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Question marks, the elephant in the room…

…and the refusal of nuclear power defenders to consider what has happened to people and the environment since Fukushima and Chernobyl

San Francisco BayView, June 25, 2011 — By Janette Sherman and Joseph Mangano

By concentrating only on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) data – incomplete at best – and ignoring the on-going radioactive releases from Fukushima, it is apparent that the pro-nuclear forces are alive and active.

In the recent article published on June 9, 2011, in the San Francisco Bay View, there were two question marks in the title: “Is the Dramatic Increase in Baby Deaths in the U. S. a Result of the Fukushima Fallout? How Can we Find Out?” In the Counter Punch article published in the weekend edition on June 10-12, 2011, again there was a question mark at the end of the title, “Is the Dramatic Increase in Baby Deaths in the US a Result of the Fukushima Fallout?” The question marks were intended to stimulate interest and prompt demand for governments – Japan and the U. S. at least – to provide definitive and timely data about the levels of radioactivity in food, air and water.

We received many responses, some in support of our concerns and some critical about how we used CDC data, including outright ad hominid attacks accusing us of scaremongering and deliberate fraud.

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Fukushima and the Nuclear Establishment: The Big Lies Fly High

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, has focused on investigative reporting on energy and environmental issues for more than 40 years. He is the host of the nationally-aired TV program Enviro Close-Up ( and the author of numerous books.

He writes for

The global nuclear industry and its allies in government are making a desperate effort to cover up the consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. “The big lie flies high,” comments Kevin Kamps of the organization Beyond Nuclear.

Not only is this nuclear establishment seeking to make it look like the Fukushima catastrophe has not happened—going so far as to claim that there will be “no health effects” as a result of it—but it is moving forward on a “nuclear renaissance,” its scheme to build more nuclear plants.

Indeed, next week in Washington, a two-day “Special Summit on New Nuclear Energy” will be held involving major manufacturers of nuclear power plants—including General Electric, the manufacturer of the Fukushima plants—and U.S. government officials.

Although since Fukushima, Germany, Switzerland and Italy and other nations have turned away from nuclear power for a commitment instead to safe, clean, renewable energy such as solar and wind, the Obama administration is continuing its insistence on nuclear power.

Will the nuclear establishment be able to get away with telling what, indeed, would be one of the most outrageous Big Lies of all time—that no one will die as a result of Fukushima?

Will it be able to continue its new nuclear push despite the catastrophe?

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Is the increase in baby deaths in the northwest U.S. due to Fukushima fallout? How can we find out?

San Francisco BayView, June 9, 2011
Janette D. Sherman, MD, Joseph Mangano, MPH, MBA

U.S. babies are dying at an increased rate. While the United States spends billions on medical care, as of 2006, the U.S. ranked 28th in the world in infant mortality, more than twice that of the lowest ranked countries. (See Table 20, page 131, “Health, United States, 2010,” issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and the National Center for Health Statistics in February 2011.)

The recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates that eight cities in the northwest U.S. – Boise, Idaho; Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; plus the northern California cities of Santa Cruz, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose and Berkeley – reported the following data on deaths among those younger than one year of age:

4 weeks ending March 19, 2011: 37 deaths (average 9.25 per week)
10 weeks ending May 28, 2011: 125 deaths (average 12.50 per week)

This amounts to an increase of 35 percent – the total for the entire U.S. rose about 2.3 percent – and is statistically significant. Of further significance is that those dates include the four weeks before and the 10 weeks after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. In 2001 U.S. infant mortality was 6.834 per 1,000 live births, increasing to 6.845 in 2007. All years from 2002 to 2007 were higher than the 2001 rate.

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Chernobyl: A Million Casualties

EnviroVideo presents Enviro Close-Up with Karl Grossman. Dr. Sherman is interviewed on the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl meltdown.

The video is also available with Japanese subtitles:

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Chernobyl: Consequences of the catastrophe 25 years later

San Francisco BayView, April 27, 2011
by Janette D. Sherman, M.D., and Alexey V. Yablokov, Ph.D.

Editor’s note: The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists asked Dr. Sherman, recognized worldwide for her expertise on Chernobyl, to write this article last year, then rejected it just before deadline, probably considering it too alarming. In it, she reports the widespread expectation of another nuclear power plant failure and the catastrophic consequences. Now, a few months later, the world commemorates the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl while watching the Fukushima meltdown.

For more than 50 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have abided by an agreement that in essence allows them to cover each other’s back – sometimes at the expense of public health. It’s a delicate balance between cooperation and collusion.

Signed on May 28, 1959, at the 12th World Health Assembly, the agreement states:

“Whenever either organization proposes to initiate a programme or activity on a subject in which the other organization has or may have a substantial interest, the first party shall consult the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement,” and continues: The IAEA and the WHO “recognize that they may find it necessary to apply certain limitations for the safeguarding of confidential information furnished to them. They therefore agree that nothing in this agreement shall be construed as requiring either of them to furnish such information as would, in the judgment of the other party possessing the information, interfere with the orderly conduct of its operation.”

The WHO mandate is to look after the health on our planet, while the IAEA is to promote nuclear energy. In light of recent industrial failures involving nuclear power plants, many prominent scientists and public health officials have criticized WHO’s non-competing relationship with IEAE that has stymied efforts to address effects and disseminate information about the 1986 Chernobyl accident, so that current harm may be documented and future harm prevented.

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Interview with Chernobyl Cleanup Survivor

Natalia Manzurova, one of the few survivors among those directly involved in the long cleanup of Chernobyl, was a 35-year-old engineer at a nuclear plant in Ozersk, Russia, in April 1986 when she and 13 other scientists were told to report to the wrecked, burning plant in the northern Ukraine.

It was just four days after the world’s biggest nuclear disaster spewed enormous amounts of radiation into the atmosphere and forced the evacuation of 100,000 people.

Manzurova and her colleagues were among the roughly 800,000 “cleaners” or “liquidators” in charge of the removal and burial of all the contamination in what’s still called the dead zone.

She spent 4 1/2 years helping clean the abandoned town of Pripyat, which was less than two miles from the Chernobyl reactors. The plant workers lived there before they were abruptly evacuated.

Manzurova, now 59 and an advocate for radiation victims worldwide, has the “Chernobyl necklace” — a scar on her throat from the removal of her thyroid — and myriad health problems. But unlike the rest of her team members, who she said have all died from the results of radiation poisoning, and many other liquidators, she’s alive.

AOL News spoke with Manzurova about the nuclear disaster in Japan with the help of a translator.

Click here to read the interview.

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Documentary Film: Life in the Dead Zone

Twenty-five years ago, the core of Nuclear Reactor #4 exploded at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26, 1986 in Soviet Ukraine. The horrific disaster was the worst in history causing fires, a nuclear meltdown, and sending out a radioactive cloud that blanketed Ukraine, Belarus, Scandinavia and Western Europe. The official Soviet death toll was 31 people; however the more truthful toll is over a million worldwide and well over 2.4 million Eastern Europeans are still suffering various health problems from exposure that is most probably linked to this disaster.

The daily horrors of Chornobyl are experienced firsthand by the few now elderly villagers who returned after the explosion to live in their contaminated irradiated homes surrounding the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Their testimonies are the heart of our documentary film project, Life in the Dead Zone, which we continue to create so that the world may never forget nor yet again repeat the horrible mistakes of Chornobyl.

Sadly, in light of the growing devastating radiation fallout the people of Japan are now experiencing after the earthquake and tsunami there, we feel our film project is needed more than ever.

Thanks to generous donations by YOU, our supporters, we have progressed far in our documentary project, and we are pleased to share our latest trailer on our website at and on YOUTUBE and Vimeo. We are also connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Contributions are still needed for our next film shoot this summer. Please take this moment to remember the Chornobyl tragedy by helping us return to the Zone to film the remarkable people who are still suffering from the radiation fall-out Chornobyl perpetrates to this day.

Please visit our updated website at: and make a contribution online or make out your checks to our non-profit sponsor organization:

AWAKENING/Art and Culture
Wheat Street Productions, Inc.
P.O. Box 898, Apopka, FL 32704-0898

Please earmark the check as: CHORNOBYL FILM. All donors will be listed on our website and on the film credits.

Thank you in advance for your generous support in helping us reach a global audience and spreading awareness about the daunting lessons of Chornobyl and the intrepid women defiantly living in the shadow of the world’s worst nuclear power accident.

Diakuyu! Thank you!
Irene Zabytko
Producer, Co-Director, Writer
Please send correspondence to:

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Dr Sherman Interviewed on Democracy Now!

Dr. Sherman is interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! 

Chernobyl Catastrophe: 25th Anniversary of World’s Worst Nuclear Accident

Considerations on the 25th Anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster in the context of current events [Fukushima Disaster]

Each is a major public health and environmental disaster, and while Chernobyl occurred 25 yeas ago, it is not over, nor will Fukushima be over any time soon. Unless the laws of biology, chemistry and geography change, what we have learned from Chernobyl will apply to people exposed to the radioactive emissions from Fukushima.

1. Radiation was distributed around the entire northern hemisphere, with “hot spots” in some areas.
2. There will be a marked increase in thyroid diseases in general and thyroid cancer specifically.
3. There will be an increase in birth defects in humans and in animals.
4. There will be an increase in heart disease, brain damage, and other illnesses, especially among the clean-up workers (called “liquidators” at Chernobyl.)
5. The onerous agreement between the WHO and IAEA, signed into effect in 1959, remains a barrier to information and to protection of public health.
6. There was a delay in declaring an evacuation zone.
7. There has been an attempt to minimize the effects of the radiation, emphasizing whole-body external doses, while ignoring the more important exposure to radioactive isotopes that are absorbed by inhalation and ingestion.  These include I-131, I-129, Cs-137, Sr-90, various isotopes of plutonium and uranium as well as other radioactive emissions.
8. The governmental and industry spokespersons have ignored the BIER report that there is no safe level of exposure to radioactivity.  Every exposure is cumulative and can result in genetic damage, cancer, and other damage to health.

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Is the Fukushima nuclear plant breakdown worse than Chernobyl?

Is the Fukushima nuclear plant breakdown worse than Chernobyl?

Dr. Sherman writes for the San Francisco BayView Newspaper

A little over six months ago I wrote: “Given profound weather effects (earthquakes, floods, tsunamis etc.), human fallibility and military conflicts, many believe that it is only a matter of time before there is another nuclear catastrophe. Nuclear fallout knows no state or national boundaries and will contribute to an increase in illnesses, decrease in intelligence and instability throughout the world. The economic costs of radioactive pollution and care of contaminated citizens are staggering. No country can maintain itself if its citizens are economically, intellectually, politically and socially impoverished.”

(My submission, which had been requested by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, was ultimately rejected … too alarmist?)

While thousands of miles and 25 years separate the sites and the events that led to the catastrophes at Fukushima and Chernobyl, the effects will be very similar – and will remain so for years to decades to centuries.

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Dr Sherman to Speak at Ukranian Embassy April 21

Lesson From Chernobyl: 25 Years Later
Thursday, April 21, 2011
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Reception to follow 6:00 PM to 7:30PM

Embassy of Ukraine
3350 M Street Northwest
Washington D.C., DC 20007

Global Green USA and the Embassy of Ukraine, in cooperation with Physicians for Social Responsibility, invite you to analyze the significant challenges people continue to face in the aftermath of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986, one of the major tragedies of the 20th century. The meeting will also discuss how recent events in Japan are a stern reminder that the international community has disregarded many of the important lessons from Chernobyl.

The event will include expert speakers and participants from a variety of relevant fields including nuclear engineering, environmental affairs, public health, arms control and nonproliferation, government, academia, private industry, and the NGO community.

Introductory remarks by:
Ambassador Olexander Motsyk (Embassy of Ukraine)
Paul Walker (Global Green USA)

Arjun Makhijani (Institute of Energy and Environmental Research)
Jeffrey Patterson (Physicians for Social Responsibility)
Janette Sherman (Editor of Chernobyl – Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment)
Natalia Mironova (Movement for Nuclear Safety, Russia)
Edwin Lyman (Union of Concerned Scientists)
Sharon Squassoni (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
Damon Moglen (Friends of the Earth)
Thomas Cochran (Natural Resources Defense Council)

For Meeting Agenda please visit Seating is limited. Please RSVP by Tuesday, April 19, to Caitlin Doughty at Provide: Your Name, Title, Affiliation. Bring your picture ID with you.

Global Green USA, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, is the US affiliate of Green Cross International founded by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993. The “Security and Sustainability Program” (known formerly as the “Legacy of the Cold War Program”) is an international partnership with Green Cross Switzerland and Green Cross Russia to facilitate the safe and timely elimination of weapons stockpiles and related systems globally and to promote international nonproliferation efforts.

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