In 1986 when Chernobyl exploded, she kept contemplating, who was to be blamed; the scientist who discovered the energy, the engineer who designed the atomic generator, the electricity company that applied the nuclear generator, the country that granted the plant or who else? And…she realized that it was HERSELF with whom the blame should lie. She knew the horror of nuclear energy, yet she had not done anything at all. So she published a book in 1988 titled ‘Life and Nuclear Power.’
Dr. Keiko Yanagisawa (1938 -), a life scientist educated in Japan and US, writer and poet, who had suffered from undiagnosed disease more than 30 years, said in the interview with Hokkaido Shimbun, our local newspaper dated Aug. 29, 2011. Keiko had published more than 50 books on life and environment issue on earth and she was about to finish her probably last script on global warming and the threat of nuclear power plant, then on March 11, 2011 Fukushima Power Plant crippled.
To begin with, she emphasizes that the life forms, including human being, and nuclear energy cannot live together. Life was born on this planet 4 billion years ago, handing down the DNA and evolving with the written information of the chromosome molecule in each cell. Since its birth, life was unceasingly fighting against nuclear radiation and ultraviolet rays coming from outer space, as these radiations cut or damage the DNA in the life forms. On the other hand, each cell is provided with restoration enzymes. These enzymes have very complicated and efficient mechanism to fix the damage by these rays. But when exposed too much radiation, even these enzymes give up their repairing tasks and the cells and soon the life is terminated. This one is acute sickness caused by high-level nuclear radiation exposure.
What happens when the radiation level is rather low? This is the problem now we are facing in Japan. Now many doctors and scientists warn that the cancer may be developed long after the low level inner exposure to nuclear radiation, in 5, 10 or even later time. Today one out of two Japanese suffers from cancer and one third of the patients die because of it. Why so many cancers? She suspects one of the causes may come from repeated nuclear bombings and tests all over the world and Chernobyl incident, later from Fukushima and other nuclear facilities. She can’t be absolutely sure of the reason as a scientist. This uncertainty is the real threat, she says. To add, the effect of radiation is higher when cells are divided, a thread state to make a copy of the DNA; children’s cell are divided much more actively and the thread status period is longer than adults. This is why we need to pay special attention to embryos, fetuses and children against nuclear radiation.
Why nuclear power plant should not be accepted, she explains:
1) There is NO nuclear power plant that causes any accident. Nobody can guarantee.
2) We leave behind the high-level nuclear radiation waste to our descendant, without knowledge of how to process the life threatening garbage but we just burry them deep under the earth; which is really a shame of us.
3) I am unable to eliminate nuclear power plants single handedly. Many people say they want to do something for people of Fukushima such as buying something from Fukushima or visiting there and such and such. It seems, she continues, more important to think about the fundamental issue; what is life. This is much better for Fukushima and our future children.
4) I repeat. Life and nuclear energy can’t survive together. The nuclear power plants have to be demolished.
For me, her message is so clear and easy to understand. Finally I see the whole view, without complicated numbers of sievert or becquerel. Thank you, Dr. Keiko Yanagisawa.
Her new book “Life and Environment. Can Human Be Survived?” has just been published in Japan.