After Chernobyl nuclear disaster- “background” radiation estimated at double previous amount
Geneticist Valery N. Soyfer, founder of the former Soviet Union’s first molecular biology laboratory, analyzed the 1986 report to the IAEA, which has since been condemned as a cover-up. Dr. Soyfer says that if only 100 million curies were vented, then world “background radiation doubled at once.” This claim was unsupported by accompanying evidence, butif “background” was doubled by 100 million curies, then it was multiplied 180 times by the release of Chernobyl’s “full inventory.”
Nineteen months after the disaster, in Nov. 1987, the U.S. government officially doubled its estimate of the “background” radiation to which we are exposed every year
Chernobyl at Ten: Half-lives and Half Truths, Chernobyl, by John M. LaForge ”…… In the first part of this article (Spring 1996 Pathfinder) I compared the recent trivialization of Chernobyl’s consequences to news accounts that appeared soon after the explosions and fire. For example, while the commercial press now tell us that the disaster “spread radiation across parts of Europe,” the fact is that the federal EPA announced in mid-May 1986 that, “Airborne radioactivity from the Chernobyl nuclear accident is now so widespread that it is likely to fall to the ground wherever it rains in the United States.”
In this part I look at how much radiation Chernobyl evidently added to the “background,” at official skewing of the inevitable long-term effects, and at recent reports of its human health consequences.
Answers are Blowin’ in the Wind
How much radiation was released? What percentage of which isotopes were thrown into the atmosphere. Was it mostly iodine-131? How much of the total was made up of the far more dangerous cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium?
Piecing together the truth is a dizzying job of ferreting out bias and vested interest. The pro-nuclear Time magazine reported in 1989 that perhaps “one billion or more” curies were released, rather than the 50 to 80 million estimated by Russian authorities. One curie is the amount of radiation equal to the disintegration of 37 billion atoms — 37 billion becquerels — per second. It is a very large amount of radiation.
The U.S. government’s Argonne National Lab has said that 30 percent of the reactor’s total radioactivity — 3 billion of an estimated 9 billion curies — was released. And scientists at the U.S. Lawrence Livermore National Lab suggested that one-half of the core’s radioactivity was spewed — 4.5 billion curies, according the World Information Service on Energy, quoting Science, 6-13-86.
Vladimir Chernousenko, the chief scientific supervisor of the “clean up” team responsible for a 10-kilometer zone around the exploded reactor, says that 80 percent of the reactor’s radioactivity escaped, something like seven billion curies. At the Union of Concerned Scientists, senior energy analyst Kennedy Maize, concluded that “the core vaporized” — all 190 tons of fuel, and all 9 billion curies.
Former Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Joseph Hendrie, concluded likewise, saying “They have dumped the full inventory of volatile fission products from a large power reactor into the environment. You can’t do any worse than that.”
The Russians and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) claimed in a 1986 report, that 50 million curies of radioactive debris, plus another 50 million curies of rare and inert gasses were discharged. However, the rocketing incidence of cancers, leukemias and other radiation-induced illnesses, leads scientists to suspect that the higher radioactive fallout estimates are likely. Pandemic numbers of thyroid cancers led even the cautious Dr. Alexander Sich, in his Chernobyl cover story for the May 1996 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to conclude that the “higher [radiation] release estimates support the conclusions drawn by medical experts.”
Geneticist Valery N. Soyfer, founder of the former Soviet Union’s first molecular biology laboratory, analyzed the 1986 report to the IAEA, which has since been condemned as a cover-up. Dr. Soyfer says that if only 100 million curies were vented, then world “background radiation doubled at once.” This claim was unsupported by accompanying evidence, but if “background” was doubled by 100 million curies, then it was multiplied 180 times by the release of Chernobyl’s “full inventory.” Nineteen months after the disaster, in Nov. 1987, the U.S. government officially doubled its estimate of the “background” radiation to which we are exposed every year……… http://www.ratical.org/radiation/Chernobyl/Chernobyl@10p2.html
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