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Understanding Some of the True Costs of Nuclear Technology

Listed here is critical information about Chernobyl, a name that, like Bhopal, has come to represent the epidome of man's inappropriate behavior based only on the intellect's capacity to ask, Is it possible? If we are to survive as a species, and be the true conservators of this place as our response abilities endow us with, we MUST temper the intellect's youthful inexperience with the age-old instinctual and intuitive wisdom that always asks Is it appropriate? when considering any activity. Chernobyl is a clear message to humanity that nuclear power (to say nothing of weapons) is not an appropriate exercise of human intelligence. It is omnicidal.
For the past 23 years it has been clear that there is a danger greater than nuclear weapons concealed within nuclear power. Emissions from this one reactor exceeded a hundredfold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No citizen of any country can be assured that he or she can be protected from radioactive contamination. One nuclear reactor can pollute half the globe. Chernobyl fallout covered the entire Northern Hemisphere.
—Introduction, page 1, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, by Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko, Alexey V. Nesterenko, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 1181, December 2009, 335 Pages.

1 Oct 1986 photo showing repairs being carried out on the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine. ZUFAROV / AFP / Getty Images
Ivan Kalenda
19 Mar 1996: Ivan Kalenda turns away to wipe his tears as he visits his 3-yr-old grandson Vitya, right, in the children's cancer ward at a hospital in Gomel, 300 kms, 186 miles southwest of Minsk, Belarus.
Chernobyl Sarcophagus
Mar 2009: the sarcophagus of Chernobyl reactor 4. Photo credit: Timm Suess via Flickr. See also: Timm Suess' Chernobyl Journal.
Chernobyl Ferris Wheel
Mar 2009: Ferris wheel that was to be inaugurated in children's amusement park a week after the explosion stands eternally unused. Photo credit: Timm Suess via Flickr. See also: Timm Suess' Chernobyl Journal.
cemetery of radioactive vehicles
10 Nov 2000: cemetery of radioactive vehicles near Chernobyl. Some 1,350 Soviet military helicopters, buses, bulldozers, tankers, transporters, fire engines and ambulances were used fighting the nuclear accident. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

  • Chernobyl: Consequences of the catastrophe 25 years later,
    by Janette D. Sherman, M.D., and Alexey V. Yablokov, Ph.D,
    San Francisco Bay View, 27 April 2011

              The most serious effect of the Chernobyl radiation is to the brain and is a major medical, social and economic problem for the affected individual, the persons' family and society at large. . . .
              Inexplicably, WHO had a special project on brain damage in the Chernobyl territories, which was abruptly stopped after the first definitive results. It is becoming clear that low-dose and low-dose rates of radiation have a profound effect upon fine structures of the nervous system, upon higher nervous system function and upon neuropsychiatry function. . . .
              It takes 10 decades for an isotope to completely decay, thus the approximately 30-year half-lives for Sr-90 and Cs-137 mean it will take nearly three centuries before they have decayed, a mere blink of the eye when compared to Plutonium-239 (Pu-239) with a half-life of 24,100 years.
              The human and economic costs are enormous: In the first 25 years, the direct economic damage to Belarus, Ukraine and Russia has exceeded $500 billion. To mitigate some of the consequences, Belarus spends about 20 percent of its national annual budget, Ukraine up to 6 percent and Russia up to 1 percent. Funding from other countries and from the U.N. is essential to continue scientific studies and to provide help to those who continue to live with significant radioactive contamination. . . .
              When a radiation release occurs, we do not know in advance the part of the biosphere it will contaminate, the animals, plants and people that will be affected, nor the amount or duration of harm. In many cases, damage is random, depending upon the health, age and status of development and the amount, kind and variety of radioactive contamination that reaches humans, animals and plants. For this reason, international support of research on the consequences of Chernobyl must continue in order to mitigate the ongoing and increasing damage. Access to information must be transparent and open to all, across all borders. The WHO must assume independent responsibility in support of international health.
              Given the continuing and known problems caused by the Chernobyl catastrophe, we must ask ourselves: Before we commit ourselves to economic and technological support of nuclear energy, who, what and where are we willing to sacrifice and for how long?

  • Health Effects of Chernobyl, 25 years after the reactor catastrophe,
    by Dr. rer. nat. Sebastian Pflugbeil, Society for Radiation Protection
    Henrik Paulitz, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)
    Dr. med. Angelika Claussen, IPPNW
    Prof. Dr. Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake, Society for Radiation Protection
    With the support of Strahlentelex information service
    8 April 2011

    from the Executive Summary:
              According to UNSCEAR between 12,000 and 83,000 children were born with congenital deformations in the region of Chernobyl, and around 30,000 to 207,000 genetically damaged children worldwide. Only 10% of the overall expected damage can be seen in the first generation....
              A paper by Kristina Voigt, Hagen Scherb also showed that after 1986, in the aftermath of Chernobyl, around 800,000 fewer children were born in Europe than one might have expected. Scherb estimated that, as the paper did not cover all countries, the overall number of “missing” children after Chernobyl could be about one million. Similar effects were also observed following above-ground nuclear weapons tests....
              Up until today, there has unfortunately been no conclusive overview of the changes in the health condition of the whole of the affected population in the region of Chernobyl, not to mention the lack of an overview of the catastrophe for the people in the Northern hemisphere. The numbers referred to here may seem on the one hand to be terribly high, on the other hand rather low. But it has to be taken into account that nearly all of the collated studies dealt with relatively small sections of the population. Even supposedly slight changes in rates of sickness can signify serious health damage and a large extent of human suffering when they are extrapolated onto a larger population group....
    from 4. Genetic and teratogenic damage (malformations), 4.1 The Chernobyl region:
              Scientists from the Universities of Moscow and Leicester examined blood samples from 79 families, the parents of which had been living within a 300-kilometre radius of the reactor. The scientists were surprised by the fact that in those children born between February and September 1994 cases of mutations had doubled. The genetic scientists reasoned, that as the examined children were only two years old this was due to genetic changes in the parental germ cells. Professor David Hillis from the University of Texas in Austin drew attention to the correlation with measurement results from field mice that had lived off highly contaminated food in the area around the Chernobyl sarcophagus: “The rate of mutation amongst the field mice is one hundred thousand times higher than normal”.[92]....
    from 6. All cancers and leukaemia:
              The estimated whole-body doses for the affected population in the area around Chernobyl ranged from 0-1.5 Gy. At the same time, it must be noted that an increasing number of Chernobyl studies from the three countries affected have come to the conclusion that the risk of cancer due to chronic low-level radiation is higher in comparison with the results from studies on atomic bomb survivors. The multi-centre study that was carried out on nuclear industry workers in 15 countries shows that the risk for all cancers, except leukaemia and lung cancer, is approximately 3-times higher than for the atomic bomb survivors. It must therefore be ascertained that the results of studies carried out on atomic bomb survivors cannot be applied to the Chernobyl population, as they systematically underestimate the risk.[168]....
    from the Executive Summary:
              By 2050 thousands more cases of illnesses will be diagnosed that will have been caused by the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. The delay between cause and noticeable physical reaction is insidious. Chernobyl is far from over.
              Particularly tragic is the fate of the thousands of children who were born dead or died in infancy, who were born with malformations and hereditary diseases, or who are forced to live with diseases they would not have developed under normal circumstances.
              The genetic defects caused by Chernobyl will continue to trouble the world for a long time to come – most of the effects will not become apparent until the second or third generation.
              Even if the extent of the health effects is not yet clear, it can still be predicted that the suffering brought about by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima is, and will be, of a similar magnitude.

  • Chernobyl Catastrophe: 25th Anniversary of World's Worst Nuclear Accident
    Interview with Dr. Janette Sherman and Dr. Jeff Patterson,, 26 April 2011

    DR. JEFF PATTERSON: [N]uclear power, nuclear energy, has three poisonous Ps, and those are pollution—and we're certainly seeing the example of that now at the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl. That pollution occurs all along the fuel cycle, from the time we dig it out of the ground, the tailings that are left and expose people to radon, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, to the production of fuel, and then we don't know where to bury the waste or what to do with it. And now we're seeing the catastrophic release of radiation once again, which happened at Kyshtym in Russia, happened in Chernobyl, and now is happening in Fukushima—and will happen again. And so, pollution is the first thing that is the poisonous P.
              Second is price. And as Medvedev said—he claims that this is the cheapest form of energy. It's by far and away the most expensive form of energy. When we figure in the results of these disasters and the cost to people's health, the economic loss, the agricultural loss, the Ukraine, in the initial days of this, spent a sixth of their national budget on Chernobyl. And Belarus and the Ukraine are still spending five to seven percent of their national budgets every year to deal with the Chernobyl accident. If we figured all of that in to the cost of nuclear power, nuclear power becomes extremely expensive. As Dr. Sherman mentioned, the next sarcophagus that they're proposing to build over the nuclear power plant, they're estimating will cost $1.1 billion, and they've only raised $800 million for this now. It's already three years behind time in terms of being built. And so, the question is, will this ever get done, because the cost of this is so much. The cost of building a new nuclear power plant is so expensive that, chances are, none will be built, because nobody wants to fund them.
              And the third poisonous P is proliferation. Nuclear power and nuclear weapons go hand in hand. Medvedev talked about the peaceful atom that was designed by Eisenhower. Well, it's out of the peaceful atom program that has come nuclear weapons for many countries. And we're seeing the example of that in Iran today. So, these are deadly parts of the nuclear experiment that we are conducting today that, in my opinion, is a highly unethical experiment. . . .
    DR. JANETTE SHERMAN: . . . . When a nuclear reactor explodes, the radiation goes around the entire hemisphere. It is not confined to where the people live—or where the accident occurred. The effects are ubiquitous across all species: that's wild and domestic animals, birds, fish, bacteria, viruses, plants and humans. So the effects are extremely serious, and they last for generations. We're terribly concerned about Belarus, where only 20 percent of the children are now considered healthy. So, what do you do with a society if 80 percent of your population is sick? Who are going to be the artists and the musicians and the scientists and the teachers, if your population is not well? . . .
              It's very, very, very important to keep adequate records on exposures and the effect of the workers and make them publicly available, certainly not by the name of the individual person, but certainly the data needs to be available and transparent so scientists can follow what is happening to these people. The problem within Chernobyl was that they released almost no data for three years, and it was very, very difficult to reconstruct what was happening. And as Dr. Patterson pointed out, many of these records have disappeared. And indeed, many records of nuclear workers in the United States have disappeared, and it has—workers have a very hard time finding what their exposures were, even when they knew what their job description was.

    Just One Part in a Thousand ?
           It may sound like a trifle to put only one part per thousand of a poison into the environment, but we will show what one part per thousand means with respect to radioactive cesium.
           The cesium-137 produced each year by a 1000-megawatt (electrical) nuclear power plant amounts to nearly 4 million curies. Since its radioactive half-life is 30.2 years, very little of it decays during a year.
           The Chernobyl reactor contained a two-year cesium-inventory of about 8 million curies. Recent estimates are that the Chernobyl reactor released about 2.5 million curies of cesium-137, which is equivalent to (2.5 / 4.0) or 62.5 % of a ONE-year inventory.
           Now let us consider 100 large nuclear power plants each operating in the USA for a lifespan of about 25 years each. Call "A" the yearly cesium-137 production by one plant. Then 100A = the yearly production by 100 plants. Lifetime production = 25 yrs x 100A/year = 2,500A. 99.9 % containment = release of 1 part per 1,000. With 99.9 % perfect containment, loss = 2.5A. Chernobyl lost 0.625A. The ratio of 2.5A and 0.625A is 4.0.
           This ratio, 4, has an enormous meaning. It means that achieving 99.9 % PERFECT containment of the cesium-137 produced by 100 plants during 25 years of operation, through all steps of the cesium's handling up through final burial, would STILL result in cesium-137 contamination equivalent in curies to 4 Chernobyl accidents.
           Worldwide, there are about 400 plants underway, so the same scenario (99.9 % perfection in containing cesium) would mean cesium-loss equivalent to 16 Chernobyl accidents per 25 years of operation. And this assault on human health could occur without blowing the roof off any single plant.
    —Dr. John Gofman, Radiation-Induced Cancer from Low-Dose
    Exposure: An Independent Analysis
    , 1990,
    Chapter 25, "Main Text: A Closing Statement"

  • Chernobyl's Accident: Path and Extension of the Radioactive Cloud

    This is a graphic reconstruction of the path of the first 14 days of the 1986 Chernobyl radioactive plume. It was created by the French Government's official agency on radiation and nuclear matters, the INSTITUT DE RADIOPROTECTION ET SÛRETÉ NUCLÉAIRE (IRSN).

    Also included is a graphic from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory showing dispersions of Chernobyl radioactive cloud on 27 April and 6 May 1986. Graphic reproduced from page two of "The Chernobyl Catastrophe, Consequences on Human Health," Greenpeace, 18 April 2006.

  • What Next for the WHO and IAEA? Chernobyl, 25 Years Later
    By Dr. Janette D. Sherman, MD, Counterpunch, 4 March 2011

    Immediately after the catastrophe, release of information was limited, and there was a delay in collecting data. WHO, supported by governments worldwide could have been pro-active and led the way to provide readily accessible information, but did not. These omissions resulted in several effects: limited monitoring of fallout levels, delays in getting stable potassium iodide to people, lack of care for many, and delay in prevention of contamination of the food supply. . . .
              The number of victims is one of the most contentious issue between scientists who collected data first-hand and WHO/IAEA that estimated only 9,000 deaths.
              The most detailed estimate of additional deaths was done in Russia by comparing rates in six highly contaminated territories with overall Russian averages and with those of six lesser-contaminated areas, maintaining similar geographical and socioeconomic parameters. There were over 7 million people in each area, providing for robust analysis. Thus data from multiple scientists estimate the overall mortality from the Chernobyl catastrophe, for the period from April 1986 to the end of 2004, to be 985,000, a hundred times more than the WHO/IAEA estimate.
              Given that thyroid diseases caused such a toll, Chernobyl has shown that nuclear societies – notable Japan, France, India, China, the United States, and Germany – must distribute stable potassium iodide (KI) before an accident, because it must be used within the first 24 hours.
              Key to understanding effects from nuclear fallout is the difference between external and internal radiation. While external radiation, as from x-rays, neutron, gamma and cosmic rays can harm and kill, internal radiation (alpha and beta particles) when absorbed by ingestion and inhalation become embedded in tissues and releases damaging energy in direct contact with tissues and cells, often for the lifetime of the person, animal or plant. . . .
              When a radiation release occurs we do not know in advance the part of the biosphere it will contaminate, the animals, plants, and people that will be affected, nor the amount or duration of harm. In many cases, damage is random, depending upon the health, age, and status of development and the amount, kind, and variety of radioactive contamination that reaches humans, animals and plants. For this reason, international support of research on the consequences of Chernobyl must continue in order to mitigate the ongoing and increasing damage. Access to information must be transparent and open to all, across all borders. The WHO must assume independent responsibility in support of international health.


Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment
Written by Alexey V. Yablokov (Center for Russian Environmental Policy, Moscow, Russia),
Vassily B. Nesterenko (head of Ukrainian Nuclear establishment at time of accident (deceased)),
and Alexey V. Nesterenko (Institute of Radiation Safety, Minsk, Belarus).
Consulting Editor Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger (Environmental Institute,
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan).
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 1181, December 2009, 335 Pages
local PDF copy of 2009 book [327 pages, 3.79 MB]

Fukushima & Chernobyl: Joined At The Hip
Russian Biologist Reveals the Truth About Low-Dose Radiation Risks

May 2011 – reprint of
Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,
now available; 347 pages—with index.

This book is the only publication to document non-cancer incidence and mortality in countries outside the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Belarus and serves as a frame of reference and counterweight for officials who are obscuring the full scope of the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster. First published by the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences (Nov. 2009 in its ANNALS), it is now out of print, causing lead author, eminent Russian biologist Doctor Alexey Yablokov, to request the right to reprint (recently granted). This reprint edition includes a separate index that was not part of the original book. Dr. Yablokov contacted his Consulting Editor, Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger, MD, and Timothy Mousseau, Associate Vice President for Research & Graduate Education, University of South Carolina, and asked them to be his agents in the U.S. The book is now for sale directly from the printer (see below).

In her brief assessment Dr. Sherman ties Chernobyl to the current low-dose releases in Japan. “As we watch the events unfold at Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan, radioactive nuclides are spreading around the entire northern hemisphere. Professor Yablokov and his colleagues cite some 2,000 studies of wild and domestic animals, birds, fish, plants, trees, mushrooms, bacteria, viruses, and yes–humans–that were altered, some permanently as a result of the Chernobyl radioactive releases. Animals and humans developed similar abnormalities and diseases, including birth defects and cancers. Radioactive releases from Chernobyl continue today–25 years later. This book documents the never-ending perils from nuclear power.“

In a March 25 press conference in Washington, Professor Yablokov observed that the long-term health and environmental consequences of the Fukushima accident could surpass those from Chernobyl. He stated, ”Because the area is far more densely populated than around Chernobyl, the human toll could eventually be far worse in Japan. It's especially dangerous if plutonium is released (reports say it has) as inhalation results in a high probability of cancer. A release of plutonium will contaminate that area forever and is impossible to clean up.“

ORDER NOW: Book prices include shipping and handling, anywhere in the U.S.
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Please send checks directly to:
260 W. Ann Arbor Rd.,
Plymouth, MI 48170 USA
phone: 734-453-0341

For credit cards orders, please mail < tony at grekoprinting dot com >. Include credit card number and expiration date, or call the print shop with credit card info, Plymouth, MI (9-5, M-F, EDT). Please include mailing address.

For further information please contact:
Lynn Howard Ehrle, M.Ed,
Chair, International Science Oversight Board (Doctors Yablokov and Sherman-Nevinger are board members).
Electronic address: < ehrlebird32 at att dot net >

  • Complete Text Transcript: Chernobyl: A Million Casualties
    Karl Grossman on EnviroVideo interviews Dr. Janette Sherman, recorded 5 March 2011

    A million people have died so far as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant accident, explains Janette Sherman, M.D., toxicologist and contributing editor of the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. Published by the New York Academy of Sciences, the book, authored by Dr. Alexey Yablokov, Dr. Vassily Nesterenko and Dr. Alexey Nesterenko, examined medical records now available – which expose as a lie the claim of the International Atomic Energy Commission that perhaps 4,000 people may die as a result of Chernobyl. Enviro Close-Up # 610 (29 mintes)

  • New Book Concludes: Chernobyl death toll: 985,000, mostly from cancer,
    by Karl Grossman, Global Research, 3 September 2010

    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.'" . . .
              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." . . .
              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." . . .
              Further, "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."
              [Near the end of the book,] "The Chernobyl catastrophe 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."

15.8. It Is Impossible to Forget Chernobyl

       1. The growing data about of the negative consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe for public health and nature does not bode well for optimism. Without special large-scale national and international programs, morbidity and mortality in the contaminated territories will increase. Morally it is inexplicable that the experts associated with the nuclear industry claim: “It is time to forget Chernobyl.”
       2. Sound and effective international and national policy for mitigation and minimization of Chernobyl’s consequences must be based on the principle: “It is necessary to learn and minimize the consequences of this terrible catastrophe.”
—Chapter 15. Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe for Public Health and the Environment 23 Years Later, page 326. Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.
  • Another Book About the Hazards of Nuclear Radiaton. Read It. Weep. Take Action.,
    by Janettte D. Sherman, M. D., 31 May 2010

    The link between U. S. atomic veterans and Chernobyl victims is even closer. The Army's Infantry School Quarterly asserted: "A soldier is not a casualty until he requires treatment. Even though he has been exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, he can perform his combat mission until symptoms appear." The 1987 Central Military Commission of the USSR Ministry of Defense declared: "The presence of acute somatic illness and activation of chronic disease in persons who were involved in liquidation (the clean up workers) who do not have acute radiation sickness, the effect of ionizing radiation should not be included in the causal relationship." Denial is a strong tool -- it supports dangerous industries and denies relief to those who are harmed. But these actions are more than denial -- these are lies. . . .
              While the book documents the health and environmental devastation, the economic and political costs from the Chernobyl catastrophe have been enormous. With so many children physically and mentally stunted, many not even born at the time of the disaster, it will be very difficult for families to earn a living and maintain needed familial bonds, and with so much of the budget diverted to care for sick and disabled people, it will be difficult for citizens to develop an independent society that can make needed political, social and economic decisions. Who will challenge the status quo if most of a society is un-well, poorly educated, and impoverished? There was a collapse of the life expectancy in Russia, plunging to 57-59 for men during the 1990s, now 61 years as of 2009, largely blamed on the "collapse of the Soviet Union'" but what contributed to that collapse?
              It is impossible to understand that the U. S., one of the wealthiest countries in the world, could not pass into law provisions to extend medical care to all citizens, rich, poor, young and old, while at the same time some $54 billion has been proposed in loan guarantees to build seven new nuclear power plants, this on top of $18.5 billion in guarantees provided in 2005. With documented deterioration of health, lack of preventive and restorative medical care coupled with loss of economic stability for many citizens, it is a matter of a few years before the U. S. reaches a social calamity.

  • Chernobyl Radiation Killed Nearly One Million People: New Book,
    by Environmental News Service, 26 April 2010

    Drawing upon extensive data, the authors estimate the number of deaths worldwide due to Chernobyl fallout from 1986 through 2004 was 985,000, a number that has since increased. . . .
              Yablokov and his co-authors find that radioactive emissions from the stricken reactor, once believed to be 50 million curies, may have been as great as 10 billion curies, or 200 times greater than the initial estimate, and hundreds of times larger than the fallout from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. . . .
              About 550 million Europeans, and 150 to 230 million others in the Northern Hemisphere received notable contamination. Fallout reached the United States and Canada nine days after the disaster. . . .
              The authors of the study say not enough attention has been paid to Eastern European research studies on the effects of Chernobyl at a time when corporations in several nations, including the United States, are attempting to build more nuclear reactors and to extend the years of operation of aging reactors.
              The authors said in a statement, "Official discussions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations' agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl Forum reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments."

  • Book Review: Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,
    by Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Global Research, 12 February 2010

    The authors systematically explain the secrecy conditions imposed by the government, the failure of technocrats to collect data on the number and distribution of all of the radionuclides of major concern, and the restrictions placed on physicians against calling any medical findings radiation related unless the patient had been a certified “acute radiation sickness” patient during the disaster, thus assuring that only 1% of injuries would be so reported.

15.5. Chernobyl Releases and Environmental Consequences

       5. In 1986 the levels of irradiation in plants and animals in Western Europe, North America, the Arctic, and eastern Asia were sometimes hundreds and even thousands of times above acceptable norms. The initial pulse of high-level irradiation followed by exposure to chronic low-level radionuclides has resulted in morphological, physiological, and genetic disorders in all the living organisms in contaminated areas that have been studied—plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, bacteria, and viruses. . . .
       11. Wildlife in the heavily contaminated Chernobyl zone sometimes appears to flourish, but the appearance is deceptive. According to morphogenetic, cytogenetic, and immunological tests, all of the populations of plants, fishes, amphibians, and mammals that were studied there are in poor condition. This zone is analogous to a “black hole”—some species may only persist there via immigration from uncontaminated areas. The Chernobyl zone is the microevolutionary “boiler,” where gene pools of living creatures are actively transforming, with unpredictable consequences. . . .
       13. For better understanding of the processes of transformation of the wildlife in the Chernobyl-contaminated areas, radiobiological and other scientific studies should not be stopped, as has happened everywhere in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia, but must be extended and intensified to understand and help to mitigate expected and unexpected consequences.
—Chapter 15. Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe for Public Health and the Environment 23 Years Later, pages 323-324. Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.

  • Chernobyl: An Unbelievable Failure to Help,
    by Rosalie Bertell, International Journal of Health Services, March 2008

    . . . IAEA subsequently took its radiation protection recommendations directly from ICRP (rather than WHO), therefore persons from the Commission who also sit on UNSCEAR both make the rules and judge their adequacy. Dr. Fred Mettler, Jr. is not the only person to sit on the Commission and also sit on UNSCEAR. This dual role is commonplace and clearly a conflict of interest. . . .
              The nuclear industry has a monopoly on radiation and human health scientific information, and its dissemination through the Universities into nuclear reactor facilities, hospital radiology laboratories and UN organizations. This poses a further serious problem. Normally, one believes the evidence at hand, rather than the theory! If one has been taught theory as fact, the situation becomes more complicated. ICRP has created an artificial "consensus" on the health effects of radiation. . . .
              The next logical question is: why would the serious health effects of radiation, such as **non-fatal cancers, (including thyroid, breast and skin), non-cancer somatic effects and teratogenic effects of radiation be discounted and ignored? It is my opinion that this administrative decision made by the physicists of the Manhattan Project was meant as a safeguard against possible objections to the northern hemispheric nuclear fallout. . . .
              Thus the radiation protection standards proposed by the Manhattan Project physicists and later by ICRP and IAEA have been, from the start, a trade-off between the "benefits" sought by the professional users of ionizing radiation, not least of which were the bomb makers, and the "risk" to life and health of workers and the public. . . .
              Since the ICRP methodology and radiation risks depend heavily on the Atomic Bomb Research, which looked at the effects of high radiation doses delivered at a fast rate from an external (to the body) source, it fails to address chronic low dose internal radioactive contamination. . . . The IAEA Report of 2005 and UNSCEAR 2000 analysis ignored these considerations. When the international scientific critics of ICRP methodology develop an internationally acceptable alternative, and when the UNSCEAR data gaps are filled, we may be able to adjust this estimate of Chernobyl deaths and severe injuries accordingly. However, the inadequate record-keeping in this high-technology age will always be seen as an attempt to cover-up the true effects of the Chernobyl disaster. Clearly, the true damage to health attributable to the Chernobyl disaster has been hidden from the general public through poor and incomplete scientific investigation, obfuscation and poor recording of data and outright lying.
              Many people are mystified that three UN Agencies (IAEA, WHO and UNEP) appear to be agreeing on the minimal damage done to the people directly affected by Chernobyl and other low dose radiation exposures. I think this is a failure to understand the profound influence wielded by ICRP which dictates not only what should be of concern to UN Agencies, but also provides the methodology which must be used in order to determine both the dose of ionizing radiation received by the victims and the risk posed by that dose. All of the U.N. Agencies use these same protocols, methodologies and risk estimates -- hence there are no independent assessments. Reform of the UN must assure independence of its agencies. . . .
              The time has come to replace closed science with open science, self-perpetuating committees with professional societies accountable to their peers, and monopolized areas of research with properly funded transparent scientific research. While physics is needed to identify and quantify the strength and nature of a radiation source, physicians with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, oncology, pediatrics and community health should describe the injury caused by it, and the ramifications of the exposure for the public health. The need is urgent for UN reform in this important area on which the survival of the human species and the environment may well depend.


  • The Chernobyl Congress
    Chernobyl: 25 Years After, Stop the Nuclear Timebomb—Abandon Nuclear Power Now!
    International IPPNW Public Congress
    Timebomb Nuclear Power
    25 Years after Chernobyl
    Urania, Berlin
    April 8-10, 2011
    German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Physicians for Social Responsibility in cooperation with the Society for Radiation Protection, the Physicians of Chernobyl, the Scientists Initiative for Peace and Sustainability and the Nuclear Free Future Award.
    Chernobyl: The Meltdown
    April 26, 1986: 23 minutes, 40 seconds after 1 am, Block 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. For the first time ever, the world witnessed a “maximum credible accident” in a nuclear installation. This disaster changed the world. The Chernobyl catastrophe made millions of people into victims. 180,000 kilograms of highly radioactive material were inside the reactor. The radioactive cloud did not stop at borders, it circled the world. Even now, the effects of the accident are still being suppressed, hushed up and made light of.
    25 Years After Chernobyl
    Against the will of the German people, the operational lifespan of nuclear power plants is being increased. New nuclear power plants are being planned and built in Europe. Politics are slave to the nuclear industry. The fairy tale of “clean” nuclear energy as saviour of the climate and a “stopgap technology” is doing the rounds. In place of responsible policies we find only disinformation. The success story that was renewable energy has been stalled.
    The Congress
      - provides information on the effects of Chernobyl
      - analyses the risk potential of the nuclear chain
      - offers solutions for a world free from the nuclear threat
      - introduces possibilities for action

  • Socio-Ecological Union
    This is the only international ecological organization born in the USSR. In the middle of 2000 the Socio-Ecological Union brings together more than 25 thousand persons from 19 countries of Europe, Asia and North America. See especially, Programs of SEU.

  • The Institute of Radiation Safety "BELRAD"
    The institute of radiating safety "BELRAD" (Institute "BELRAD") was created in 1990 and acts as independent not state organization. The goal of activity of the Institute "BELRAD" is radiation monitoring of the inhabitants of Chernobyl zone and their foodstuffs, development of measures on maintenance of radiation safety and protection of the population on territories, contaminated by radionuclides by realization of necessary scientific researches, development and organization of implementation of their results in practice.

  • The Physicians of Chernobyl, Association
    This is a humanitarian organisation, which was registered in 1990 in the Ukraine, the epicentre of the Chernobyl disaster. It does not receive any financial support from the government nor from international and lobby organisations. Thus the independence in the assessment of the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and in the association's objective is sustained. Citizens of the Ukraine as well as foreigners, who take part in this field of activity, can become members of this association: physicians, scientists, journalists and other people, who realise humanitarian goals of the association.

  • Charities and Organisations across the UK
    dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by the Chernobyl disaster
    • Chernobyl Children's Project - Supporting the Children of Belarus
    • Chernobyl Children's Life Line brings several thousand children to the UK each year from Belarus and Ukraine to stay with families in over 100 links around the country; it has a family support project providing financial help to many poor families in Belarus.
    • Friends of Chernobyl Children an ecumenical group working with host families throughout the UK to help socially underpriviledged children affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
    • Chernobyl Continuity Started in 1998 Chernobyl Continuity organises respite holidays in the UK for Belarusian teenagers aged 16 to 18 with a programme designed to expand their horizons by taking part in activities most of us take for granted.
    • Friends of the Belarusian Childrens Hospice funds the building and staff of the Children's Hospice in Minsk which cares for 114 terminally ill or severely disabled children. Has provided training and funding for two professional fundraisers who are working towards making the hospice independent of foreign support in the future.
    • Leaves Of Hope The charity's primary objective is to promote the social, medical and physical well being of the Children of Belarus by seeking to alleviate the consequences of poverty, sickness and distress, by developing programmes of education and training that promote the rights of children, particularly focusing on early intervention, foster care and support for children with disabilities.
    • Chernobyl Children Rye hosts children - from toddlers to 18 year olds, and usually in remission from cancer - in the Rye, Hastings and Battle area. The charity also funds hospice nurses supporting children in their homes in the city of Pinsk.
    • Heart Hope Help has been delivering aid to Belarus for many years, supporting schools, orphanages and Hospices. They are very involved with the Children's Hospice in Slonim.

  • To The Memory of Chernobyl April 26, 1986 - 2011, Maria Gilardin, TUC Radio
    Instead of honoring its victims at this time, Chernobyl is referenced to minimize the impact of Fukuchima.

  • Documentary: The Battle of Chernobyl, Play Film, 2006
    On April 26, 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian city of Pripyat exploded and began spewing radioactive smoke and gas. Firemen discovered that no amount of water could extinguish the blaze. More than 40,000 residents in the immediate area were exposed to fallout 100 times greater than that from the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan. But the most serious nuclear accident in history up to that time had only begun.
              Based on top-secret government documents that came to light only in the Nineteen Nineties during the collapse of the Soviet Union, The Battle Of Chernobyl reveals a systematic cover-up of the true scope of the disaster, including the possibility of a secondary explosion of the still-smoldering magma, whose radioactive clouds would have rendered Europe uninhabitable. The government effort to prevent such a catastrophe lasted for more than seven months and sacrificed the lives of thousands of soldiers, miners and other workers.
              The Battle Of Chernobyl dramatically chronicles the series of harrowing efforts to stop the nuclear chain reaction and prevent a second explosion, to "liquidate" the radioactivity, and to seal off the ruined reactor under a mammoth "sarcophagus." These nerve-racking events are recounted through newly available films, videos and photos taken in and around the plant, computer animation, and interviews with participants and eyewitnesses, many of whom were exposed to radiation, including government and military leaders, scientists, workers, journalists, doctors, and Pripyat refugees.
              The consequences of this catastrophe continue today, with tens of thousands of disabled survivors suffering from the "Chernobyl syndrome" of radiation-related illnesses, and the urgent need to replace the hastily-constructed and now crumbling sarcophagus over the still-contaminated reactor. As this remarkable film makes clear, The Battle Of Chernobyl is far from over.

  • Chernobyl Heart, a 2003 documentary film by Maryann DeLeo
    The film won the Best Documentary Short Subject Award at the 2004 Academy Awards.

  • The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, A Long Term Project by Gerd Ludwig
    Due to the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan, this project has become as timely and important as ever. While Gerd documents the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster nearly 25 years later, he reminds us that the cost and consequences of nuclear energy will continue to develop for decades to come.
    -- Brandon Nightingale, Studio Manager for Gerd Ludwig, 23 Mar 2011

  • Chernobyl Legacy by Paul Fusco
    Photographer Paul Fusco faces the dark legacy of Chernobyl, focusing on the horrifying human consequences of the event that is now 20 years in the past. Fusco's work forces us to remember an important nightmare that we would forget at the peril of our mortality and our future.

  • Chernobyl Exclusion Zone 2008-2009 by Graham Gilmore
    [N]uclear power has always aroused my interest, from atomic weapons and eerie-looking gas masks to the invisible dangers of nuclear airborne particles. For me it is the most frightening human creation and something that requires the utmost respect from all of mankind, both as an efficient energy source and as a weapon of mass destruction.

  • Chernobyl nuclear disaster–in pictures, Igor Kostin,, 26 Apr 2011
    In the immediate aftermath of the explosion on 26 April, 1986, few were prepared to endure the massive radiation levels and document the disaster, but Russian photographer Igor Kostin did. In the years that followed, he continued to monitor the political and personal stories of those impacted by the disaster, publishing a book of photos called Chernobyl: Confessions of a Reporter. His images of a deformed boy even led to adoption of the 'Chernobyl Child' in UK. Here is a selection of his finest photographs.
15.9. Conclusion

       U.S. President John F. Kennedy speaking about the necessity to stop atmospheric nuclear tests said in June 1963:
. . . The number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards, but this is not a natural health hazard—and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life or the malformation of even one baby—who may be born long after we are gone—should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent.
       The Chernobyl catastrophe 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.
—Chapter 15. Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe for Public Health and the Environment 23 Years Later, page 326. Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.

  • Nuclear Technology: The Inappropriate Exercise of Human Intelligence
    by dave ratcliffe, marking the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl Catastrophe

  • As of November 1995, a partial list of some of the costs of Chernobyl Catastrophe:
    1. Death rates are 30 percent higher for those in contaminated regions in the Ukraine compared to the rest of the country.
    2. Birth rates in Belarus have fallen 50 percent.
    3. Thyroid cancer, particularly among children, is up 285 percent in Belarus.
    4. About 7,000 in Russia alone who helped put out the fire and seal the reactor are believed to have died and 38 percent are recovering from some kind of disease.
    5. Belarus, the most heavily affected country, spends 20 percent of its budget on dealing with Chernobyl's aftermath; Ukraine devotes four percent and Russia, one percent.
    6. Contamination of Lake Kojanovskoe -- downriver from Chernobyl and used by more than 30 million people -- with "radiation levels 60 times above European Union safety norms".
    7. Repair estimates for the disintegrating sarcophagus range from $1.28 to $2.3 billion.
    8. 125,000 people alone have died "from diseases related to the accident" according to Ukraine's Health Ministry.
    9. Ivan Kenik, Belarus's Chernobyl minister, estimates the cost within the borders of Belarus for "total damages from the Chernobyl catastrophe from 1986 to 2015" to be $235 billion.

  • Testimony about Chernobyl from the World Uranium Hearing conducted in Salzburg in 1992:


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