Senior Radioactive Waste Policy Specialist, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, (NIRS) USA.
Atomic Radiation is More Harmful to Women
Parallel: Integrating sex and gender in research and researcher training
Olson joined the NIRS staff in 1991, and has worked primarily on highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel policy. Olson’s background in biology, biochemistry and her own experience with radioactive contamination during her final biological research job, lead her to study radiation health consequences with leading radiation researchers of the 20th Century including Bertell, Stewart, Caldicott and Wing. She now serves as an educator on ionizing radiation impacts for impacted communities, the concerned public and decision-makers. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster caused Olson to follow on questions from the concerned public about greater harm to women from ionizing radiation exposures. Olson did her own independent review in 2011 of the data presented by the National Academy of Sciences, Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation VII. Olson’s findings are published in a short briefing paper entitled “Atomic Radiation is More Harmful to Women.”
Olson is a frequent speaker including three times to the UN General Assembly, policy advocate and “stake holder” for civil-society organizations and facilitator for groups working on decisions and planning regarding radioactive waste and ionizing radiation. In 2012 Olson was featured in a new educational film The Ultimate Wish: Ending the Nuclear Age, in 2014 she spoke at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, in 2015 she was the featured speaker at a side session at the United Nations during the Review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and in 2016 she toured Japan speaking on ionizing radiation and its impacts on the human lifecycle.
“Human-directed radiation exposure began 100+ years ago; we now know that a given exposure to ionizing radiation results in greater harm to females, compared to males; radiation exposure to females in early childhood results in ten times more cancer across the lifetime than exposure to adult males used as the reference group by regulators. This is news, and news that must be communicated and factored in practices and policies even before we can answer “why?””