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Doctor says that WHO reports are checked by pro-nuclear IAEA

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Summary of story from the Guardian, April 11, 2011

Physician and activist  Helen Caldicott has taken on UK Guardian columnist George Monbiot and other nuclear power supporters, who, she maintains, are at best misinformed and at worst distort the evidence of the dangers of atomic energy.

Soon after the Fukushima accident last month, Dr Caldicott stated publicly that a nuclear event of this size and catastrophic potential could present a medical problem of very large dimensions.

She slams the nuclear industry’s campaign about the “minimal” health effects of so-called low-level radiation, pointing out that billions of its dollars are at stake if the Fukushima event causes the “nuclear renaissance” to slow down.

This money element to their campaign is evident from the industry’s attacks on its critics, even in the face of an unresolved and escalating disaster at the reactor complex at Fukushima, she says.

The difference between external radiation, as suffered after Hiroshima and internal radiation is that the elements enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. And, she insists, the grave effects of internal emitters are of the most profound concern at Fukushima.

Contrary to many reports, she believes that no dose of radiation is safe, however small, and that includes background radiation; exposure is cumulative and adds to an individual’s risk of developing cancer.

And while some people would have us believe there is some confusion about the deaths and polluting effects caused by Chernoby, as far as she is concerned, there is not.

In 2005, The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a report attributing only 43 human deaths directly to the Chernobyl disaster and estimating an additional 4,000 fatal cancers.

The New York Academy of Sciences report estimates the number of deaths attributable to the Chernobyl meltdown to be about 980,000.

But WHO, she points out, “is under the influence of the nuclear power industry, causing its reporting on nuclear power matters to be biased.”

She says that “On 28 May 1959, at the 12th World Health Assembly, the WHO drew up an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); clause 12.40 of this agreement says:

“Whenever either organisation [the WHO or the IAEA] proposes to initiate a programme or activity on a subject in which the other organisation has or may have a substantial interest, the first party shall consult the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement.”

In other words, she writes, the WHO grants the right of prior approval over any research it might undertake or report on to the IAEA – a group that many people, including journalists, think is a neutral watchdog, but which is, in fact, as far as she is concerned, an advocate for the nuclear power industry.

And the WHO’s subjugation to the IAEA is, she says,” widely known within the scientific radiation community.”

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