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Radiation caused the deaths of 4,000 clean-up workers, and 70,000 disabled at Chernobyl nuclear disaster

 THE MELTDOWN AT the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine on April 26, 1986 was a massive tragedy that ultimately claimed at least 9,000 lives and affected millions more. It also created a toxic mess. Radioactive particles choked the atmosphere and rained down on cities, forests, and roads. In the immediate aftermath, fires had to be put out, debris cleared, contaminated waste buried deep underground.It was, obviously, not an easy task. Remote-controlled bulldozers and other robots proved too weak for the job, their circuitry fried by radiation. So the Soviet Union sent in humans—600,000 of them. These brave firefighters, soldiers, janitors, and miners—the so-called “liquidators”—did everything from hosing down streets to felling trees to building a concrete sarcophagus around the exposed reactor … all the while charged subatomic particles ravaged their cells and shortened their life spans.

“No personal sacrifice was too much for these men and women,” says photographer Tom Skipp. Moved by their story, he visited Slavutych, Ukraine in April to photograph survivors, now in their golden years. The portraits make up his haunting series The Liquidators.

“The liquidators were sent into impossible scenarios where even machines failed,” Skipp says. “Each has a human story seemingly entangled in the complex history of communism and duty to the motherland….

On average, the liquidators were exposed to 120 millisieverts of radiation, about 1,200 times the amount you get from a simple x-ray. In the years following the meltdown, more than 4,000 of them died from radiation-caused cancers, and another 70,000 were disabled by exposure. Still, the liquidators shared a steadfast sense of duty to their government and fellow citizens, even when they didn’t agree with the ruling system or found it difficult to talk about. “I think that there’s a certain amount of fear aligned with speaking out against any wrongdoings that were committed,” Skipp says. “Many live on a state pension.”

Skipp photographed the men and women with his Fujifilm GFX 50 in their homes, as well as at at a local museum dedicated to explaining the history of Chernobyl and Slavutych. Many of the portraits capture them standing proudly but solemnly before an image of the destroyed reactor and beneath a clock stopped at the exact time of the meltdown—the moment that defined their lives forever. https://www.wired.com/story/chernobyl-liquidators-photo-gallery/

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September 10, 2018 Posted by | deaths by radiation, health, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Solar power plant operating within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Positive News 24th July 2018 , A solar power plant has started producing electricity within the Chernobyl
Exclusion Zone, marking a new epoch for the notorious nuclear facility in
Ukraine. The €1m (£870,441), one-megawatt solar farm went live in May
and generates enough electricity to power a medium-sized village.
https://www.positive.news/2018/environment/33949/nuclear-wasteland-is-home-to-worlds-unlikeliest-green-energy-experiment/

July 27, 2018 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

New report: economic benefit in stopping renewal of the Trident missiles system,and creating many more jobs

Morning Star 27th June 2018, A PIONEERING new report argues that thousands more engineering jobs could
be created by stopping the renewal of the Trident missiles system. The
report, Defence Diversification: International Learning for Trident Jobs,
was published today by the Nuclear Education Trust.

It examines various government and Civil Service initiatives in Britain, western Europe and the
United States. It argues that an internationally led programme to diversify
the work of Trident’s workers would cost far less than it would to renew
the cold-war-era nuclear weapons system — estimated to be between £180
billion and £205bn over the next several decades
https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/article/scrapping-trident-nuclear-weapons-%E2%80%98could-create-thousands-engineering-jobs%E2%80%99

June 29, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Tons of water poured in by planes, to major wildfire inside the Chernobyl ‘dead zone’

Large fire ravages Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, tons of water poured in by planes https://www.rt.com/news/428807-chernobyl-exclusion-zone-fire/ 

June 11, 2018 Posted by | climate change, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Despite Ukrainian Prime Minister’s reassurances, Wildfires near Chernobyl are potentially catastrophic

Radio Free Europe 6th June 2018 , Scientists have been concerned for decades about potentially catastrophic wildfires inside the exclusion zone around the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine — the site in 1986 of the world’s worst nuclear accident.

That’s because trees and brush in the zone have absorbed radioactive particles that can be released into the air by the smoke of a wildfire.

Not surprisingly, some experts are skeptical about Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman’s claim on Facebook that “there’s no need to worry” about a June 5 blaze that raced through the so-called Red Forest — one of the most contaminated patches of forest near Chernobyl.
https://www.rferl.org/a/prime-minister-says-don-t-worry-but-scientists-concerned-about-chernobyl-wildfires/29276072.html

June 9, 2018 Posted by | climate change, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

High levels of radioactive Caesium in Ukraine region around Chernobyl a threat to children

Ukrainian villages still suffering legacy of Chernobyl more than 30 years on https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/uoe-uvs060718.php  UNIVERSITY OF EXETER 

Milk in parts of Ukraine has radioactivity levels up to five times over the country’s official safe limit, new research shows.

Scientists from the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter and the Ukrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology sampled cow’s milk from private farms and homes in the Rivne region, about 200km from the site of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion in 1986. They found levels of radioactive caesium in milk above Ukraine’s safe limit for adults of 100 Becquerel per litre (Bq/L) at six of 14 settlements studied, and above the children’s limit of 40 Bq/L at eight sites.

The highest levels found were about 500 Bq/L – five times over the limit for adults and more than 12 times that for children.

“More than 30 years after the Chernobyl disaster, people are still routinely exposed to radioactive caesium when consuming locally produced staple foods, including milk, in Chernobyl-affected areas of Ukraine,” said Dr Iryna Labunska, of Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter.

“Many people in the area we studied keep cows for milk, and children are the main consumers of that milk.

“Though the level of soil contamination in the studied areas is not extremely high, radioactive caesium continues to accumulate in milk and other foods, such that the residents of these villages are chronically exposed to radioactivity that presents health risks to almost every system in the body – especially among children.”

The researchers say that some simple protective measures could be taken to bring radiation exposure levels below limits at a cost of less than 10 euros per person per year for the 8,300 people living in the six villages with the highest contamination.

Such measures include applying a caesium binder, called Ferrocyn, to cows, mineral fertilisation of potato fields and feeding pigs with uncontaminated fodder.

The cost of this would decrease each year as radiation levels fall – but if no action is taken, the experts warn that milk contamination will continue to exceed the 100?Bq/L adult limit in parts of Ukraine until at least 2040.

“The Ukrainian government has taken some of these measures in the past, but that stopped in 2009,” Dr Labunska said.

“Government and international monitoring needs to take place, along with help for people affected by this radiation.

“This situation should also act as a warning and a reminder of just how long the legacy of nuclear accidents can be.

“Without adequate countermeasures, what may now seem a purely historical event will remain a daily reality for those communities most impacted.”

###

The paper, published in the journal Environment International, is entitled: “Current radiological situation in areas of Ukraine contaminated by the Chernobyl accident: Part 1. Human dietary exposure to Caesium-137 and possible mitigation measures.”

June 8, 2018 Posted by | children, environment, radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Timothy Mousseau to lead research into radiation in Chernobyl dogs

South Carolina researcher wants to learn about radiation by researching stray dogs near Chernobyl https://www.postandcourier.com/features/south-carolina-researcher-wants-to-learn-about-radiation-by-researching/article_eee33baa-5454-11e8-89c1-17da43576a65.html By Mary Katherine Wildeman mkwildeman@postandcourier.com May 14, 2018 

    • When Timothy Mousseau, a researcher with the University of South Carolina, started visiting Ukraine nearly 20 years ago, he studied birds, insects and plants, “basically anything we could catch.” It was an excuse to go somewhere unusual and study something unconventional: How creatures large and small deal with exposure to nuclear radiation.

But as humans’ interaction with radiation grows more common, Mousseau has found the need for this kind of research has grown. This summer, the USC evolutionary biologist is shifting his focus to canines. And he will be bringing a group of pre-veterinary students with him.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was constructed during the 1970s in Ukraine. More than 32 years ago, one of the Chernobyl plant’s reactors exploded, causing “the largest peacetime nuclear disaster in history,” according to a report by The Guardian. The nearby town of Prypiat has remained uninhabited.

Although there are few people in the area, dogs left behind after the disaster bred, and today there are about 250 strays roaming the area, according to the Clean Futures Fund, a nonprofit aid group that is working to bring veterinarians to the site to vaccinate the dogs for rabies, as well as to spay and neuter them.

The USC team is also partnering with the Clean Futures Fund in their research.

The researchers, led by Mousseau, will be examining the animals for signs of tumors. The animals will be sedated, Mousseau said. They also will look for signs of eye cataracts, another sign of radiation poisoning, he said.

The students will be tasked with looking for changes in the animals’ genetics and microbiome. The dogs will also be outfitted with meters.

“What we’re really hoping to get at is a better idea of how much radiation it takes to cause significant genetic damage,” Mousseau said.

Mousseau is no stranger to media attention. His work has been featured in The New York TimesNBC and most recently, National Geographic. He breezes through an interview with ease. He said especially following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, there has been heightened interest in the effects of radiation on creatures.

Not to mention that radiation is creeping into Americans’ daily life, he said. He said the average dose Americans receive each year has more than doubled in the last 20 years. And more exposure could be on the horizon: A handful of companies are working to make commercial space travel happen.

In the medical field, diagnostic tools such as CT scans and portable devices used in a dentist’s office emit radiation. Then there is the radiation used to treat cancer, and it also has uses in medical research, according to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

CT scans can produce a little less than the same amount of radiation as the lowest doses seen in Japanese atomic bomb survivors, according to the Food & Drug Administration. Still, the FDA states a typical CT scan’s risk for causing cancer is “very small.”

All “nuclear materials” in medicine are regulated. But Mousseau said more research needs to be done to understand the body’s response to even tiny amounts of radiation. He thinks the dogs, with their naturally shorter life spans, will make for good test subjects.

“You can see the effects in a shorter period of time,” Mousseau said. “We can look at consequences much more quickly.”

The canines, with their lifetime exposure to radiation, make for desirable research subjects. But the researchers plan to help take care of the dogs, too, by monitoring their health.

Courtney Rulison, 21, said she found out about the opportunity when fliers were passed around to USC biology students.

Rulison, who aspires to become a veterinarian, explained she will help prepare the animals for spaying and neutering. She said she was picked because of her interest and expertise in the animals.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take for this volunteer organization not to be needed anymore,” she said. “Or if these dogs can ever be adopted or leave Chernobyl. For right now, they have to stay there because they’re contaminated.”

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

A personal experience of Chernobyl nuclear radiation

FT 15th May 2018 ,I wish I had known Serhii Plokhy was writing this book. I would have told
him why the Chernobyl disaster is an indelible part of my life. When the
nuclear plant’s fourth reactor exploded in the early hours of Saturday,
April 26 1986, I was 130km away in Kiev. A Moscow-based reporter for
Reuters news agency, I was spending the weekend in the Ukrainian capital
with a friend who taught at Kiev university under a British Council
programme.

Like almost all the city’s 2.5m residents, we knew nothing about
the accident, the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Until the evening of
Monday April 28, the Kremlin held to its unforgivable decision to keep
Soviet citizens and the world in complete darkness. All that time,
radiation was spreading far beyond the stricken reactor. For the first few
days, the strongest winds blew to the north-west, so anyone in Kiev – which
is south of Chernobyl – got off relatively lightly.

However, when I returned to Moscow and underwent a radiation check at the US embassy, the
Geiger counter went beep-beep-beep, registering abnormal levels on my
clothes. Before my eyes an embassy official tossed my jeans into an
incinerator. Plokhy, a Harvard professor of Ukrainian background, is
ideally placed to tell the harrowing story of Chernobyl. He is the first
western-based historian to make extensive use of Chernobyl-related material
in Communist party, government and, especially, KGB security police
archives that became available after Ukraine’s 2014 pro-democracy
revolution.
https://www.ft.com/content/f7101e6a-4eeb-11e8-9471-a083af05aea7

May 16, 2018 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy review –

 

 

 

Guardian 9th May 2018 Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy review – Europe nearly
became uninhabitable. A compelling history of the 1986 disaster and its
aftermath presents Chernobyl as a terrifying emblem of the terminal decline
of the Soviet system. The turbine test that went catastrophically wrong was
not, he argues, a freak occurrence but a disaster waiting to happen. It had
deep roots in the party’s reckless obsession with production targets and
in the pliant nuclear industry’s alarming record of cutting corners to
cut costs.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/may/09/chernobyl-history-tragedy-serhii-plokhy-review-disaster-europe-soviet-system

May 11, 2018 Posted by | politics, resources - print, Russia, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Resuscitated as “Orano”, failed nuclear corporation Areva pins its hopes on reprocessing in Ukraine

 

Reuters 3rd May 2018 , French uranium mining and nuclear fuel group Orano, formerly called Areva,
said it had signed a fuel reprocessing deal with Ukraine. Orano and the
Ukrainian utility EnergoAtom signed a contract for assessing the
feasibility of reprocessing services of spent fuel assemblies of Ukrainian
VVER-1000 nuclear reactors in Orano la Hague facility Orano said the
contract, signed in the presence of Oleksander Shavlakov, First
Vice-President of EnergoAtom and Pascal Aubret, Senior Executive Vice
President of Orano’s Recycling Business Unit, marks a new step towards
the treatment of Ukrainian used fuels VVER 1000 at the Orano la Hague site.
https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFFWN1SA18N

May 7, 2018 Posted by | France, reprocessing, Ukraine | 1 Comment

32 years after Chernobyl, wild boars remain too radioactive to eat

The little piggies that won’t go to market, https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/04/29/chernobyl-boars-still-radioactive/Wild boars remain too radioactive to eat, 32 years after Chernobyl, By Linda Pentz Gunter

Wild boars in Europe, parts of the former Soviet Union and Japan are too radioactive to be safe for human consumption. That sounds like good news for the boars. But only partly so.

The boars are radioactively contaminated due to fallout from the April 26, 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine nuclear power plant explosion. They were vulnerable because they love mushrooms and truffles. These fungi absorbed the cesium-137 fallout released by the Chernobyl nuclear explosion.

Because they lack stems and roots, mushrooms and other fungi use absorption to obtain nutrition from the atmosphere through their surface cells. As a result, they are prone to absorbing radioactive substances such as cesium-137 and other radionuclides.

When the boars eat the mushrooms and truffles, that radioactive contamination moves up the food chain. The mushrooms are also too radioactive for human consumption.

Between 2014 and 2016, nearly half of the 614 wild boar inspected in the Czech Republic were too radioactive to eat. In Germany, more than one in three boars killed by hunters were also radioactive.

Consequently, hunters in Saxony, Germany, 700 miles from Chernobyl, still have to have any boar they kill tested first for radioactivity.

Hunters in Sweden are equally wary of killing and eating wild boar, which have been found to be 10 times more radioactive than the “acceptable” (but, as always, not “safe”) limits for consumption.

Wild boars have of course been affected in Japan as well, since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Apart from roaming at will through the deserted prefecture — where they have even been observed entering and occupying abandoned houses — these animals also carry cesium contamination. However, one study at least has shown that their cesium levels are significantly lower than those of boars affected by Chernobyl fallout.

The unsuitability of wild boars for human consumption resulting from Chernobyl may sound like a win for boars and the vegetarian cause. But this radioactive contamination may come at a price. To date, studies of wildlife in the Chernobyl and Fukushima zones have shown that even if numbers of animals appear to have increased due to the absence of human predators, the health of these species contaminated with radiation has been seriously compromised.

Birds, mice and insects have demonstrated low to zero sperm counts, a tendency to tumors and cataracts, smaller brains, and shorter lifespans. Examination of muscle tissue and bone marrow in Macaque monkeys living in the contaminated areas of Fukushima yielded ominous signs. The monkeys had significantly low white and red blood cell counts as well as a reduced growth rate for body weight and smaller head sizes. The bone marrows of these monkeys were found to be producing almost no blood cells. Instead, the bone marrow has turned almost entirely into white-looking fat.

So far, Europe’s wild boar seem to have been evaluated only in relation to their contribution as a food source. Missing from the studies is what might be happening to the health of the boars themselves, and the implications for future generations of these animals.

“Gleaning the contamination levels of boars once they are killed is not enough,” says Cindy Folkers, radiation and health specialist at Beyond Nuclear, who looked at published studies on boars and radioactivity. “There is no history of their contamination level or any comparison to any damage they may have suffered. The genes could tell us that, but it appears no one is looking.”

Such changes, especially to DNA, can take many years and several generations to manifest as disease. But if negative outcomes do occur, this could signal a decline in the species, with repercussions for other animals along the food chain as well.

“Wild boars are one of the biomagnifiers of radioactivity in the environment,” added Folkers. “They dig in soil that might be slightly contaminated with cesium, inhaling and ingesting it, and foraging for mushrooms, which they then ingest. They are part of the ecosystem that keeps the cesium circulating.”

April 30, 2018 Posted by | environment, Sweden, Ukraine | Leave a comment

United Nations report finds Chernobyl radiation has caused many cases of thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer link to Chernobyl radiation  https://www.camdenadvertiser.com.au/story/5366901/thyroid-cancer-link-to-chernobyl-radiation/ Australian Associated Press, 26 Apr 18

Since the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Soviet Chernobyl reactor, one in four thyroid cancer cases has been caused by radiation in the region, UN scientists report in their first such estimate.

After reviewing various statistics and existing studies, the Vienna-based UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation said around 20,000 such cancers were registered between 1991 and 2015 in the area surrounding the reactor, which takes in all of Ukraine and Belarus, as well parts of Russia.

 This figure covers people who were younger than 18 years at the time of the nuclear accident.

“Thyroid cancer is a major problem after the Chernobyl accident and needs further investigation to better understand the long-term consequences,” UNSCEAR chairman Hans Vanmarcke said in a statement on Wednesday.

Based on limited data covering only the 1991-2005 period, UNSCEAR had previously put the total number of registered thyroid cancers in the region at 7000, but had not estimated the share that can be linked to radiation exposure.

The overall number of cases has increased nearly threefold to 20,000, not only because of radiation effects, but also because the group of people being monitored has been getting older, which has increased their natural risk of getting cancer.

In addition, the high awareness about thyroid cancer in the region and improved diagnostic methods have allowed doctors to detect a higher number of cases, UNSCEAR says in its paper.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | children, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl: surviving nuclear liquidators meet, to remember

Liquidators at Chernobyl NPP gather in Moscow to commemorate anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster https://www.tvr.by/eng/news/obshchestvo/v_moskve_v_godovshchinu_katastrofy_na_chernobylskoy_aes_sobralis_likvidatory_radiatsionnoy_avarii_/, 26 Apr 18

In Moscow, the liquidators of the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl NPP gathered together to commemorate the anniversary of the disaster.

The meeting took place in a small museum, which has been collecting archive photos and documents of those events for 10 years now. Employees of the Belarusian embassy in Moscow donated photos from the last expedition to the exclusion zone as a gift to the museum.

Over 600,000 people participated in the liquidation of the consequences of the accident. As a result of the accident, a radioactive cloud spread radioactive materials over most of Europe. The most affected territories are those of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | history, Ukraine | Leave a comment

New gigantic confinement dome over Chernobyl nuclear wreck is now almost completed

New safe confinement over Chornobyl NPP expected to start working in December, – Poroshenko https://112.international/society/new-safe-confinement-over-chornobyl-npp-expected-to-start-working-in-december-poroshenko-28001.html, 26 Apr 18

The new safe confinement at Chornobyl nuclear power plant will be put into service in December 2018. President Petro Poroshenko said this during his visit to the working ground of the NPP.

‘We’re here today to guarantee further security for Ukrainians and all Europeans to turn their attention to important projects, which we will gradually implement day by day – along with our partners. We plan to put the new safe confinement into service in December’, the president said.

The head of the state added that the mounting works on the object are almost over.

As it was reported earlier, the construction works began in Chornobyl exclusion zone in Nobvemner 2017; the nuclear waste repository will be built in the restricted area of Kyiv region. According to UNN news agency, the opening ceremony took place on November 9; Ukrainian company Energoatom will be the one supervising the construction process.

According to the Minister of Energy and Coal Production Ihor Nasalyk, by building its own nuclear waste repository, Ukraine will be able to refuse the service offered by Russia, which costs Kyiv more than 7 million dollars annually.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | safety, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

The true impacts of the 1986 nuclear disaster on people and the environment

The Facts About Chernobyl,    Posted on The true impacts of the 1986 nuclear disaster on people and the environment, By Beyond Nuclear staff

The strategy of the desperate is to downplay and dismiss. A major nuclear disaster is more than just an inconvenient truth for an industry that doesn’t want you to know it kills people. As a result, when a serious nuclear accident happens — arguably always preventable and therefore not strictly an accident — there is a scramble to present the event as largely insignificant.

Many myths are quickly put about, usually centered on how few people immediately died, a completely misleading statistic since nuclear power plant disasters do not usually kill people instantly. But over the long-term, their legacy is indeed both considerable and often deadly.

In the newest edition of our periodic Thunderbird newsletter, we look at the facts about the Chernobyl disaster — and touch on one welcome piece of fiction in the form of a novel.

The disparities over the death count are used to downplay and even dismiss the terrible and long-lasting after effects of Chernobyl. But focusing only on fatalities also serves to diminish the disaster’s impact. It can take years before fatal illnesses triggered by a nuclear accident take hold. This creates a challenge in calculating just who eventually died due to the accident and who suffered non-fatal consequences.

Exposure to ionizing radiation released by a nuclear power plant (and not just from accidents but every day) can cause serious non-fatal illnesses as well. These should not be discounted. Arguably, neither should post accident psychological trauma.

All the populations affected by Chernobyl have been inadequately studied and monitored — whether they lived inside the former Soviet Union or elsewhere in Europe where the radioactive plume also contaminated lands and people.

The Chernobyl liquidators are a group most often cited as they were dispatched to the stricken nuclear plant in the immediate aftermath, as well as for at least the subsequent two years, to manage and endeavor to “clean up” the disaster. They included military as well as civilian personnel such as firefighters, nuclear plant workers and other skilled professionals. More information is still emerging on their fate and that of their descendants.

It is generally accepted that there were about 800,000 liquidators but only a small portion of them were subject to medical examinations. By 1992 it was estimated that 70,000 liquidators were invalids and 13,000 had died. These estimates rose to 50,000 then to 100,000 deaths among liquidators in 2006. By 2010, Yablokov et al. estimated a death toll of 112,000 to 125,000 liquidators.

Even the Russian authorities admit findings of liquidators aging prematurely, with a higher than average number having developed various forms of cancer, leukemia, somatic and neurological problems, psychiatric illnesses and cataracts. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs found a statistically significant increase in leukemia among Russian liquidators who were in service at Chernobyl in 1986 and 1987.

There are similar findings among general populations although, again, these have been hard to track. While countless numbers may have eventually died from Chernobyl-related illnesses, equal or even greater numbers likely survived and were forced to live with debilitating and chronic medical conditions as well as psychological trauma.

The widely debunked 2003-2005 Chernobyl Forum accounting is the record most often quoted, and yet it is utterly compromised. It was produced by the nuclear promoting International Atomic Energy Agency, which ignored its own data that indicated there would be 9,000 future fatal cancers in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The IAEA instead claimed there would be no more than 4,000. Both numbers are gross underestimations.

The report focused only on the most heavily exposed areas in making its predictions. It ignored the much larger populations in the affected countries as a whole, and in the rest of the world, who have been exposed to lower but chronic levels of radiation from Chernobyl.

The later TORCH Report exposed the flaws in the Chernobyl Forum as did IPPNW in its own report. TORCH predicts at least 30,000 and maybe as many as 60,000 excess cancer deaths worldwide due to the accident. An analysis of 5,000 Russian studies, by the late Soviet scientist, Alexey Yablokov and colleagues, puts the number of premature deaths due to Chernobyl as likely to soar as high as one million people.

In other studies, elevated rates of thyroid cancer were discovered in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, particularly among children, where the preventive pill, potassium-iodide (KI), was not distributed. In Poland, where KI was distributed, incidences were extremely low.

Outside the former Soviet Union, impacts were also significant with about 40% of Europe’s land surface radiologically contaminated.

Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki, a physician and geneticist, discovered, alarmingly, that the negative health effects caused by Chernobyl did not stop with those exposed directly. His research, focused in Polissia, Ukraine, noted birth defects and other health disturbances among not only those who were adults at the time of the Chernobyl disaster, but their children who were in utero at the time and, most disturbingly, their later offspring.

Pierre Flor-Henry in his research, even found medical changes resulting from apparent psychological responses. He noted that schizophrenia and chronic fatigue syndrome among a high percentage of liquidators were accompanied by organic changes in the brain. This suggested that various neurological and psychological illnesses could be caused by exposure to radiation levels between 0.15 and 0.5 sieverts.

Nevertheless, the IAEA and the World Health Organization (WHO), given their supposedly august credentials, are cited as the bodies of record on post-Chernobyl fatalities and health impacts. But there is a fundamental reason why the WHO cannot be trusted.

On May 28, 1959, the WHO made an agreement with the IAEA that would effectively gag the agency on any nuclear issue from that day forth. The agreement gave the IAEA a veto on any actions by the WHO that relate in any way to nuclear power. The IAEA’s stated mission is to “accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.” So clearly, there is a major conflict of interest at work here.

Not only people but animals — both wild and domestic — have been harmed by the Chernobyl disaster. This damage is likely permanent as it has been passed down through generations via DNA. The research by Dr. Timothy Mousseau finds birds around Chernobyl with low to zero sperm counts, cataracts, diminished brain size and truncated longevity. Stray dogs continue to proliferate around the Chernobyl nuclear site. Wild boars in Europe remain too radioactive to eat. Insects have mutated and micro-organisms have disappeared.

There are some bright and hopeful signs however. Much humanitarian work has gone on over the decades to bring relief to those suffering the Chernobyl after-effects. The disaster — and the subsequent one at Fukushima — changed the minds of the leaders in power at the time, Mikhail Gorbachev and Naoto Kan. These men now advocate for an end to the use of nuclear power. Several countries renounced nuclear power in the wake of these disasters or reinforced their policies to phase out nuclear and turn to renewables.

And there is even some welcome fiction about Chernobyl, in the form of a searingly beautiful and haunting first novel by Irish writer Darragh McKeon. We encourage you to read All That Is Solid Melts Into Air for a vivid account of the very real characters he portrays living through the Chernobyl ordeal.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | health, Reference, Ukraine | 2 Comments