This past April 26th marked the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident. It came as the nuclear industry and pro-nuclear government officials in the United States and other nations were trying to “revive” nuclear power. And it followed the publication of a book, the most comprehensive study ever made, on the impacts of the Chernobyl disaster.
Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment was published by the New York Academy of Sciences.
It is authored by three noted scientists:
Russian biologist Dr. Alexey Yablokov, former environmental advisor to the Russian president;
Dr. Alexey Nesterenko, a biologist and ecologist in Belarus; and
Dr.Vassili Nesterenko, a physicist and at the time of the accident director of the Institute of Nuclear Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.
Its editor is Dr. Janette Sherman, a physician and toxicologist long involved in studying the health impacts of radioactivity.
The book is solidly based — on health data, radiological surveys and scientific reports — some 5,000 in all.
It concludes that based on records now available, some 985,000 people died, mainly of cancer, as a result of the Chernobyl accident. That is between when the accident occurred in 1986 and 2004. More deaths, it projects, will follow.
The book explodes the claim of the International Atomic Energy Agency– still on its website that the expected death toll from the Chernobyl accident will be 4,000.
“The tragic news uncovered by the comprehensive new research that almost one million people died in the toxic aftermath of Chernobyl should be a wake-up call to people all over the world to petition their governments to put a halt to the current industry-driven “nuclear renaissance.’ Aided by a corrupt IAEA, the world has been subjected to a massive cover-up and deception about the true damages caused by Chernobyl.”
“Experts and organizations tied to the nuclear industry have dismissed and ignored the consequences of the catastrophe,” it states.
The book details the spread of radioactive poisons following the explosion of Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant on April 26, 1986. These major releases only ended when the fire at the reactor was brought under control in mid-May. Emitted were “hundreds of millions of curies, a quantity hundreds of times larger than the fallout from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” The most extensive fall-out occurred in regions closest to the plant–in the Ukraine (the reactor was 60 miles from Kiev in Ukraine), Belarus and Russia.
However, there was fallout all over the world as the winds kept changing direction “so the radioactive emissions” covered an enormous territory.”
The radioactive poisons sent billowing from the plant into the air included Cesium-137, Plutonium, Iodine-131 and Strontium-90.
There is a breakdown by country, highlighted by maps, of where the radionuclides fell out. Beyond Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, the countries included Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The radiological measurements show that some 10% of Chernobyl poisons “fell on Asia”Huge areas” of eastern Turkey and central China “were highly contaminated,” reports the book. Northwestern Japan was impacted, too. Northern Africa was hit with “more than 5% of all Chernobyl releases.”
The finding of Cesium-137 and both Plutonium-239 and Plutonium-240 “in accumulated Nile River sediment is evidence of significant Chernobyl contamination,” it states.
“Areas of North America were contaminated from the first, most powerful explosion, which lifted a cloud of radionuclides to a height of more than 10 km. Some 1% of all Chernobyl nuclides,” says the book, “fell on North America.”
The consequences on public health are extensively analyzed. Medical records involving children–the young, their cells more rapidly multiplying, are especially affected by radioactivity–are considered. Before the accident, more than 80% of the children in the territories of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia extensively contaminated by Chernobyl “were healthy,” the book reports, based on health data. But “today fewer than 20% are well.”
There is an examination of genetic impacts with records reflecting an increase in “chromosomal aberrations” wherever there was fallout.
This will continue through the “children of irradiated parents for as many as seven generations.” So “the genetic consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe will impact hundreds of millions of people.”
“For the period 1900-2000 cancer mortality in Belarus increased 40%,” it states…. They include childhood cancers, thyroid cancer, leukemia and other cancers.
the “overall mortality for the period from April 1986 to the end of 2004 from the Chernobyl catastrophe was estimated as 985,000 additional deaths.”
“the concentrations” of some of the poisons, because they have radioactive half-lives ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 years, “will remain practically the same virtually forever.”
The book ends by quoting U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s call in 1963 for an end of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.”The Chernobyl catastrophe,” it declares, “demonstrates that the nuclear industry’s willingness to risk the health of humanity and our environment with nuclear power plants will result, not only theoretically, but practically, in the same level of hazard as nuclear weapons.”
In his foreword, Dr. Dimitro Grodzinsky, chairman of the Ukranian National Commission on Radiation Protection, writes about how “apologists of nuclear power” sought to hide the real impacts of the Chernobyl disaster from the time when the accident occurred. The book “provides the largest and most complete collection of data concerning the negative consequences of Chernobyl on the health of people and the environment…The main conclusion of the book is that it is impossible and wrong “to forget Chernobyl.”
In the record of Big Lies, the claim of the IAEA-WHO that “only” 4,000 people will die as a result of the Chernobyl catastrophe is among the biggest. The Chernobyl accident is, as the new book documents, an ongoing global catastrophe.
And it is a clear call for no new nuclear power plants to be built and for the closing of the dangerous atomic machines now running — and a switch to safe energy technologies, now available, led by solar and wind energy, that will not leave nearly a million people dead from one disaster.
Karl Grossman is a professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury and host of the nationally syndicated TV program Enviro Close-Up
Para ler o artigo completo: Chernobyl Death Toll: 985,000, Mostly from Cancer | Global Research