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Wangh, M. (1981). 1. The Psychological fallout of Surface Nuclear Testing. Am. Imago, 38(3):305-322.

(1981). American Imago, 38(3):305-322

On Aggression

1. The Psychological fallout of Surface Nuclear Testing

Martin Wangh, M.D.

The “Three Mile Island” crisis is still fresh in our memories. The issue of nuclear waste reservoirs is under debate in many places. Open concern has emerged about the physical health of those persons who were active participants in the surface nuclear testing which went on between 1945 and 1961. There are fears that many of them may have received carcinogenic doses of radiation. Medical World News reports on March 20, 1978, page 21: “agency officials (Defense Nuclear Agency) estimate that as many as 200,000 military personnel and up to a total of 300,000 persons may have been exposed to radiation at the tests.” From the first atomic test in July, 1945 until June, 1976 there were 588 American surface nuclear bomb tests. Dr. Glyn G. Caldwell, Deputy Chief of the Cancer Branch of the National Center for Disease Control, estimates that up to 2,000,000 Americans were … exposed to some degree of low level radiation. By now this figure is probably much higher, particularly if we consider exposures such as those which occurred through plant failures as in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The New York Times of April 13, 1978 speaks of the reality of lingering Strontium 90, saying that “112 residents of Bikini Island (are to be relocated) from the site of the hydrogen bomb tests of 20 to 30 years ago … (because) the level of Strontium 90 in the residents' bodies was reaching dangerous levels … Bikini Island will be off limits for 30 to 50 years.”


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