Russia's war could spell worldwide nuclear disaster

By Helen Caldicott, Independent Australia, 14 March 2022

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe” Albert Einstein

How right he was. Now laced with thousands of nuclear weapons, some on hair-trigger alert, with a demonic leader invading a neighbouring country and threatening to use his nuclear arsenal, planetary life is hovering on the edge of obliteration.

The U.S., as always, standing on its self-righteous dignity, is retaliating with economic sanctions and arming NATO neighbours with murderous weapons.  It has rejected outright Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plea to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and to remove the missiles pointed at Russia in NATO countries that were liberated from the Soviet... read more

Morrison makes soothing noises about nuclear non-proliferation, but what of future governments?

Helen Caldicott, Sydney Morning Herald, September 16, 2021

In 1971, radioactive isotopes were found in the Adelaide water supply having emanated from the French atmospheric tests being conducted on the Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific. As the Australian people learnt about the dangers posed by these tests, they rose up. Thousands marched in city streets, and entire pages of letters to the editor were published about the “bloody French”. So powerful was this outcry that prime minister Whitlam took France to the International Court of Justice, which ruled the tests were illegal.

Some years later Australia decided to mine uranium. In 1977, the ACTU passed a resolution to neither mine, transport nor export uranium – which stood until Bob Hawke introduced the three -mines policy.

Forty... read more

The truth about nuclear power — neither clean nor green

By Helen Caldicott, Independent Australia, 26 February 2021

AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT of fossil fuel is used to mine and mill uranium, to enrich and fashion the nuclear fuel rods, to build the enormous concrete reactor, let alone decommission the radioactive mausoleum at the end of its active life of 40-60 years. Finally, but not least, to transport millions of tons of intensely radioactive waste to some as-yet-to-be-constructed storage site in the U.S. to be kept isolated from the ecosphere for one million years according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

We all know to our detriment that the combustion of oil, gas and coal creates CO2, the main global warming gas.

According to a definitive study by Jan Willem Storm... read more

An international tribute to nuclear-free warrior, Dr Helen Caldicott

My Six Mentors, Helen Caldicott, MD by Mary Olson, Gender and Radiation Impact Project, 1 January 2021

Helen Caldicott deserves a much greater place in our histories of the Cold War and ending the USA / USSR arms race than she generally gets. This is, perhaps, because she is powerful and a woman. A pediatrician, who in the 1970’s would not tolerate the radioactive fallout she and her patients were suffering from nuclear weapons tests in Australia, Helen and her family came to the USA. She and another physician named Ira Helfand revived what had been a local Boston organization of physicians and created a Nobel Prize winning organization called Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), which later participated in the creation of another Nobel Prize winning... read more

Small modular reactors — a radioactive idea

By Helen Caldicott, Independent Australia, 27 September 2020

AUSTRALIAN politicians are contemplating developing nuclear power for this country. In their ignorance, they are mooting “small modular reactors” (SMRs) about which they clearly know little.

To partly explain their enthusiasm here is the background story.

The so-called “nuclear renaissance” died following the Fukushima catastrophe when one-sixth of the world’s nuclear reactors closed. However, global nuclear corporations – ToshibaNuScaleBabcock & WilcoxGE HitachiGeneral Atomics and the Tennessee Valley Authority – did not accept defeat.

Their new strategy has been to develop small modular nuclear reactors without the dangers inherent in large reactors — safety, cost, proliferation risks and radioactive waste. But these claims... read more

The Lessons We Haven't Learned

by Helen Caldicott, The Progressive, August 3, 2020

My birthday is August 7, sandwiched between the anniversary dates for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (on August 6 and August 9, 1945, respectively). I was six years old when the first bomb fell. My course in life was predetermined.

On September 2, 1945, when the local fire siren suddenly blared, my teacher asked, “What is that?” and I knew: The war was over.

It had been a really scary time in Melbourne, Australia, as the Japanese had threatened to invade us. Dad dug an air-raid shelter in our back garden, and the windows were blacked out while the city’s searchlights scanned the skies at night.

Elated, I walked home on that lovely sunny afternoon picking... read more

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