclear Power

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

As the world nears the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th, some of the individuals who survived the horror of nuclear detonation are speaking out against the continued proliferation of nuclear energy.

With strong backing from President Shinzo Abe, Japan is set to restart its nuclear power program on August 10th, beginning with the Kyushu Electric Power Company's Sendai plant in the southwestern prefecture. It will mark the first restart since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.


#2

Most of my life has revolved around Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Operation Crossroads, and nuclear "testing."
* I was eight when the war ended, nine when I was taken to the Bremerton Navy Yard to see the battered survivors of "Crossroads" tied up at the docks.
* I was almost nineteen when, as a young navyman, I was at Operation Redwing for the H-Bomb tests. The exposure nearly killed me and I have been working toward the end of nuclear weaponry, and nuclear power ever since. Japan is now about to restart their reactors, over the objections of its own people and people around the world. Has nobody learned anything from Chernobyl, TMI, Fukushima, Depleted Uranium and a whole lot more? Has safe and simple disposal of used fuel ever manifested itself? No, just more poisoning, more cancer, more profits for those who build and run these damned things.
* My heart has always gone out to the People of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Gomenasai, dozo, gomenasai!

I Have Seen the Dragon

I have seen the Dragon
Through clenched lids and arms pressed tight.
I have felt its hot breath on my back
And listened to the rumble of its voice.

I have looked upon its breath,
Glowing Amethyst, red and purple,
Climbing towards the stratosphere
To deposit its venom downwind.

I have waited in fear as my gums began to bleed
And my hair came out in clumps.
I breathed a prayer of thanks
As I began to heal.

After fifty years, our ranks are thin,
We who have seen the Dragon and survived.
Those who have died or are sickened still,
Their numbers are legion.

All we can hope for, work for, pray for,
Is that no madman will ever be allowed
To unleash the Dragon again.
For its legacy to all is death, disease and decay.

© Stephen M. Osborn
2 November 2006
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now, it is seventy years, and still it goes on...
;-})


#3

The failure of the U.S. to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons is one of America's greatest failures since WW2. Under Eisenhower the U.S. expanded its nuclear arsenal from 300 nuclear bombs to over 30,000 when he left office. No wonder that Eisenhower expressed his fear of the MIC in his farewell speech.
The world was terrified of the U.S. as they knew that the 1% in the U.S. would do anything to anyone who stood in the way of corporate dominance of the globe. Russia and China also knew that thier system of government, which threatened the wealthy interests of the West, was a target of the Neo-Con hawks of Washington. Their acquisition of nuclear weapons probably saved them from "regime change" or worse.
Now we see North Korea and Iran, also acknowledged enemies of the U.S. for their resistance to capitalism, are in the crosshairs of the U.S. military and have thought about or acquired nuclear weapons in fear of being invaded. Yet the U.S. still refuses to enter into talks with anyone at all about the elimination of nuclear weapons. Instead they use their stockpile of armagedeon missiles to threaten and blackmail those who resist the heavy boot of corporatism.
It is this same refusal by the corporate stooges in power that emphasizes more than any other foreign policy decision just how far removed the will of the people are with the will of the 1%. Unless the Democrats and Republicans can be forever buried in our past and replaced with a progressive and representative government by the people, for the people and of the people, the prospects for the survival of the U.S. as well as life itself seems to be teetering on the brink of extinction.


#4

A sad day for the world, and an unremovable stain on human morality...and on every anniversary the re-writers of history claim that those two horrendous bombs were necessary to save lives.

The obscene power of America and its military establishment means never having to say we're sorry.


#5

Did anyone ever watch "The Day After"? on TV? I watched it on TV back in the early 1980's. It was about the subject of nuclear power and its deleterious affects, but it wasn't scary enough.


#6

I wrote the following after watching The Day After and sent it to the "World Leaders" and the UN, plus to my Senators and Congressman at the time.
*Congressman" Barbara Boxer read it on the floor of the house, Hiroshima Day 1984.
* Didn't seem to do much good. By the way, the British film, Threads, is much closer to actuality. For some reason, the kitten sticks in my mind.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THERE MUST BE NO "DAY"
by
Stephen M. Osborn

Where does one begin, in responding to The Day After? For me, it can have many beginnings. I remember, as a seven or eight year old boy, looking with awe at the Bikini battered ships at the Bremerton Navy Yard. Then, I grew up in the cold war rhetoric of the late- forties and fifties.
* In 1956, as a young navy man, I was at the thermonuclear tests at Bikini, code named Operation Redwing. The first bomb exploded was, we were told, a twenty megaton plus thermonuclear device, to be detonated at an altitude of twenty thousand feet. Our observation point was to be aboard ship at a distance of thirty miles from ground zero. That is a long way; about, as far as the doctor was from Kansas City when the first bomb went off in the movie [The Day After, 1983, TV]. It is not far enough.
* Most of the crew was ranged on deck, wearing blast goggles and facing aft, away from the blast. I was not on deck as there were not enough goggles to go around. Instead, I picked a spot in a passageway, about thirty feet forward of a light well. Any light coming in would have to come from the direction away from the blast, down about a twenty foot well, then penetrate the passageway. I had my back to the well. During the final countdown, I wrapped both arms across my eyes, one over the other. I could hear the voice on the ship's intercom; 5...4...3...2...1...ZERO.
* Suddenly, I could see light, right through my arms! The heat was intense, as though I had my back to an opened furnace door. The silence was deafening. After what seemed like minutes, but was probably a few seconds, the light began to fade. As it grew dark, I eased one arm away from the other and the light was back, but again fading. When it was gone, I moved my other arm. The light through my clenched eyelids was painful, but it continued to fade and I gradually opened my eyes and began backing toward the light well. As the light continued to decrease, it finally got to the point where I could squint up the light well at the sky. The light was brilliant, the sky an intense blue. I climbed out of the well and peeked forward around the shelter of the conning tower, directly at the cloud and the, now fading, fireball.
* My first impression was of a weird beauty. The cloud was sharply defined, like a thunderhead, and had a fluorescent; amethyst colored glow, which tinged toward a dark red. It is impossible to communicate the scale of the cloud. We were thirty miles away, yet the feeling was similar to when one stands beneath a huge redwood, watching the trunk taper away above you, to be surmounted by a crown of spreading branches far overhead. At thirty miles, it was as though we were right at the base of the cloud looking up, rather than out, at it.
* We stood there in silence, looking at the cloud and quietly commenting on the colors. On the right side, close to the cloud, we could see two bright, stationary lights. They were visible for a short while, then they faded.
* Over two minutes had passed, then the voice on the intercom began the countdown for the shock wave. 5...4...3...2...1...Zero. The pressure wave at that distance was not violent; there was an increase of about one atmosphere, enough to make your ears pop; the sound was a long low rumble lasting about thirty seconds.
* The sun began to rise, lighting the outside of the cloud and overpowering the internal glow. The cloud was identifiable for much of the day, with the. top being slowly torn to rags by the jet stream.
* We steamed back to the atoll, rather sobered by the experience. We were quite curious about the mysterious lights we saw beside the cloud. About a week or so after the shot, I was speaking to one of the scientists that had been aboard. He said they also had been puzzled by the appearance of the lights. They finally concluded that what we saw were two bright stars, essentially as we would have seen them from outer space. Apparently, the heat of the explosion was so great that it literally burned away the atmosphere around the fireball. As soon as the temperature dropped sufficiently, the air collapsed back around the envelope, the starlight was attenuated and they disappeared.
* We spent, if memory serves, about six months at Bikini. Every so often, we would steam out. for a shot. Frequently, we would go out, muster on deck in the pre-dawn, the countdown would proceed, then, "The shot for today has been canceled," and we would steam back to the anchorage to try again the next morning. This might go on for ten days or more before they would finally set it off..
* Once, the wind shifted after a shot and we were battened below in the stifling heat while the ship tried to run from under the fallout. Personnel that had to go topside were decontaminated and their clothes were taken for disposal. After a couple of days, we headed for Kwajalein, some four hundred miles away, until it was "safe" to return to the atoll.
* Following one, either underwater or surface burst, the cleanup crews told of fish falling out of the coconut palms. The swimming float that had been anchored with huge concrete blocks in the lagoon was found floating at sea. Two of the blocks were found in the middle of the island.
* The final shot of the series found us eighteen miles from ground zero. The heat was incredible; though this was a much smaller bomb, possibly a tactical warhead. The shockwave jolted the whole ship backwards several inches. It felt as though my whole body was struck by a sledge hammer. The sound was one sharp crack, as though a rifle or firecracker was fired off next to my ear.
* After a few days spent dismantling the establishment on Nan Island, Bikini Atoll, we steamed for home.
* In later years, I had nightmares of the bombs going off, where I would be standing, crying, realizing that some SOB had finally pushed the button and it was the end of all things. I would wake up covered with sweat, pulse racing and face wet with tears. Gradually, that dream receded, until I saw the rockets blasting out of their silos in The Day After. I was sitting with my arm around my son's shoulder. Suddenly, I began to shake and my eyes filled with tears. Each time another took off, it got worse. I knew what was going to happen, I had been there!
* Since the program, it has been continually on my mind. Watching that reptilian Buckley, "Megadeath" Scowcroft and Kissinger sit there, speaking in Orwellian doublethink, explaining that more is less and death is peacekeeping, made me wonder how long these aging, frustrated cowboys are going to be allowed to determine how much youth and innocence is to die for this "ism" or that one, Weisel, Sagan, even McNamara, made sense. This is one fragile green and blue planet.
* Buckley and company brought to mind the lectures we got from some Bircher neighbors, when taking our children trick-or-treating. We shouldn't trick-or-treat for UNICEF because UNICEF gave milk to "commie babies!"
* There are no "commie babies" or "free world babies." There are just babies and children and youths and adults, all with their hopes and dreams. The man in the street in Moscow, London, Paris or Athens is no different from the one in New York or in Mill Valley. We are all frightened and we all simply wish to be left in peace. The Russian and the European may want it more, because they have been overrun by war at least twice this century. They know what war on the home front means, something no American has suffered on the mainland since the civil war.
* Every man, woman and child on this planet must let his government and political leaders know that nuclear terror must cease. It is no longer a viable option, if it ever was. The odds of a mistake are far too great and there is no way to retrieve the error, once an attack/counter-attack has been launched.
* By virtue of our alleged intelligence, we have assumed stewardship of this planet and all of the creatures upon it. We have shown great callousness and ignorance in the exploitation of earth's natural resources, the casual dumping of toxic wastes and the wholesale slaughter of entire species. With wisdom and patience, some of these blunders can be retrieved, but with the development of nuclear technology, we have met our destroyer, one way or the other, if we do not call a halt to it. We cannot dispose of spent fuel and refining waste in a safe manner. The cancer and birth deformation rate has risen enormously since we began using it, there is no defense against nuclear attack or terrorism and there have been few signs of sanity or good judgement among those entrusted to do our thinking for us. Papers discussing an acceptable number of megadeaths in a nuclear exchange are not of strategic value, they are obscene, a visible manifestation of insanity and immorality.
* Mankind has always had a tendency for its technology to outstrip its moral growth, It is time we begin to slow down the technical race and begin to think, not of what is expedient, or will show the greatest short-term profit, but what will benefit the planet and ourselves in the long run. What kind of agriculture will leave the land fertile and productive for a thousand years and more? What processes can be used that will leave only biodegradable wastes? Does society's existence depend on an endless flow of gadgets and novelties, designed to fall apart almost immediately? Must everything be designed to wear out in two or three years? Is it possible to recycle our mineral resources rather than continually mining more and allowing worn out products to decay, or simply rust in storage? Can't we produce crops and see that they are distributed, rather than stored to rot? Why don't we make a major effort to harness and use wind and solar energy for power and make a greater effort to reduce energy needs?
* Let us pledge to make a start by informing all world leaders that nuclear war is out. The people of this planet will take no more of fear and terror!
* Then, with this as a starting point, let us, as stewards of a fragile .planet, begin the process of healing and growing, individually and as a species, to the point where all of this will seem an horrible, impossible nightmare. A lesson to be forever remembered, but never repeated. It is up to us.

Note: Read on the floor of the House of Representatives by Barbara Boxer on Hiroshima Day 1984
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It has been over thirty years since I wrote that, but little has changed, except for the worse.
;-})


#7

The worst American, propaganda of the last 70 years, is the mantra over and over again that the nuclear holocaust and devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that murdered thousands of innocent Japanese civilians lives, saved American lives and shortened the war. President Truman could have dropped the first nuke on an empty Japanese Island with the same results.


#8

The scourge of airborne nuclear spent fuel particulates from powerplants and unknown testing and accidents (essentially "depleted Uranium"), accumulating from 1945 until now, will remain radioactive for up to 250,000 years. 250,000 years! (239 Plutonium has a half-life of 25,000 yrs X 10 yrs out, it will have a residual alpha emission)

The Japanese PEOPLE have done their homework. It's their government's doing - all along - distortions and dis-information! And the US's and Canada's and Europe's PEOPLE need to catch up!


#9

The united states of hypocrisy continues, for now, with its failing attempts at world-dominance! Yet, the World is rising to great changes; and the collapsing imperialist amerikan empire will Not be included. The empire will slide into the abyss! The suffering it has caused Will drag it down!


#10

Even worse, Japan was desperately trying to surrender. Intelligence was working with Japanese people close to the Emperor and a surrender in early September was all but agreed upon. For some reason, nobody in DC wanted to listen.
* Truman and the Joint Chiefs wanted to see how well it worked and simultaneously send a message to the Russians. So they created Hell on Earth as a demo.
;-})


#11

The loss of life and health from all the reactor accidents pales compared to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.To associate nuclear electric power generation with nuclear weapons is a non sequitur.


#12

What a country!


#13

I find it sad on this solemn occasion when we are remembering the horrific act we committed and the horror of being at ground zero that, off topic, you would try to plug the nuclear industry. To boot you are wrong. Chernobyl has surpassed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fukushima has passed Chernobyl in potential for death. It will take time to see who lives and who dies.

Speaking of dying, On 3/11 and since Fuckushima the stream of Iodine-131 followed the wind flow into the Arctic to give it ,in 2012, its first ozone hole and one of the years of greatest ice lost in the record book. Before you get all excited yes I-131 has a short half life as an ozone depletion chemical but its stable daughter is Xenon also depletes ozone. Along with the I-131 would be another radioactive gas Tritium H-3. Just the nuclear power industry helping us along in our extinction event.

So on the anniversary of the second bomb drop there will be a protest at the birth place of these dreadful devises at Los Alamos labs in N.M. Many effected by Trinity and still with us will be there as well as many who find the place a poor neighbor. You going? Already there on the other side of the fence? Once you are in, there is no leaving just like the Hotel California.


#14

The article itself is about "unplugging" nuclear power in the context of the atomic bombings of Japan. I didn't make the connection.
Where is it that you can claim that "Chernobyl has surpassed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fukushima has surpassed Chernobyl"?
I know of no evidence that Chernobyl has killed 450,000 as did the atomic bombings, according to the article. And certainly the radioactivity released at Fukushima is far less than from Chernobyl.
As for the iodine/xenon issue, that is total hooey. The amount of global warming stable Xenon chemical released from Fukushima is miniscule and you know that.
No, I won't be at Los Alamos, either inside or out.


#15

*Most of the crew was ranged on deck, ... I picked a spot in a passageway, about thirty feet forward of a light well. Any light coming in would have to come from the direction away from the blast, down about a twenty foot well, then penetrate the passageway. I had my back to the well. ... The heat was intense, as though I had my back to an opened furnace door."

So presumably all on deck were incinerated on the spot.

"It is impossible to communicate the scale of the cloud. We were thirty miles away, yet the feeling was similar to when one stands beneath a huge redwood, watching the trunk taper away above you, to be surmounted by a crown of spreading branches far overhead. At thirty miles, it was as though we were right at the base of the cloud looking up, rather than out, at it."

The sight slope to the top of the cloud would have been less than 5 degrees above horizontal at that point. Later in the day, the sight slope might have been around 15 degrees to the upper reaches as it mixed into the jet stream zone. Basic geometry. It is not unusual for emotional memories to be inaccurate.

"On the right side, close to the cloud, we could see two bright, stationary lights. They were visible for a short while, then they faded. ... We were quite curious about the mysterious lights we saw beside the cloud. About a week or so after the shot, I was speaking to one of the scientists that had been aboard. He said they also had been puzzled by the appearance of the lights. They finally concluded that what we saw were two bright stars, essentially as we would have seen them from outer space. Apparently, the heat of the explosion was so great that it literally burned away the atmosphere around the fireball."

No real scientist would have ventured such a "theory". Not only is it the burning away the atmosphere part nonsensical, but you would still be looking through the 30 miles of atmosphere between you and the blast, and presumably another 30 or more from the blast to the upper reaches of the atmosphere on the other side.

"As soon as the temperature dropped sufficiently, the air collapsed back around the envelope, the starlight was attenuated and they disappeared."

Even if you could evacuate a sphere of air a mile in diameter, that would reduce atmospheric dimming by less than 2%.

"We cannot dispose of spent fuel and refining waste in a safe manner."

We have managed the radioisotopes of nuclear power spent fuel more effectively and more safely than we have the radioisotopes used in medicine. Are you next going to write a letter describing your nuclear bomb experiences as you rail against the medical uses of radioisotopes and radiation?

And the most you can say is that we have not disposed of spent fuel yet. That doesn't mean it cannot be dealt with safely (and even productively).

"The cancer and birth deformation rate has risen enormously since we began using it"

Organizations which specialize in cancer research have looked at claims of a connection between nuclear power and cancer and it appears the only ones who can find any significant correlations are anti-nukes who employ rather creative methods of data selection.

"It is time we begin to slow down the technical race and begin to think, not of what is expedient, or will show the greatest short-term profit, but what will benefit the planet and ourselves in the long run."

That's one view. Another is that we should develop technology which will benefit the planet and ourselves in the long run.

"It has been over thirty years since I wrote that, but little has changed, except for the worse."

So it would seem that merely saying "it is time" was not enough to convince everyone to adopt your prescription 30 years ago. If it didn't work then, has anything changed which would give you optimism that it will work now?


#16

"I find it sad on this solemn occasion when we are remembering the horrific act we committed and the horror of being at ground zero that, off topic, you would try to plug the nuclear industry."

I find it laughable that there are those who would try to hijack this solemn occasion to attack something which has nothing to do with this solemn occasion.

"On 3/11 and since Fuckushima the stream of Iodine-131 followed the wind flow into the Arctic to give it ,in 2012, its first ozone hole and one of the years of greatest ice lost in the record book. Before you get all excited yes I-131 has a short half life as an ozone depletion chemical but its stable daughter is Xenon also depletes ozone."

Okay, let's see how many things are wrong with this. First, the anomalous ozone hole was in 2011, not 2012. Second, it was in March of 2011, and by April it was gone. Third, how much Fukushima Xenon would you estimate made it into the Arctic circle by that time? Because there would have been way more than 300 thousand metric tons of naturally-occurring Xenon in the Arctic atmosphere before March, 2011. Fourth, Xenon is an inert noble gas. Not only that, it is a heavy noble gas. How does a heavy inert gas deplete ozone in the upper reaches of the atmosphere? Fifth, what would a hole in the ozone have to do with ice loss? And sixth, we already have a vastly more likely explanation for that ozone hole and have had for more than two years.

http://www.livescience.com/27824-arctic-ozone-loss-nasa.html


#17

Simply, I-131 was produced on 3/11. It was injected to multiple levels of the atmosphere and traveled with winds to the arctic. I-131 is an ozone depleting chemical and so is xenon. Ozone holes allow clear access to earth from solar radiation. Solar radiation melts ice but not as much as it heats water. Think albedo. Its simple.


#18

"Simply, I-131 was produced on 3/11."

How much do you think was produced?

"It was injected to multiple levels of the atmosphere and traveled with winds to the arctic."

How was it "injected" into multiple levels of the atmosphere? And what you seem to be saying was that this iodine was mixed into a large air mass. I-131 has a half-life of 8 days, so a lot of it is going to disappear in transit. And presumably a large portion of the iodine went to places other than the arctic. So what quantity do you think made it to the arctic before decaying? And how does that amount compare to the several thousand metric tons of naturally occurring iodine in the arctic atmosphere?

"I-131 is an ozone depleting chemical"

As is naturally-occurring iodine.

"and so is xenon."

Do you have a cite for that? (Let me guess--that came from some crank anti-nuke site.)

And how much xenon would there have been relative to the 300,000 metric tons which were already in the arctic atmosphere?

"Ozone holes allow clear access to earth from solar radiation."

Ozone is transparent to sunlight except for almost entirely blocking the UV-B band (280–315 nm).

"Solar radiation melts ice but not as much as it heats water."

The amount of heat energy carried in the UV-B band is less than half a percent of the overall energy of sunlight--most of which is found in the lower frequency wavelengths. So what we saw in 2011 for a few weeks around the Spring equinox was a 40% reduction in the arctic ozone layer direcly over the pole, but barely a 10% reduction averaged over the whole arctic circle. But at that time of year, the maximum elevation of the sun above the horizon at the arctic circle is only 23.5 degrees. At that angle, sunlight is still passing through 2.5 times as much ozone layer as when the sun is directly overhead, so even a 40% reduction takes that down to 1.5 times the near-total UV-B blockage that we'd get with overhead sunlight coming down through an undiminished ozone layer. And that's down at the arctic circle. Towards the polar regions, the sun would have been just barely above the horizon at its highest. The net difference in solar heat reaching polar ice due to this ozone thinning would have been so close to zero that ordinary weather and clouds would have had many times the effect on the net solar heat arriving. And the point of greatest ice loss in the arctic wouldn't come for another half a year after these few weeks. And the 2011 ice loss was topped by the 2012 record, when there was no ozone hole.

"Think albedo. Its simple."

Having simple thoughts and beliefs in no way ensures that those thoughts and beliefs are correct.