We need to know the truth about the Chernobyl fallout


The Guardian, UK, Friday 31 March 2006

We need to know the truth about the Chernobyl fallout

Twenty years on and the casualty figures from the nuclear disaster still don’t add up, says Linda Walker

“Supporters of the nuclear industry will be apoplectic about the report on the Chernobyl legacy by John Vidal (UN accused of ignoring 500,000 deaths, March 25). And even those of us who believe the effects of the nuclear disaster to be widespread, serious and long term, will be disappointed to read of what must surely be a gross over-estimate of the real casualty figures.

It is notoriously difficult to gather real statistics – there has been little serious research, and many of those involved have an axe to grind.

The charity I represent has been working in Belarus for 11 years, delivering humanitarian aid, training orphanage staff and foster families, and bringing children to the UK for recuperative holidays.

Regular visitors to Belarus cannot fail to be aware of the many health problems which, even today, seem to be more acute in the contaminated parts of the country. Twenty years on, young parents are giving birth to babies with disabilities or genetic disorders, or who develop serious diseases in their early months. But as far as we know, no research is being conducted into these issues.

Haematologists speak of blood disorders in children which are normally only seen in the elderly; heart disease and respiratory problems in children are widespread; osteoporosis is seen in small children; in the orphanages there are many children who do not grow, still looking like toddlers into their teens; babies are born with missing or twisted limbs; and breast cancer among young women is a major problem.

Thyroid cancer is the only illness which is indisputably linked to Chernobyl. There was a great deal of early scepticism, especially from US scientists, but eventually it could not be denied that the exponential rise in this normally rare disease could have only one cause.

Last September a report by the International Atomic Energy Authority’s Chernobyl Forum claimed that, apart from thyroid cancer, there were very few serious health effects in Belarus and Ukraine. Most of the problems were caused by psychological distress or radiophobia, it said. As the IAEA’s primary role is the promotion of nuclear power, playing down the effects of the world’s worst nuclear disaster is part of its agenda.

On the other hand, if the figures reported by John Vidal were to be believed, 500,000 deaths in Ukraine would mean that at least as many would have died in Belarus, which received a greater proportion of the radiation, with perhaps a further 100,000 in Russia. This would amount to well over a million deaths in the immediate region, not to mention the fatalities across Europe in the path of the fallout. These figures seem almost as unlikely as the derisory “only 51 deaths so far” of the IAEA-led report.

Many charities in Britain have come together to form a coalition – Remember Chernobyl – which seeks to raise maximum awareness about the long-term effects of the fallout, and to appeal for unbiased, independently funded research. Twenty years on, it is time a determined effort was made to learn the truth about the real effects of the disaster.

· Linda Walker is the national co-ordinator of the Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK) rememberchernobyl.org
end quote.

Given the refusal of the Government of Japan to recognise the wider area of fallout within Hiroshma now proven to exist, given the compliance forced upon the Japanese government and people from occupation until 1952, given the rise of nuclear power in Japan and the manner in which this came about, given the very recent refusal by the Japanese government to accept aspects of disease demonstrated by people who suffered the effects of atomic bombs in ways which do not include cancer, it is not surprising that inadequate research is being undertaken in Chernobyl affected areas of the former Soviet Republics. Nuclear authorities by now know what not to look for in this regard. It has long been my opinion that chronic ill health caused by exposure within contaminated areas is quite common. The illnesses cause long periods of routine debility and manifest commonly with fatigue as a prominent symptom.

2 Responses to “We need to know the truth about the Chernobyl fallout”

  1. CaptD Says:

    Japanese people better get informed before they “accept” that everything is OK especially those that have been told to move back into contaminated areas; I suggest that they demand their TOP Political leaders to move their young families into the area first!

  2. Dr Hida and the Exclusion of Japanese victims of Fallout | Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog Says:

    […] https://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/response-we-need-to-know-the-truth-about-the-chernoby…UK source. […]

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