July 2, 2006 at 10:25 pm (Uncategorized)

Chernobyl death toll grossly underestimated

Ksenia (born 1990) and Yevgeni (1981) Kolomoytsev. Ksenia has thyroid and immune system deficiency. Yevgeni has kidney problems.

It’s 20 years since Chernobyl became the site of the world’s most infamous nuclear accident, one which released 270 times more radiation than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Radiation levels in the plant – at 15,000 times normal – were high enough to destroy the human nervous system in 30 minutes. More than two and a half million people are defined as ‘Victims of Chernobyl’ in the Ukraine alone while a fifth of land in Belarus was contaminated.

The disaster may have receded into distant memory for some of us, but millions of people in Western Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine are still living lives blighted by radiation, displacement, disease and trauma.

A new Greenpeace report has revealed that the full consequences of the Chernobyl disaster could top a quarter of a million cancers cases and nearly 100,000 fatal cancers.

Our report involved 52 respected scientists and includes information never before published in English. It challenges the International Atomic Energy Agency Chernobyl Forum report, which predicted 4,000 additional deaths attributable to the accident as a gross simplification of the real breadth of human suffering.

The new data, based on Belarus national cancer statistics, predicts approximately 270,000 cancers and 93,000 fatal cancer cases caused by Chernobyl. The report also concludes that on the basis of demographic data, during the last 15 years, 60,000 people have additionally died in Russia because of the Chernobyl accident, and estimates of the total death toll for the Ukraine and Belarus could reach another 140,000.

The report also looks into the ongoing health impacts of Chernobyl and concludes that radiation from the disaster has had a devastating effect on survivors; damaging immune and endocrine systems, leading to accelerated ageing, cardiovascular and blood illnesses, psychological illnesses, chromosomal aberrations and an increase in foetal deformations.

The real face of the nuclear industry

Each one of these statistics has a face. Many people are paying a price for the negligence of a dirty and dangerous industry.

This is just a selection of pictures from a new photography exhibit opening in London marking the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl. Fallout: The human cost of nuclear catastrophe, held at the Oxo Gallery on London’s South Bank, features poignant images of individuals and families whose lives have been devastated by Chernobyl and other nuclear disasters.

These powerful images are a timely reminder that human lives are more than just numbers. For each statistic there is a person paying the ultimate price. Anyone who doubts the dangers of nuclear power should visit the exhibition and see for themselves one of the reasons why we oppose nuclear power. Twenty years on, every nuclear power plant bears the legacy of the nuclear industry’s victims; and every nuclear power plant represents the threat of becoming the next Chernobyl.

With nuclear power firmly back on the political agenda here in the UK, The report and exhibition offer a timely and cautionary reminder of the risks of nuclear technology and the deadly consequences when things go wrong.

Get active

Twenty years after Chernobyl, Tony Blair is reviewing the UK’s energy policy and wants a new generation of nuclear power stations. But a cleaner, safer, cheaper alternative exists. Write to your MP to say no to nuclear and yes to efficiency and renewables.

Former Environment Ministers call on UN to drop nuclear support

Chernobyl fallout exhibition - Annya

Chernobyl fallout exhibition – Annya

12-04-2006

Ten former Environment Ministers from across Europe, including MP Michael Meacher, are today (11 April 2006) calling on the United Nations to drop its support for nuclear technology in the run-up to the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

In a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Mohamed El-Baradei, Director of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, the politicians called for a reform of the IAEA’s “conflicting and outdated mandate”.

This demand highlights the contradictory roles the IAEA plays in the international arena. On one hand, the IAEA is tasked with stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and providing technical assistance to support the nuclear disarmament process. On the other, the IAEA’s mandate promotes nuclear power. The former environmental ministers are calling on the UN to propose amendments to the IAEA statute at the forthcoming IAEA Board of Governors and General Conference in mid September.

Satu Hassi, Member of European Parliament and former Finish Environmental Minister, said: “The risk of nuclear arms proliferation seems to be growing rapidly. To be able to function effectively, the IAEA should end its schizophrenic role.

“It cannot effectively prevent nuclear arms proliferation when it, at the same time, promotes nuclear energy technology, which produces material for bombs. Therefore the time has come to make end of this double role of IAEA.”

Felicity Hill, Nuclear Political Advisor for Greenpeace, said: The United Nations should dedicate this reform to the thousands of people in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus whose lives were scarred forever on the morning of the 26th of April 1986.

“The 20th anniversary of the biggest nuclear disaster in history is an opportunity to remove the threat of nuclear disasters from the planet, starting with reforming the IAEA. Atoms for Peace sounds like a nice ideal, but we all know that the reality of atomic energy is anything but peaceful.”

Dominique Voynet, Senator and former French Minister for the Environment, said: “The IAEA acts as a true promoter for the nuclear industry worldwide. By deliberately ignoring the interlink between civil and military nukes, it contributes to the proliferation of fissile materials.

“Nations are also responsible in this dangerous interaction. France particularly, must end its sales policy of nuclear materials and technologies to whomever is willing to pay. This trade jeopardizes world peace.”

Notes:

Signatories of the Ministers’ letter are the following former Environmental Ministers:

  1. Former Ukrainian Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Sergiy Kurykin
  2. Former Russian Minister of Environment, Victor Danilov-Danilian
  3. Former Belarusian Minister of Environment, Anatolii Dorofeev Anatolii Dorofeev
  4. Former Italian Minister of Environment, Edo Ronchi
  5. Former Danish Environment and Energy Minister, Svend Auken
  6. Former Belgian Minister of Environment, Magda Alvoet
  7. Former Czech Minister of Environment, Ivan Dejmal
  8. Former Finish Minister of Environment and Development Cooperation, Satu Hassi
  9. Former French Minister of Environment and Regional Planning, Dominique Voynet

Click here to read the Ministers’ letter. Greenpeace will be launching a new photography exhibition to mark the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster with a press conference at 11am on 18 April at the Oxo Gallery, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London, SE1 9PH.

The exhibition is open daily until 14 May from 11am until 6pm. For more details, email Jo Bexley, Panos Pictures, or call 020 7253 1424; 07773 781 883.

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