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viewpoint

A mother’s worry

| Thursday, October 8, 2015

I certainly hope none of Notre Dame’s students were confused enough to actually take seriously the climate change lecture given by that talking-head for the nuclear industry. Ms. Cravens is a fictional writer doing what she does best — spewing nonsensical fiction.

Nuclear power is not the solution to fighting climate change. I live in Oceanside, California and less than 30 miles from my home, Cesium-137 and -134 were measured at eight becquerels per kilogram. These are the deadly contaminants flowing from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that have been devastating the west coast of the U.S.

Our ocean is almost 80 degrees now in October. I have never felt water so warm here until the last three years. I can’t even go to the beach anymore because I have little kids, who are about 50-times as sensitive to the effects of low-level radiation as adults because their cells divide more rapidly. Even natural background radiation is responsible for up to half of all irregularly inherited afflictions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, reproductive abnormalities and many more.

Nuclear power plants, even when they operate within the standards set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, regularly release radioactive particles into the air and water as part of their normal procedures. Constant exposure to low-level radiation from a nuclear plant is actually worse than receiving one extreme dose. Higher doses of radiation kill the cells. But they are killed completely, so, over time, they can eventually rebuild. Low-level radiation, like the kind we are all getting from Fukushima, mutates our cells by attacking our DNA. Ninety-nine percent of all mutations are the bad kind, not the natural selection type — the result is cancer.

Laurel Kaskurs DeFalco

Oct. 7

 

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • Johnny Whichard

    Laurel, it’s called an “el nino”. Welcome to California….shutoff the liberal propaganda….and welcome to the political reality.

  • Matt

    Lots of presumption going on by the author here. Climate change and nuclear radiation are separate issues. Just because the ocean “feels” warmer does not mean that radiation from a nuclear power plant thousands of miles away is to blame.

    I also feel sorry that the levels of Cesium measured in California were at a whopping EIGHT becquerels per kilogram, a mere factor of 12.5 below the threshold of safe levels in food in Japan. As a result of the Fukushima disaster, Japan lowered the limit to 100 becquerels per kilogram for food consumption, which in turn is six times stricter than current EU standards.

    It is estimated that as a result of the meltdown at Fukushima, an additional 400-800 additional cases of cancer will occur in the next 50 years. While any loss of life is a terrible event, 16 cases of cancer per year is far less than the 442 homicides that Japan experienced in 2011 (most recent data available).

    Finally, I would like to hear the author’s proposal for power generation if all nuclear power plants were to be taken offline in the US. In 2014, nuclear power accounted for 19.47% of the total electric energy generation in the country. I’m sure that living without electricity for one out of every five days would not be palatable to the author. Perhaps a coal plant built in the author’s backyard would be a better option.

    While the effects of low-level radiation on humans is a serious matter, nuclear energy has been proven to be one of the safest, cleanest, and efficient methods to produce electricity.