Helen Caldicott (Australia)

Helen Caldicott is a physicist and anti-nuclear scholar in Australia. She learned that nuclear energy can lead to catastrophic consequences such as damage to the environment and human being in her childhood. Helen was in college majoring in medicine. When Helen was a university student, she informed the risk uranium mining to Australian workers’ union, specifically, workers at the lack of security measures could cause nuclear radiation injuries and sewage into rivers and pollute the water.


What really put Helen fighting against on nuclear was about Three Mile Island accident in 1979. Helen found that the local grassland is subjected to nuclear radiation pollution in her study, so the local food security was threated. Although the local government claimed that the accident did not find abnormal changes of local crops, Helen questioned that the government response; she doubted the government only wanted to maintain social stability and avoid responsibility.


Thereafter, Helen set up the Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) in 1982, the establishment of the purpose is to give greater rights of women in politics, women can own a platform to express their views. WAND is also expected to reduce militarism caused by violence and war. In the 1980s, the US-Soviet arms race was very intense, both countries used nuclear power to control or knock down the other. WAND hoping that the public raise awareness about nuclear destruction through education and speech.


Helen also assisted in the establishment of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). One of the main purposes of IPPNW is to abolish nuclear weapons, the organization emphasized the explosion of nuclear weapons and environmental health consequences and the need for legislation in order to prohibit the use of nuclear weapons.


Helen’s works “nuclear power is not the answer”, which referred to the different countries are constantly looking for new energy sources to replace oil, some people think that nuclear is cheap, clean, and safe. Helen refuted these is just a myth made up by nuclear power industry. She pointed out that nuclear power will lead to global warming. In terms of environmental and ecological aspects, the real costs of nuclear energy are very high.


Written by Angela Tam