Chernobyl Day

by

Twenty four years ago today, the Number 4 reactor exploded at Chernobyl. It was the worst nuclear accident the world has ever seen.

Two people were killed in the explosion. Thirty-seven died of acute radiation sickness soon afterwards. According to engineers who were there, dozens were killed while building the reactor’s concrete sarcophagus. More than 2,000 villages around Chernobyl were contaminated by radioactivity. More than 330,000 people were evacuated and relocated. Statistics predict approximately 270,000 cancers and 93,000 fatal cancer cases will be caused by Chernobyl. At least three million children required medical treatment. The effect on the health of the survivors and their children has been devastating: accelerated ageing, cardiovascular and blood illnesses, psychological illnesses, chromosomal aberrations and an increase in foetal deformations.

Twenty-four years later and how do things look? Not good. There are few signs of improvement around Chernobyl. Although at first sight nature appears to be recovering, scientific research has shown continuing impacts on the wildlife in the most contaminated areas. People have started to move back to the villages and fields they had abandoned despite them being dangerous places to live.

Greenpeace took samples in the village of Bober, outside the exclusion zone in 2006. The analysis revealed levels of radioactive contamination 20 times higher than the threshold used in the European Union to define dangerous radioactive waste. Unfortunately, the Chernobyl accident is no longer an issue in the public eye. The victims – especially in the Ukraine, Byelorussia and Russia – receive little or no attention or assistance in tackling their health and social problems.

© Greenpeace/Robert Knoth

Annya Pesenko, from Belarus, is one of hundreds of thousands of Chernobyl victims. Bedridden and pain-racked with a brain tumour, she suffers because of a nuclear accident that happened in 1986, before she was even born.

Serious nuclear accidents took place before Chernobyl and continue to happen right up to the present day. The new generation of nuclear reactors now promoted as being safer than their predecessors have their own serious design flaws and safety concerns.

It’s way past time we admitted nuclear power was and is a terrible mistake. There are alternatives.

UPDATE: Greenpeace teams around the world have beem marking Chernobyl Day…

Italy:

 

France:

Turkey:

Posted by Justin on April 26, 2010 2:22 PM

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