Monthly Archives: May 2024

Unlearned Lessons – An Urgent SOS from the Nuclear Memory Hole

Chernobyl – 1986                                                                Fukushima – 2011                                 Credit: Semana.com

By Mary Beth Brangan – EON

So Soon We Forget

I offer these thoughts because I’m told by many that people, especially young folks, have little to no memory or knowledge of these essential learnings from Chernobyl and Fukushima.  Understanding these hard lessons allows us to see through the demonic joke of ‘clean and green’ nuclear power supposedly saving us from climate change.  

Chernobyl  

April 26, 2024, was the 38th anniversary of Chernobyl, which is still considered by some to be the worst nuclear accident in history. That disaster exposed millions of people all over the planet to harmful ionizing radiation and its long-lasting humanitarian effects and severe social and political impacts contributed heavily to the collapse of the Soviet empire.    

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is about 81 miles north of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and about 12 miles south of the border with Belarus.  The disaster site, still intensely radioactive, is now in the Ukrainian war zone, compounding the risks.    

Health Consequences  

Today, 38 years after the explosion, 60% – 80% of children born in contaminated areas in Belarus and Ukraine are chronically sick, with high rates of heartbreaking genetic mutations causing disease, deformities, lowered IQ, organ failure and early death.    

Fukushima Daiichi  

March 11, 2024, marks the 13th year after Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station disaster began, precipitated by a huge earthquake and tsunami.  Because it had 3 reactor meltdowns, multiple explosions, and continuing extreme hazards at the site, many people contend it is the very worst nuclear disaster.     

There have been at least 300 cases of thyroid cancer in the relatively small Fukushima population around the melted reactors, not to mention other tragic medical and environmental results from the radiation released during and since the 2011 tragedy.    

Fukushima and Ukraine, like West Marin, California, were known for their rich farmlands and abundant organic fruits, (specially peaches), agricultural produce, cattle, and fish.  But now, their formerly famous food products are suspected as being too radioactive and are banned by many nations.  The U.S., however, allows higher levels of radioactivity in food, even baby food, and imports much of Japan’s food items judged even by Japan as too radioactive for their own consumption.   

Nevertheless, neither the Japanese nor the Ukrainian governments officially recognize the effects of the radioactive poisoning. The 65.000 thousand actual Japanese refugee victims whose lives, homes and health have been decimated by this invisible destroyer, are discriminated against socially and are being encouraged to return to their now horrifically irradiated lands!    

But this atrocity is also here in the U.S. where our government denies and covers up the effects of our extensive radioactive poisoning at thousands of locations affecting millions of people across many states.  Some examples: Native Americans living with highly contaminated water and soil from uranium mill tailings from mining for nuclear fuel; those adjacent to any of the many manufacturing sites for nuclear fuel and weapons production and their leaking and burning waste sites; downwinders from the nuclear bomb testing; people living close to the meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and the Santa Susana meltdown near Los Angeles are all officially ignored.  Cancer clusters are normal, and their suffering and contamination have been covered up and denied.   

However, right now there’s an intense effort by injured Native Americans and other U.S. citizens to get compensated for medical expenses caused by their exposures. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) bill has passed the Senate and must be passed by the House within 10 working days.  If it doesn’t pass, all support for these victims will be denied.  

Effects Here Along the West Coast of North America

Daily, tons of intensely contaminated groundwater from Fukushima have been pouring lethal radioactivity into the Pacific since March 2011.  This additional man-made radioactivity, added to that already permeating the ocean from bomb ‘testing’, has made its way to our edge of the Pacific, has been measured in the ocean water and is inevitably in our foggy marine layer along the West Coast, affecting all of us here.   

Beginning in August 2023, millions more tons of the lethally contaminated water are being released into the Pacific from tanks of water collected on site at Fukushima Daiichi. Many countries around Japan have strenuously objected to this and have sued the Japanese government. Japanese fishermen are distraught.

Why we produced our film.  

Together, these horrific ongoing DNA-destroying planetary wounds represent the still-unlearned lessons underlying our multiple award-winning feature documentary.      

We produced our documentary out of our heartache at the Fukushima disaster and to help prevent such destructive events from happening here in California.  Conditions here are like Fukushima – California’s nuclear reactors are also along the coast with rapidly rising sea levels and in earthquake/flood/tsunami zones.   

SOS – The San Onofre Syndrome: Nuclear Power’s Legacy shows the empowering saga of southern California residents who amazingly shut down leaking reactors.  They then discover to their horror that the intensely radioactive reactor fuel waste, lethal for millions of years, is being put into cement holes 100 feet from the rising ocean, inches above the rising water table and next to a popular site for international surfing competitions. The 73 canisters, only 5/8 in. thick, each contain more radioactivity than was released at Chernobyl and are corroding in the salty fog and spray.   

Alarmingly, this careless piling up of tons of mismanaged radioactive waste that’s lethal for millions of years in short term containers is a syndrome endemic to all the 93 reactors in the U.S.  Will we take appropriate action in California and throughout the U.S. now before it’s too late? 

Watch our award-winning film:  SOS, The San Onofre Syndrome: Nuclear Power’s Legacy!

URGENT Action Needed: Here is how to help get the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act passed. 


Mary Beth Brangan co-directs EON, the Ecological Options Network with James Heddle.  They directed the EON feature documentary SOS with Morgan Peterson, who also served as editor. Since its recent release SOS has won major awards in three film festivals:

  • Grand Jury Award for Documentary – Awareness Film Festival – L.A., California, U.S.

  • Best Educational Documentary – International Uranium Film Festival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Outstanding Excellence Award– International Documentaries Without Borders Festival – U.K.