Speaker denounces nuclear dangers

By Cam Cotton-O’Brien

Around the oil-rich streets of Calgary, talk of energy resources is no strange thing. But a unique twist will be brought to the discussion as Australian Dr. Helen Caldicott comes to speak about the dangers of nuclear technology.

Caldicott is coming to Calgary to discuss the threat of both nuclear weapons and nuclear energy Oct. 6. She taught at Harvard University and practised medicine at a children’s hospital in Boston until 1980, when she quit to become a full-time nuclear opponent. Caldicott noted she was invited all over the world to speak at the time, so her decision was based on the amount of help she felt she could give.

“I had to make a decision to save the world or save my patients,” she said. “It just got more and more obvious that I couldn’t do both. The care of my patients was suffering and the issue became more and more urgent.”

Since that decision was made, Caldicott has devoted her life to articulating the dangers of nuclear technology through lecturing and penning seven books on the subject.

She is concerned about nuclear weapons and energy, noting that both technologies have the potential for incredible destruction.

“[Either] the world ends with a whimper or a bang,” said Caldicott. “The waste of nuclear energy will produce epidemics of malignancy in all future generations. [Or] we could have a nuclear war tonight, by accident or design. I actually don’t know how we’ve survived. The technology that controls them is fallible. The human beings that control them are fallible. And Russia and America still target each other with H-bombs.”

Caldicott feels that the recent escalation of tensions between Russia and the West is alarming. She remarked that of the 30,000 H-bombs in the world, 97 per cent belong to these two nations, further suggesting that only they are capable of obliterating the world.

“They are the real rogue nations threatening the world with annihilation,” she said. “Pakistan and India don’t have enough bombs to annihilate the world and cause a nuclear winter, Russia and America do. I don’t think most people realize the danger under which they are living.”

Caldicott believes the only way to end the problem is the abolition of nuclear weapons. In order for this to happen, she suggested the U.S. and Russia will have to lead by example, thereby gaining the moral authority necessary to force other nations to abandon theirs.

She argued nuclear energy produces tremendous amounts of waste that will remain harmful for a very long period.

“Half a million years,” she said. “That is criminal and wicked and medically contraindicated. [It is] far worse than smoking because smoking only kills the smoker.”

In addition to health concerns, Caldicott maintained nuclear energy increases global warming due to the vast amounts of energy required to acquire the materials and its cost.

“It is a socialized industry that cannot exist without government support,” she said. “That money takes away from the development of renewable energy.”


Leave a comment