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SHELL BLUFF, Ga. — Life here in the farming communities along the Savannah River demands an uneasy trust with all things nuclear.

And in recent decades, that trust has been fraying.


One woman has stopped drinking her tap water because it smells like sewage. Another has lost too many relatives to cancer. A third wonders why hummingbirds no longer flock to her yard. All suspect the blame lies with the two giant institutions that dominate this rolling green landscape — a federal nuclear reservation and a massive nuclear power plant that sends steam billowing from two cooling towers as tall as skyscrapers.

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  • Because this is an entirely quantifiable issue, why not purchase a batch of inexpensive geiger counters and distribute to the community?

    A tangible sense of connection to the data might be more effective than referring to a difficult to interpret results table. It could help turn an abstract and subjective fear into a reassuring number.

  • French and German studies indicate higher rates of leukemia for children living near nuclear power plants. The well respected 2007 German KiKK study found children under age five living near nuclear power plants had over twice the normal rate of leukemia.

    All nuclear reactors must release radionuclides just to operate.

    Nuclear power plants release many forms of radiation into the environment, including tritium. Tritium is often downplayed as less harmful than other radionuclides. However, a large number of experiments with animals and cell cultures show that exposure to tritiated water results in mutations and cell disruptions that can lead to the health effects possible for ionizing radiation cancer, heritable genetic effects, and reproductive and developmental effects.

    Because tritium has physical properties that are similar to hydrogen’s, it acts much like hydrogen in the environment and the human body. Like hydrogen, it can be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.

    See government and scientific sources at

    At PG&E’s Humboldt Bay nuclear plant a former employee found elevated levels of radiation in wells. He was instructed to lie.

    I spoke with a former NRC Commissioner about getting on-line radiation data, rather than the annual reports from the utilities. My request went on deaf ears.

  • There is no safe exposure to radiation, as every BEIR report has stated. All nuclear facilities release radiation into the environment. People will not trust science if the “truth” is tainted by agendas. Scientists set arbitrary levels and then tell people they’re safe. No wonder there is distrust.

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