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Caldicott Blasts Nuclear Development

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

"You must take total responsibility for saving the human race onto your own shoulders. Every waking minute you must fight against nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Nothing else matters," Helen Caldicott, a leading authority on the carcinogenic effects of nuclear power told a small audience at the Harvard Lutheran Church last night.

Caldicott, speaking at a meeting sponsored by the Clamshell Alliance, outlined the dangers of nuclear power, and related her experiences in organizing Australian labor unions against the mining of uranium.

Caldicott said companies in the nuclear power industry haven't "the slightest idea" of how to dispose of the highly carcinogenic nuclear wastes that United States reactors produce in large quantities each year.

"We are dealing with substances which must be guarded by incorruptible guards for half a million years," she said.

Even a small leak would release radioactive waste that would persist in the environment, causing cancer and birth defects into the indefinite future, she added.

Although Caldicott vividly described the probable horrors of nuclear war, she said even a conventional war would be disastrous in a country possessing nuclear power plants. "If there had been power plants in Europe when World War II began, Europe would still be uninhabitable today," she said.

Caldicott urged the audience to begin teaching Americans about nuclear power, and related her own educational efforts in Australia.

In 1975, Caldicott wrote letters to every major trade union in Australia requesting an opportunity to speak to them about the medical dangers of uranium mining.

"In ten minutes I scared their pants off," she said.

After a two-year lecture campaign by Caldicott and her associates, the Council of Trade Unions, which comprises 75 per cent of the Australian work force, voted to stop all uranium mining unless a national referendum on the subject were held within a year.

"If you get the workers on your side, the government is powerless," Caldicott said.

Caldicott outlined a program for mobilizing Americans against nuclear energy and nuclear bombs, which would include monthly protest marches, a massive publicity campaign and teach-ins at colleges, high-schools and churches.

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