Only after the last tree has been cut down.  Only after the last river has been poisoned.  Only after the last fish has been caught.  Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof." - Wingspread Statement of the Precautionary Principle.

Upcoming Events:

March 6 - 8, 2007


Dr Helen Caldicott is widely regarded as one of the most articulate and passionate advocates of citizen action to remedy nuclear and environmental crises.  She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and was the 2003 winner of the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize.  Dr Caldicott has devoted the last 35 years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age, and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction.


A renowned physician and activist, she is the co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), an organization of 23,000 doctors committed to educating their colleagues about the dangers of nuclear power, nuclear weapons and nuclear war.  International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the umbrella group for PSR, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. 


In 2001 Dr. Caldicott founded the Nuclear Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, to help educate Americans about the profound medical, environmental, political and moral consequences of perpetuating nuclear weapons, power and waste.  She also founded Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND) in the U.S. in 1980.


Dr Caldicott has been the subject of three films: Helen’s War, Eight Minutes to Midnight, and the Academy Award winning If You Love this Planet.  She has authored many books including: Nuclear Madness: What You Can Do, Missile Envy, The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush’s Military-Industrial Complex, and most recently Nuclear Power is Not the Answer.  Her forthcoming book War in Heaven: The Militarization of Outer Space is due out in early 2007.

Nuclear Power is Not the Answer 

An op-ed by Dr. Helen Caldicott

George Bush, when visiting the Pennsylvania (US) Limerick nuclear power plant on May 24, 2006 categorically stated “Nuclear power helps us protect the environment.” While it is unclear where the President obtained his scientific and medical expertise, his actual knowledge leaves much to be desired.

Contrary to industry propaganda the energy intensive process used to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel, to construct the reactor and to transport and store the intensely radioactive waste for eons of time, emits global warming gases to the atmosphere. A gas fired plant emits three times more CO2 than a similar sized atomic reactor, but as the supply of usable uranium declines over several decades, a nuclear plant will generate as much CO2 as the gas fired generator. Nuclear power therefore contributes substantially to global warming. If all electricity today was generated with nuclear power only nine years supply usable uranium is available. It is therefore a finite commodity like oil.

Wall Street and Standard & Poors are extremely reluctant to invest in nuclear power having been severely burnt in the 1970s and 80s when Three Mile Island and Chernobyl caused the cost of nuclear reactors to soar.

The 2005 energy bill allocated a massive $13 billion to this inefficient dangerous industry. A meltdown induced by terrorism, mechanical or human failure would signal the end of nuclear power and billions of invested dollars will be lost.

David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer from the Union of Concerned Scientists is not sanguine stating “It is not if but when there is a meltdown” because of lax and inefficient safety procedures overseen by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at the 103 operating US reactors.

In fact, security has virtually not been tightened at these reactors since 9/11 even though one of the intended targets of the 9/11 terrorists was the Indian Point reactors 35 miles from Manhattan. Up to 43,700 people within 50 miles would succumb to acute radiation sickness over 2 weeks and as many as 518,000 people would die of radiation induced cancer years later according to a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists.  The financial capital of the world would be rendered uninhabitable.

Operating nuclear reactors routinely emit dangerous radioactive materials into the air and water every minute of every day. The noble gases, xenon, krypton and argon are continuously released into the air, where they hover at ground level during meteorological inversion systems, to be inhaled by the surrounding populations. Fat soluble noble gases are readily absorbed through the lung and migrate in the blood to fatty tissues of the abdominal fat pad and upper thighs where they irradiate the reproductive organs with high doses of mutagenic gamma radiation.

Similarly, radioactive hydrogen, or tritium is routinely released into air and water and it also has accidentally leaked into underground water at Indian Point, at the Braidwood, Byron and Dresden reactors near Chicago and the Palo Verde reactor in Arizona. Tritium is a potent carcinogen in animal studies and causes congenital defects.  Absorbed readily through the skin, it also enters the body through the gut and lung. With a half life of 12.1 years it is radioactive for over 100 years. People living near nuclear power plants are therefore continually at risk.

But more is at stake. 30 tons of highly carcinogenic nuclear waste is manufactured yearly in each reactor. Nuclear waste is extremely radioactive and so hot that it must be continually cooled for decades, in what euphemistically are called “swimming pools” adjacent to the reactors. A terrorist attack on a swimming pool containing 10 to 30 times more radiation than the reactor could release massive quantities of radiation which would devastate surrounding communities and agricultural areas for ever.

Nuclear waste must be isolated from the environment for at least 250,000 years, a physical and scientific impossibility.  In many areas in the US including Hanford WA, Savannah River NC, West Valley NY, radioactive isotopes seep and leak into the environment, where they concentrate at each step of the food chain. Odorless, tasteless and invisible they enter the human body, and migrate to specific organs where they irradiate and mutate surrounding cells for many years. The incubation time for cancer is long – 5 to 60 years, hence the delay in exposing the medical dangers of nuclear power.

Over time however nuclear waste will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia and genetic disease in all future generations.

The medical dictum states if a disease is incurable the only recourse is prevention.

While nuclear power is a transient generator of electricity its actual legacy is and will be medically catastrophic.

Dr. Helen Caldicott is the author of Nuclear Power is Not the Answer, published in September 2006 by The New Press. She is the Founder and President of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute,

Dr Caldicott will be giving public lectures followed by book signings in

Regina at 7:00 pm on March 6th at the Education Auditorium University of Regina and in Saskatoon at 7:30 pm on March 7th at Third Ave United Church.  She will also be doing

Grand Rounds at Royal University Hospital from 12:00 to 1:30 on March 8th



For more information and a photo of Dr. Caldicott, go to:


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