August 15, 2011

On August 6th, close to 100 people attended “From Hiroshima to Fukushima to Livermore: Confronting the Two-Headed Dragon of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power” at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. At the event, co-sponsored by SF Bay Area PSR, Dr. Robert Gould spoke on the public health and environmental health impacts of nuclear weapons and nuclear power, and how money for these programs deplete resources for urgent needs. The event included music, speakers, and activities. Dr. Gould incorporated remarks by Dr. Masao Tomonaga, President of Japanese Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War on the connection between nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Dr. Tmonaga said, “We human beings, by ourselves, invented the theory and technology to create nuclear weapons and nuclear plants. For 66 years the nuclear age has continued.

Now, however, we see the beginning of its slow demise, because nuclear bombs and nuclear power plants have failed to bring safety and peace to global human society. We physicians should help them cease as early as possible.” Dr. Gould further explained that last month, Hidankyo, a group representing the 10,000 still-living survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, appealed for the first time for Japan to eliminate civilian nuclear power.  The group, which has been a vocal advocate of abolishing nuclear weapons since its founding in 1956, had not voiced concern about nuclear power until now (read NYT article on opposition).

Dr. Gould concluded with a call for a primary prevention approach that eliminates the massive dangers to our collective health, illustrated by both nuclear weapons and by climate change, from continued reliance on fossil fuels and dangerous “solutions” posed by nuclear power. “We need to end the massive subsidies to the nuclear power industry and instead invest in climate-friendly sustainable technologies, creating new green jobs in the process.” Dr. Gould said a major highlight of the event was when the attendees walked over to the Livermore Lab from the park where the event was held: they were able to communicate directly with a Japanese nuclear bomb survivor through a Skype connection projecting his image on a sheet hung on the fence on the property line of the weapons lab, and allowed our Japanese colleagues to view the audience holding candles in memorial for the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.