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Letters to The Nation
March 26, 2001
New York City

I would like to provide an update on some remarkable events that followed Joseph Mangano's epidemiological discovery that closing the Rancho Seco reactor in 1989 was followed by an enormous improvement in infant mortality and childhood cancer (Harvey Wasserman, "No Nukes--Better Health" Jan.29). Mangano has now found that mortality rates for all age groups in these areas have, since 1989, improved for all diseases mediated by the immune response. San Francisco, for example (only 70 miles from Rancho Seco) had in 1998 the lowest age-adjusted mortality rate of any large US county, with extraordinary declines since 1990 in all cancers, including breast and prostate, and in all infectious diseases. Even AIDS death rates by 1998 have declined to the level of 1979.

As a result of local grassroots dissemination of these facts and a generous grant from the CEO of a large San Francisco company, Mangano may soon be able to offer clinical as well as epidemiological proof of the benefits of closing reactors. As national coordinator of our Tooth Fairy Project, which has been finding ominously high levels of bone-seeking radioactive strontium (Sr90) in the baby teeth of about 2000 children born in recent years that could not be the result of past superpower aboveground nuclear bomb tests, he may soon be able to ascertain the change, if any, in the ratios of Sr90 to calcium in the baby teeth of children born before and after reactor closings.

The Nation readers can give us invaluable support by collecting baby teeth from anyone born in recent years, or even from baby boomers born as far back as the bomb test years of the 1950s, for we have found that they have the same incredibly high levels, after correction for the 29 year half life of Sr90, that prompted President Kennedy to terminate such aboveground tests in 1963.

Please visit our website, www.radiation.org,

Radiation and Public Health Project Inc.

Oak Ridge, Tenn

Harvey Wasserman has shown again how adept he is at picking out a tidbit of bad science to support his views, while ignoring the vast storehouse of real science. He claims nuclear power is causing cancers and other health effects, based on a largely debunked study sponsored by an anti-nuclear group. Not mentioned is the National Cancer Institute study that examined 90, 000 cancer deaths near nuclear plants spanning 34 years and found no connection between the operation of reactors and cancer. This is only one of several highly reputable studies that have come to the same conclusion.

Ironically. The Nation recently published Ross Gelbspan's editorial on the seriousness of global warming. Any plan to deal effectively with this potentially devastating problem must contain significant levels of nuclear energy, which produces no greenhouse gases. Even the Clinton Administration's strategy to meet the Kyoto goals required substantial electricity production from nuclear plants.

The fair-minded observer must agree that US nuclear plants have been a safe source of electricity. And as we try to find our way out of the increasingly frequent power crisis, it will probably be an important component for the foreseeable future.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Wasserman replies
Columbus Ohio

It's great fun when pro-nukers confirm the realities of global warming even while denying the devastating health and environmental impacts of their brand of radiation poisoning. No government or industry-funded will admit to the connection between nuclear power and cancer. But hidden in virtually all of them is damning hard evidence to the contrary. The cure for global warming lies in wind, solar and efficiency, not in an economically catastrophic technology that kills people and the planet.

And kudos as always to Jay Gould and the vital work done by him and his colleagues in searching out the health impacts of this failed technology. See-no-evil doesn't cut it when radiation is being dumped into our bodies--and those of our children.


Gould rejoinder to Besmann
(to be published later)

As explained in my book The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors, reviewed by Blanche Cook in the December 7, 1997 issue of The Nation, the National Cancer Institute study that found no connection between reactor emissions and cancer, compared cancer deaths in counties with reactors with cancer deaths in adjoining counties with the bizarre assumption that reactor emissions would stop at the county border!


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