Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Heading inland

From Broughton. We just arrived after a walk over the "mountains" in England's national park on a beautiful cool and windy day. The sights are truly wonderful looking out toward the Irish Sea and the Isle of Man. The park is different than I expected, since sheep were grazing everywhere. the mountains remind me of the peaks of the Rockies, round and green grass. We enjoyed the hike as we now enter the inland, heading for Yorkshire in a few days. We are informed that it is "alluvial" there to use Duncan's word. Severe flooding with four deaths. I hope the worst is over when we arrive.

Yesterday was blustery to say the least as we hiked around the Sallafield area, past their nuclear waste storage site near the beach and into a military weapons testing sight. We hiked several miles toward a town, when we ran into a closed pedestrian bridge. Seven mile detour would be required to get around, making a 20 mile day! No way. After overcoming our fears of nuclear radiation which is everywhere, we walked onto the broad mud flats and across the river. If the tide had been in, we would have needed a boat. Needless to say, we were cold and some of us with wet feet. At a cafe, we thought warm soup would be the ticket. The reality of a three pound price (six US dollars) convinced us otherwise. Then, our local Sallafield reject, Duncan, came to the rescue. He seems to know everyone, including the owner of the cafe, whom he convinced to give the nine of us soup! Rescued in more ways than one.

We hiked the rest of the day through an area with serious warning signs about nuclear radiation and unexploded bombs, then through some local farms where trials led us to our destination. St Mary's Catholic Church hosted us a second night despite objections from locals who don't like Greenpeace! Thank you Marilyn.

Hattie joined us from Vermont for two weeks. She has made nuclear radiation and power her basic issue. Her avid advocacy and concerted study convinced us if we weren't already that it's worse than you could expect it to be...everywhere there are nuclear power plants. Every group needs a Hattie. I don't have all her info with me, but check www.core.org (?). Peace

1 comment:

Julie said...

Hi, Bernie and peace walkers--

The NIH website has a British Medical Journal study on the web about the childhood leukemia cases in the area around the Sellafield nuclear power plant. Here's the link to the corrected article (a few numbers were incorrect, but the corrected article supports the same conclusion as before. Here are the researchers' conclusions:

"CONCLUSIONS--The raised incidence of leukaemia, particularly, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among children near Sellafield was associated with paternal employment and recorded external dose of whole body penetrating radiation during work at the plant before conception. The association can explain statistically the observed geographical excess. This result suggests an effect of ionising radiation on fathers that may be leukaemogenic in their offspring, though other, less likely, explanations are possible. There are important potential implications for radiobiology and for protection of radiation workers and their children."


Also a 2003 article from the website of NY Presbyterian begins with the following recommendation:

Potassium iodide (KI) pills should be available to everyone age 40 or younger especially children and pregnant and lactating women living near a nuclear power plant, according to a new report from a government-mandated expert panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

The panel, which is made up of nine members, including Dr. David V. Becker of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, also finds that potassium iodide can prevent thyroid cancer caused by exposure to radioactive iodine, a substance that could be released during a severe accident at a nuclear power plant. Potassium iodide will not protect the body against other types of radioactive isotopes released during nuclear-reactor incidents or those likely to be used in a so-called dirty bomb, adds the committee that wrote the report.
. . . .

I forward this because I think that could be a beginning point for the local activists to look into. It seems likely that the hospitals or governmental health agencies do stock KI--but it might be good to look into it, to find out where people could get it if they ever needed it.


Finally, radiation safety sites speak of three ways to minimize exposure to radiation--time, distance and shielding. My guess is that distance is a good way to decrease your exposure and increase your safety.

Be well. Peace and love-