Decisions on nuclear power, nuclear weapons, nuclear wastes are almost exclusively made by men.Yet the brunt of nuclear-caused cancer is suffered by women and children, as is the brunt of nuclear war, and of depleted uranium spread.

Opinion polls over many years, and in many countries, consistently show that women are opposed to nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

More women than men are concerned about health and environmental effects of the nuclear industry.

Yet they are consistently reassured by narrowly educated nuclear physicists, and other technocrats, that nuclear power is safe, and that they have nothing to worry about in regard to ionising radiation.

Decisions on nuclear power and ionising radiation. The nuclear power heirarchy is almost uniformly male, though the nuclear lobby tries hard to pretend that they have equal rights credentials by getting a few token women to show off. And, a favourite male trick, – put a woman in an untenable position – as for example, Anne Lauvergeon is put at the top of France’s rather wobbly pinnacle of nuclear expansionism – AREVA.


Breast cancer and ionising radiation Ionizing radiation has long been regarded as the most established environmental risk factor for breast cancer.

Ionising radiation from the nuclear industry affects women especially, because the breast tissue is particularly susceptible to it.

Developing fetuses are known to be especially sensitive to radiation

If you live or work close to nuclear power plants, or lived in the era of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons (1945-1980) you will also have accumulated higher doses of this radiation.

Deceptive information given to women about breast cancer. Women are repeatedly told about “genetic causes”, about “risks of obesity:. about “diet factors”, about “not having babies”, or “having a baby at a later age” even about “stress” – as causes of breast cancer. The not so subtle message is that it is THEIR FAULT – a problem caused by the individual woman, so – the only preventive actions must be those made by individual women.

The facts are otherwise. The single most proven cause of breast cancer is ionising radiation. After that, other environmental causes exist, amongst the wash of chemicals, and synthetic hormones, that pervade our environment. After that – probably some hereditary susceptability, amongst some women.

Why is this so? One could conclude that breast cancer is a growth industry. There’s money at every point in this sorry cycle – from the radiation from nuclear fuel through to the medical radiation used to detect and treat breast cancer. There is no money clearly involved in shutting down a toxic industry, and preventing millions of breast cancers.

How does ionising radiation cause breast cancer? Ionising radiation comes in several forms. for example, Gamma rays, x-rays, and some sub-atomic particles such as alpha particles and protons In ionising radiation, a tiny electron is released from an atom, and enters a body cell, hitting the DNA in the cell’s nucleus, and damaging it. The damaged DNA sends out ‘wrong’ messages telling the cell to divide in an uncontrolled manner – cancer develops.







“...the time between radiation exposure and breast cancer development is longest in young women and shortest for older women; young children do not show a detectable elevation in breast cancer occurrence for some 35 to 40 years after exposure. Radiation-induced breast cancers appear to occur later in life during the same ages when breast cancer rates, in general, begin to increase. It appears that a single exposure of sufficient dose during early life can increase breast cancer risk even 50 years later...

the relationship between radiation dose and breast cancer risk can be described by a straight line which implies that no matter how low the dose, there is some small risk associated with the exposure.

The risk of subsequent breast cancer from very high doses is lower than that which might be expected from the effects of lower doses. This is because radiation at high doses is an effective killer of cells and dead cells are not able to develop into cancer…..

Young girls are at highest risk …when a young girl is exposed to radiation, she will have menstrual cycles for several decades that might enhance the development of any underlying damage caused by the radiation. There is evidence to suggest that exposure to the immature breast during early development, and around the age of beginning menstruation, carries a higher risk than at other times of a woman’s life.

It is unclear how radiation exposure of the breast during pregnancy affects a woman’s breast cancer risk. However, a recent study of women treated for Hodgkin’s disease concluded that pregnancy might be a time of increased sensitivity of breast tissue to the cancercausing effects of radiation……”

.” John D Boyce, Jr, DSc, Scientific Director,Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors in New York State.. Ionizing Radiation and Breast Cancer Risk

Although women have rarely been part of decision-making about nuclear power, they have been at the forefront in opposing it.

Women in organisations Strongly present in anti-nuclear activities in peace, environmental, religious and civil liberties, women have also formed their own anti-nuclear organisations . e.g. Women’s International League For Peace and Freedom, Women For Peace. Women Against Nuclear Power, Women Against Nuclear Energy,

“When it comes to opposing nuclear power in Finland, the toughest and most active and conspicuous resistance has been among women. A rather small group of women working as teachers, freelance editors, authors and in rather alternative professions. Women who perfectly well are aware of the fact that they are far too radical to be promoted for high posts within traditional parties or getting well-paying jobs in some big companies. Women who are not trying to reach equality on male values. These women have kept the resistance alive, have invited foreign speakers getting through in the mass media, have arranged post-card campaigns aiming at parliamentarians, have written inserts in daily newspapers, have collected signatures from organizations worldwide against nuclear power, etc.

If women had been asked if nuclear power should be used for energy production or if nuclear weapons should be produced there would hardly be any nuclear power stations in the world and no nuclear weapons. Women represent half of humanity. Our voice must be heard! “- Ulla Klötzer WISE – Nuclear issues information service service


Below, a note on some of the courageous women who have stood out against the nuclear forces and apologies for the thousands of such women who are not mentioned here:

Dr Helen Caldicott. – Australia and The World. The single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises, Dr Helen Caldicott, has devoted the last 38 years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction. Helen Caldicott – About



Jean McSorley. – UK. A prolific writer and activist, Jean McSorley has advised government and environmental organisations, in the UK and abroad, for many years revealing the facts about Sellafield, and other UK nuclear facilities.



Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan is an international humanitarian activist and an outspoken voice on issues of world peace and justice. Today Her Majesty Queen Noor plays a major role in promoting international exchange and understanding of Arab and Muslim culture and politics, Arab-Western relations, and conflict prevention. Queen Noor | Global Zero


Ulla Klötzer – Finland. A powerful speaker and writer, Ulla Klötzer continues to oppose uranium mining, nuclear proliferation, and to expose the construction of Finlands reactor, Olkiluto OL 3 – the biggest nuclear reactor in the world.


Satomi Oba – Japan. Another leading voice for non-proliferation and disarmament was Japan’s Satomi Oba, former president of Plutonium Action Hiroshima and chair member of the international non-proliferation movement Abolition 2000. For decades before her untimely death in February 2005, Oba organized grassroots events, spoke to international groups and broke ground for other activists.


Dianne Stokes – Australia An Aboriginal elder of the Yapa Yapa clan, which owns land at Muckaty in the Northern Territory, has for years continued the fight against the Australian government’s plan to put a nuclear waste dump on Aboriginal land, – resisting enormous pressure from powerful interests and politicians Toxic feelings at proposed nuclear dump – National –


Jean Grossholtz – (USA) Professor emeritus at the Dept. of Women’s Studies, Mt. Holyoke College, Jean helped organize the Women’s Pentagon Action (1980-82) and has long been active in peace and social justice work.


Ellen DiederichGermany A peace activist for more than three decades, Ellen Diederich is Director of the German-based International Fasia Jansen Women’s Peace Archive, an extensive collection of books, print, audio-visual and artistic resources on women and militarism and women’s action for peace, world-wide, collected over 25 years.

Corazon Valdez Fabros Philippines A lawyer by profession, Corazon Fabros is Chairperson of the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (the Secretariat of the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement) and Secretary General of the Nuclear Free Philippines Coalition, which led the successful campaign to stop the nuclear power plant projects in the Philippines . Currently Philippine Coordinator of the No Nukes Asia Forum and the International Network on Military Activities and Environmental Justice.

Karen Silkwood In 1974, US anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood was killed in a car crash many suspect was deliberately caused by the Kerr McGee nuclear company.Karen Silkwood will be remembered as someone who fought an uphill and often unpopular battle against the ruthless nuclear industry. She is an inspiration to all who believe in environmental justice and workers’ rights Karen Silkwood remembered | Green Left Weekly



Much of the material here was obtained from Women and Life on Earth: English by Anna Gyorgy, Women & Life on Earth Network coordinator, English website editor. Contact: info(at)



This post is courtesy Nuclear News




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