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EMF Studies

23 October 2012

At Fukushima, the Lessons of Chernobyl Are Being Ignored

Dr. Michel Fernex
In September 2012, 18 months after the Fukushima catastrophe, Japan announced the progressive abandonment of nuclear power. All possible measures will be taken to cease production of nuclear energy during the 2030 decade. It has taken a terrible nuclear disaster for a government and a nation to wake up to the truth of the very serious impact on people’s health and the environment for generations to come. Yet the facts are still being covered up with silence and lies, and the lessons learned from Chernobyl, ignored.

Dr. Michel Fernex, Faculty of Medicine, University of Basel and member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recently made a ten-day trip to Japan. During his visit, he met with members of the Faculty of Medicine in Fukushima who were unaware of the medical conditions linked to radioactive contamination. These doctors were “surprised” to be finding cases of myocardial infarction, diabetes and eye disease among young patients, the same pathologies that were being seen among people affected by Chernobyl.   On his return, Dr. Fernex denounced the cover-up regarding contamination caused by the nuclear disaster, including at the University of Fukushima, which was told “not to mention nuclear issues”. Only one young ecology professor, who has received threats, is attempting to carry out studies on the effects of the disaster on children.

At Fukushima, the Lessons of Chernobyl Are Being Ignored
Interview by Elisabeth Schulthess  with Dr. Michel Fernex, and published 24/07/2012 in L’Alsace 
http://www.lalsace.fr/ (translated from French) 

Returning from a ten-day trip to Japan, Dr. Michel Fernex denounces the silence and the lies which threaten those people contaminated by the disaster of Fukushima.

What did you learn from your meetings with professors from the Faculty of Medicine, Fukushima ?
I met four professors from the university, working in the departments of cardiology, urology, internal medicine and ophthalmology: doctors who all seem unaware of the medical conditions that are linked to contamination. They were very surprised to be finding cases of myocardial infarction, diabetes, and eye diseases among young patients. I told them about Professor Bandajevsky’s work in Gomel, in collaboration with the independent Belrad Institute, among people affected by Chernobyl. These studies have established the links between contamination – particularly by caesium 137 – and such pathologies as these.

A directive was issued by the University of Fukushima not to mention nuclear issues. Only one young ecology professor is attempting to carry out studies on the effects of the disaster on children. He has received threats. The majority of academics are toeing the line, and are ‘looking the other way’ for the sake of their careers: this is very serious. A country as strong in matters of research as Japan, should be thoroughly investigating the genetic alterations induced by the contamination and developing antimutagenic agents to reduce genetic abnormalities that will be passed on from generation to generation.

Thyroid diseases have already appeared, but cancers have a latency period and will only appear in four years time, as will brain cancer in children – later in adults. The number of babies with low birth-weight is increasing. The number of female births is down by 5% because the female embryo is more vulnerable. The increase in neonatal diseases and Down’s Syndrome is still being kept secret.

What is life like for the people living in the contaminated areas today ?

I met women now living in Kyoto, who had been evacuated from their homes, who have not been informed of the risks they face or what precautions to take, and were not receiving clean food. In the city of Fukushima, people remain trapped in their homes, and no longer work in their gardens. Radioactivity is excessive, even in schoolyards where the surface soil has been removed. The government wants to send families who are at present in safe areas back to their original neighbourhoods which are still highly polluted.

In rural areas, small farmers who live self-sufficiently, are eating contaminated rice. Rice that they can no longer sell. The peasants are ruined. They need pectin to block the uptake of radionuclides and accelerate their elimination.

Apple pectin ?

Experience from Belarus shows that courses of apple pectin and vitamins taken for three weeks can reduce the burden of caesium, thus reducing tissue damage. These treatments can be renewed every three months and must be accompanied by safeguards in the selection and preparation of food to protect children in particular. The Japanese authorities have failed to provide this information on what preventative measures can be taken. On the other hand, the Japanese translation of the Small Practical Guide to Effective Radio-protection, written by Vladimir Babenko of BELRAD, has been widely sold in Japan.

In other words, the lessons of Chernobyl have not been understood by the authorities ?

No. After the disaster, stable iodine was not distributed within the first three days. It was a serious mistake not to take this simple preventative measure which prevents thyroid disease and suffering. The evacuation was delayed, just as at Chernobyl. Beyond 30 km, there was no evacuation, and the people who left voluntarily will not receive compensation. International rules on Radiological Protection were not followed: the limit on permissible doses of radiation was increased, even for children who are a hundred times more sensitive to radiation than adults. The Soviet authorities had refused to exceed these dose limits, but the Japanese authorities agreed to it, under the influence of the nuclear lobby in the form of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], there to save the nuclear industry rather than the people. And WHO was completely out of the picture.

And yet dosimeters have been distributed to children ?

The dosimeter gives an idea of ​​external irradiation, but not of the load of artificial radionuclides in the body. Chronic internal radiation is ten times more pathogenic than external doses. Internal contamination needs to be measured on a regular basis and advice given to families on how to live, eat, dress in contaminated areas. This is not being done. This is criminal.

What led you to go to Fukushima ?

My impertinence. A few months ago, after reading an article in the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Daily News, I sent them a long article, to answer, point by point, those statements that I considered to be false. My response was published in its entirety and made such a stir in Japan that the Japanese, in particular victims’ associations, invited me to do a lecture tour. I could see how hard the nuclear lobby is pressing for restarting the reactors while the victims are abandoned.

Article published on IndependentWHO site, 6 August 2012

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