Doctors call for international peacekeepers


A group 45 physicians, all of them members of the 1967 class of Harvard Medical School, have called for international peacekeepers to be sent to Ukraine, under a ceasefire, to safeguard the country’s 15 nuclear reactors. The letter was submitted to media outlets. (The letter was released on February 28 but other signatories not noted here may subsequently join.)

It reads:

We, the undersigned physicians, are very concerned about the danger posed to the world by Ukraine’s 15 nuclear power plants.

As Russian missiles and bombs rain on Ukraine, there could be a hit on a reactor, or an act of sabotage, or an accident because the country’s resources are spread too thin. The threat of allowing a meltdown could be used to blackmail Ukraine into submission.

Chernobyl, the Ukrainian nuclear reactor which melted down in 1986, continues to pose a threat to all of Europe. Nuclear accidents are an international problem, and the possibility in Ukraine merits an international intervention

We call for a ceasefire, during which international peacekeeping teams would be put in place to operate and guard Ukraine’s nuclear reactors. The airspace above them should be designated as no-fly zones, and they should be brightly illuminated so that ground fire knows to avoid them.

Bennett Ramberg, an expert on nuclear weapons, wrote in an op-ed for Project Syndicate last week:

“Of all the obvious dangers that come with war, one of the most far-reaching in the current Russia-Ukraine conflict has been woefully underappreciated. Even if commanders took pains to avoid striking Ukraine’s 15 nuclear power reactors, that might not be enough to avoid a catastrophe. “The reactors present a daunting specter. If struck, the installations could effectively become radiological mines. And Russia itself would be a victim of the ensuing wind-borne radioactive debris,” Ramberg observed.

“Were a reactor core to melt, explosive gases or belching radioactive debris would exit the containment structure. Once in the atmosphere, the effluents would settle over thousands of miles, dumping light to very toxic radioactive elements on urban and rural landscapes. And spent nuclear fuel could cause further devastation if storage pools were set afire.”

Nuclear radiation is in a category by itself when it comes to weapons of mass destruction.  This is because it attacks the DNA of all living creatures, and remains in the environment for millions of years.

As physicians, we feel it is our duty to bring the imminent danger of a nuclear meltdown from a damaged Ukrainian reactor to public consciousness, and urge that steps be taken by the international community to safeguard them.

We also strongly condemn Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons against the West in retaliation for economic sanctions. Any use of nuclear weapons could easily lead to all-out nuclear war, ending life on planet earth as we know it.

The signatories are: Carol Wolman, MD (pictured on YouTube during a presentation for Pressenza), Donald Putnoi, MD, Lawrence Gelb, MD, Mona Bennet, MD, Karl Singer, MD, Polly Walker, MD, James Kahn, MD, William Mitch, MD, Richard Diamond, MD, Arthur Siegel, MD, Stephen Stein, MD, Bill Bernet, MD, Gordon Weir, MD, Richard Reiling, MD, James Gordon, MD, Mitch Gail, MD, Anton Schoolwerth, MD, David Kumpe, MD, Lawrence Phillips, MD, Thomas Gutheil, MD, Gerald Rogell, MD, Anna Kadish, MD, Larry Kadish, MD, Lary Kupor, MD, Paul Weiden, MD, Tom Gutheil, MD, Myron Falchuk, MD, Bud Shenkin, MD, Robert Carolan, MD, Douglas Dorner, MD, Richard Floyd, MD, Jesse Kahn, MD, Lawrence Gardner, MD, Gary Braun, MD, Tom Chused, MD, Judy Chused, MD, Robert Holmes, MD, Donald A. Smith,MD, Roberta Mills Monson, MD, Gerald Lazar, MD, Ira J.Malter,MD, Stephen F. Jencks, MD, MPH, Ira Morris, MD, Dan O’Neill, MD, Jeff Newhouse, MD.

Support Beyond Nuclear

Help to ensure a safer, greener and more just world for all