Advertisement

Basic Facts Re Nuclear Power And Chernobyl

topic posted Mon, February 14, 2005 - 10:30 PM by  Richard
Share/Save/Bookmark
Nineteen months after the
disaster, in Nov. 1987, the U.S. government
officially doubled its estimate of the
"background" radiation to which we are exposed
every year.11 [New York Times, November 20, 1987]


Nature has also reported that in Greece, 2,800
kilometers from Chernobyl, where radiation
exposures were far lower than in areas close to
the reactor, leukemia has been diagnosed at rates
2.6 times the norm in young people who were in the
womb when the reactor exploded. The British
epidemiologist Dr. Alice Stewart found long ago
that only one diagnostic X-ray to the pregnant
abdomen increases the risk of leukemia in the
offspring by 40 percent.19 However, the report
from Greece is the first to link Chernobyl's
wreckage to increased leukemia incidence in
children exposed in utero.20 The report has moved
some experts to again warn that the low levels of
radiation to which people are exposed every day
"could contribute to cancer."

> Let's not also forget some of the testimont
claiming the damage could reach
> as much as 1,000 miles.

Minnesota's radiation laced milk about 5,000 to
6,000 miles from Chernobyl and Oregon's radiation
laced
drinking water and rainfall used for other
purposes such as agriculture derived from rainfall
about 7,000 miles from Chernobyl put a new spin on
10 mile, 17.5 mile and even 1,000 mile evacuation
zones and affected areas from a nuclear power
catastrophe. And:
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 1996:
"radiation contamination was detectable over the
entire Northern Hemisphere."

AP, May 15, 1986: "Airborne radioactivity from the
Chernobyl nuclear accident is now so widespread
that it is likely to fall to the ground wherever
it rains in the United States, the EPA said."

AP, April 4, 1996: "Plutonium and other dangerous
particles released in the accident . . . have now
found their way to Ukraine's major waterways . . .
. 'We have billions of tons of radiated earth that
can't be dumped anywhere, and which will pour
plutonium, cesium and strontium into Europe for
decades,' the chief consultant to the Ukrainian
Parliament's Chernobyl commission said."




See below for massive media distortions of
Chernobyl effects:


The following is the work of John Laforge of
Nukewatch:


YOU SHOULD ASK FOR AN EMAIL COPY OF MY ARTICLE ON
CHERNOBYL FROM EARTH ISLAND JOURNAL, VOL. 12, NO.
3, SUMMER 1997, P. 28 TOO.

SINCERELY, JOHN LaFORGE
___________
Nukewatch
P.O. Box 649
Luck, WI 54853
Phone (715) 472-4185
Fax (715) 472-4184
Web www.nukewatch.com

MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

Published Sunday, May 7, 2000

Chernobyl: For 14 years, the industry has
downplayed the damage to humans and the planet
John M. LaForge

With a heavy dose of half-truth, the commercial
press works overtime to reduce the results of the
April 26, 1986, Chernobyl catastrophe to a
"nervous disorder" confined to the former Soviet
Union and Europe. Understated anniversary reports
of the worldwide radiation disaster help the
nuclear industry hold on against overwhelming
opposition, in spite of what should have been the
final insult from nuclear power.

Efforts at psychological "cleanup" often sound
like Peter Crane, a lawyer at the U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC), who says that "the
explosion . . . sent a radioactive cloud into the
atmosphere of Eastern Europe." This is a true
statement. It merely neglects to mention the rest
of planet Earth.

Journalist Michael Specter reports, "The fire,
which burned out of control for five days, spewed
more than 50 tons of radioactive fallout across
Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russia." This loaded
sentence is true, in a limited sense. That the
fire burned uncontrolled for two weeks after a
series of three explosions; that perhaps 190 tons
of reactor fuel was catapulted into the
atmosphere; or that the radioactive fallout spread
worldwide, reaching Minnesota's milk, for example,
doesn't make Specter a liar, only a miser with the
truth.

The Associated Press' Dave Carpenter's description
that "deadly reactor fuel shot into the
atmosphere, contaminating some 10,000 square miles
and reaching as far as Western Europe" is likewise
"correct," but Reuters reported on Nov. 28, 1995,
that the contaminated areas include about 61,780
square miles. What is it to understate the total
of irradiated territory by a factor of six? It
isn't the pot calling the kettle black; it's the
cesium calling the strontium a cancer agent.

Carpenter's AP lullaby was published widely and
included the comment that "those living in the
shadow of Chernobyl will be living with its deadly
health and environmental legacy for years."

For years? The word "centuries" would have been
more accurate, if conservative, since radiation's
health effects are multigenerational and not
limited in time. Indeed, some genetic effects
appear to be increasing with each successive
generation.

The AP's Angela Charlson reported that the
explosions sent "a radioactive cloud across parts
of Europe." Understatement was practiced as well
by the New York Times, which said the disaster
"spewed radiation across much of Europe" and that
"a plume of toxic gases and dust . . . spread
across the western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe
and Scandinavia." While this uncomfortable fact is
nowadays passe, the contamination of the whole
world was hinted at when the Times reported that
the radiation spread across western Russia "and
beyond."

'Irrational fears'?

While Chernobyl's long-lived carcinogens --
primarily cesium, plutonium, strontium and
iodine -- are well known to be deadly for decades
or centuries, Soviet officials, the United
Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
and U.S. editors have all ridiculed the
common-sense fear of Chernobyl's radioactive
fallout.

The official Soviet paper Izvestia said in 1988
that doctors in the Ukraine were "spending more
time on trying to dispel irrational fears than on
treating the effects of radiation."

The IAEA, which at first refused to conduct a
post-Chernobyl health study, claiming that all the
accident's effects were confined within Soviet
borders, dared to say in a 1991 study that
Chernobyl's health effects were mainly
"psychological." The heavily criticized report did
not consider the health of the emergency-response
workers or of the evacuees from the 18-mile
exclusion zone, 8,000 of whom are now known to
have died from radiation-related diseases.

The IAEA study failed to mention the lengthy
latency period for observed cancer incidence. This
cavalier whitewash of the disaster's inevitable
results came from a nominal nuclear watchdog.
"After all, the IAEA is in the business of
promoting nuclear energy, not discouraging it. For
10 years the agency has attempted to downplay the
consequences of the accident," wrote Alexander R.
Sich in a cover story for the Bulletin of Atomic
Scientists. The IAEA, still downplaying in 1995,
said any increase in cancer caused by Chernobyl
would be "undetectable."

Editors across the country have embraced the
IAEA's dismissive attitude, distracting readers
with headlines like "Citizens still suffering
radiation phobia" and "The legacy of Chernobyl:
Fear is the deeper wound." A dread of radiation
doesn't appear irrational in view of 1995's report
that "A second catastrophic explosion at the
Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine could happen
'at any time,' Western scientists have warned."

A short review of Chernobyl's fallout pattern
shows how irresponsible the reporting has become.

AP, May 15, 1986: "Airborne radioactivity from the
Chernobyl nuclear accident is now so widespread
that it is likely to fall to the ground wherever
it rains in the United States, the EPA said."

AP, May 14, 1986: "An invisible cloud of
radioactivity spewed over the Soviet Union and
Europe, and has worked its way gradually around
the world."

AP, May 15, 1986: "State authorities in Oregon
have warned residents dependent solely on
rainwater for drinking that they should arrange
other supplies for the time being."

Star Tribune, May 17, 1986: "Since radiation from
the Chernobyl nuclear accident began floating over
Minnesota last week, low levels of radiation have
been discovered in . . . the raw milk from a
Minnesota dairy."

AP, April 4, 1996: "Plutonium and other dangerous
particles released in the accident . . . have now
found their way to Ukraine's major waterways . . .
. 'We have billions of tons of radiated earth that
can't be dumped anywhere, and which will pour
plutonium, cesium and strontium into Europe for
decades,' the chief consultant to the Ukrainian
Parliament's Chernobyl commission said."

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 1996:
"radiation contamination was detectable over the
entire Northern Hemisphere."

Well beyond "Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russia,"
and further than "parts of Europe," Chernobyl's
contamination doused at least half the world. But
with so much disparity among estimates, we may
never know the true biological, ecological,
psychological and economic dimensions of
Chernobyl's radiation bomb.

-- John M. LaForge is codirector of Nukewatch, a
peace group based in Wisconsin, and editor of its
quarterly newsletter, the Pathfinder.

© Copyright 2000 Star Tribune. All rights reserved

_______________________________

Chernobyl at Ten:

Half-lives and Half Truths

(Part one of two)


By John M. LaForgeã


With a heavy dose of half-truth, the commercial
press worked over-time to reduce the results of
the Chernobyl catastrophe to a "nervous disorder"
confined to the C.I.S. and Europe. Understated
reports on the 10th anniversary of the world-wide
radiation disaster help the nuclear reactor
industry hold on against overwhelming opposition,
in spite of what should have been the final insult
from nuclear power.

The latest psychological "clean up" often went
like this. Peter Crane, a lawyer at the U. S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), said that
"...the explosion... sent a radioactive cloud into
the atmosphere of Eastern Europe." (1) This is a
true statement. It merely neglects to mention the
rest of planet Earth.

Reporter Michael Specter wrote that, "The fire
which burned out of control for five days, spewed
more than 50 tons of radioactive fallout across
Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russia." (2) This
loaded sentence is also literally true. The fact
that the fire burned uncontrolled for two weeks,
after a series of three explosions; that perhaps
190 tons of reactor fuel was catapulted into the
atmosphere; or that the radioactive fallout spread
world-wide ¾ reaching Minnesota's milk for example
¾ doesn't make of Mr. Specter a liar, only a miser
with the truth.

Associated Press (AP) correspondent Dave Carpenter
's description ¾ that "deadly reactor fuel shot
into the atmosphere, contaminating some 10,000
square miles and reaching as far as Western
Europe" (3) is likewise "correct," but Reuters
News Service reported on 28 Nov. 1995 that the
contaminated areas include about 61,780 square
miles.

Carpenter practiced perfect obfuscation in his
dispatch, saying of the reckless nuclearists over
there: "In a big lie, Soviet officials. . . first
hushed up the disaster then played down its
severity." What is it to understate the sum of
irradiated territory by a factor of six? It isn't
the pot calling the kettle black; it's the cesium
calling the strontium a cancer agent.

Carpenter's AP lullaby was published widely and
included the comment that, ". . .those living in
the shadow of Chernobyl will be living with its
deadly health and environmental legacy for years."
(4)

For years? The word centuries would have been more
accurate, if conservative, since radiation's
health affects are multi-generational and not
limited in time. Indeed, some genetic effects
appear to be increasing with each successive
generation.

The AP's Angela Charlson went so far as to say the
reactor sent "a radioactive cloud across parts of
Europe ..." (5) Understatement of the overwhelming
facts was practiced as well by the editors of The
New York Times, who said on April 21 that the
disaster "spewed radiation across much or Europe"
(6) and on the anniversary, that "...a plume of
toxic gases & dust...spread across the western
Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia." (7)
Although the contamination of the rest of the
world was hinted at as lately as 6 Oct. 1995, when
the Times reported that the radiation spread
across western Russia "and beyond," this
uncomfortable fact is nowadays passé.


The Disaster's in Your Head

While the explosions' long-lived carcinogens ¾
primarily cesium, plutonium, strontium and iodine
¾ are well known to be deadly for decades and even
centuries, Soviet officials, the U. N's
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and
U.S. editors have all ridiculed the common sense
fear of Chernobyl's radioactive fallout.

The official Soviet paper Izvestia said in 1988
that doctors in the Ukraine were, ". . .spending
more time on trying to dispel irrational fears
than on treating the effects of radiation." (8)

The IAEA which at first refused to conduct a
post-Chernobyl health study, claiming that all the
accident's effects were confined within Soviet
borders (9), dared to say in a 1991 study that
Chernobyl's health effects were mainly
"psychological." This heavily criticized report
didn't even consider the health of the
"liquidators," or the evacuees from the 18-mile
exclusion zone, 8,000 of whom are now known to
have died from radiation related diseases. (10)

The IAEA study failed to mention the lengthy
latency period for observed cancer incidence. This
cavalier white-wash of the disaster's inevitable
results came from a nominal nuclear watchdog,
which in fact is only the most prestigious booster
of nuclear power. "After all the IAEA is in the
business of promoting nuclear energy not
discouraging it. For ten years the agency has
attempted to downplay the consequences of the
accident," wrote Dr. Alexander R. Sich in a cover

story for the May/June Bulletin of Atomic
Scientists. (11) The IAEA, still sticking in its
vacuum, said in 1995 that any increase in cancer
caused by Chernobyl would be "undetectable."
(11.1)

Editors across the country have embraced the IAEA'
s dismissive attitude, distracting readers with
headlines like, "Area Frozen In Fear," "Citizens
Still Suffering Radiation Phobia," and "The Legacy
of Chernobyl: Fear is the Deeper Wound." A dread
of radiation doesn't appear irrational in view of
last year's report that "A second catastrophic
explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in
Ukraine could happen "at any time," Western
scientists have warned." (12)


Reality Officially Forgotten

A short review of Chernobyl's fallout pattern
shows how irresponsible the late reporting has
become. AP, 15 May 1986: "Airborne radioactivity
from the Chernobyl nuclear accident is now so
widespread that it is likely to fall to the ground
wherever it rains in the United States, the EPA
said." AP, 14 May 1986: "An invisible cloud of
radioactivity spewed over the Soviet Union and
Europe, and has worked its way gradually around
the world." AP, 15 May 1986: "State authorities in
Oregon have warned residents dependent solely on
rainwater for drinking that they should arrange
other supplies for the time being." Minneapolis
Star Tribune, 17 May 1986: "Since radiation from
the Chernobyl nuclear accident began floating over
Minnesota last week, low levels of radiation have
been discovered in... the raw milk from a
Minnesota dairy." AP, 4 April 1996: "Plutonium and
other dangerous particles released in the
accident...have now found their way to Ukraine's
major waterways. ... 'We have billions of tons of
radiated earth that can't be dumped anywhere, and
which will pour plutonium, cesium and strontium
into Europe for decades,' [the chief consultant to
the Ukrainian parliament's Chernobyl commission]
said." Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, May 1996, p.
38: "...radiation contamination was detectable
over the entire northern hemisphere."

With so much disparity among so many figures, we
may never know the true dimensions of Chernobyl's
radiation bomb.


Notes:

(1) NYT, Op-Ed, 5 April 1996.

(2) International Herald Tribune, 2 April 1996.

(3) Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 14 April 1996.


(4) Minneapolis Star Tribune, 21 April 1996.

(5) St. Paul Pioneer, 27 April 1996.

(6) NYT, 21 April 1996, The Week In Review.

(7) NYT, 26 April 1996, signed editorial by Philip
Taubman

(8) Los Angeles Times, 11 Feb. 1988.

(9) In These Times, 22 April 1987.

(10) AP, 23 April 1992; WISE News Communiqué,
(Amsterdam) No. 449, 10 April 1996.

(11) Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, May 1996, p.
38.

(11.1) Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/June
1996, p. 8.

(12) The London Observer, 26 March 1995; Milwaukee
Journal, 27 March 1995.


Half Lives and Half Truths: Chernobyl Ten Years On


By John M. LaForge ã

(Second of two parts)


The 10th anniversary was no party.

"I have seen the beginning of the end of the
world," is how Michael Mariotte, editor of The
Nuclear Monitor, put it after visiting Chernobyl's
doomed landscape, everything dead or dying for
miles around. "The end of the world begins in
Pripyat, Ukraine, a once-thriving city of 45,000.
Now it sits crumbling, abandoned, a mute but
overwhelming testament to technological arrogance
gone amok."1

Pripyat was the city nearest Chernobyl's Unit 4,
the reactor that exploded on April 26, 1986 and
burned dangerously until October, spewing tons of
cancer-causing isotopes around the world.2

Mr. Mariotte is not known for emotional writing in
The Monitor, but anyone who can stand to
investigate the unfolding human consequences of
the world's worst industrial catastrophe can
understand his choice of words. Izvestia called it
"the greatest technological catastrophe in world
history."3

Cancers and other disease caused by Chernobyl's
radioactive poisons are being recorded thousands
of kilometers from the reactor site. The ninety
million people who lived in the path of the very
worst fallout are learning the hard way that
damage done by ionizing radiation is unrelenting,
cumulative and irreversible.

In the first part of this article (Spring 1996
Pathfinder) I compared the recent trivialization
of Chernobyl's consequences to news accounts that
appeared soon after the explosions and fire. For
example, while the commercial press now tell us
that the disaster "spread radiation across parts
of Europe," the fact is that the federal EPA
announced in mid-May 1986 that, "Airborne
radioactivity from the Chernobyl nuclear accident
is now so widespread that it is likely to fall to
the ground wherever it rains in the United
States."4

In this part I look at how much radiation
Chernobyl evidently dumped added to the
"background," at official skewing of the its
inevitable long-term effects, and at recent
reports of its human health consequences.


Answers are Blowin' in the Wind

How much radiation was released? What percentage
of which isotopes were thrown into the atmosphere.
Was it mostly iodine-131? How much of the total
was made up of the far more dangerous cesium-137,
strontium-90 and plutonium?

Piecing together the truth is a dizzying job of
ferreting out bias and vested interest. The
pro-nuclear Time magazine reported in 1989 that
perhaps "one billion or more" curies were
released, rather than the 50 to 80 million
estimated by Russian authorities.5 One curie is
the amount of radiation equal to the
disintegration of 37 billion atoms ¾ 37 billion
becquerels ¾ per second. It is a very large amount
of radiation.

The U.S. government's Argonne Nat. Lab has said
that 30 percent of the reactor's total
radioactivity ¾ 3 billion of an estimated 9
billion curies ¾ was released.6 And scientists at
the U.S. Lawrence Livermore Nat. Lab suggested
that one-half of the core's radioactivity was
spewed ¾ 4.5 billion curies, according the World
Information Service on Energy, quoting Science,
6-13-86.

Vladimir Chernousenko, the chief scientific
supervisor of the "clean up" team responsible for
a 10-kilometer zone around the exploded reactor,
says that 80 percent of the reactor's
radioactivity escaped, something like seven
billion curies.7 At the Union of Concerned
Scientists, senior energy analyst Kennedy Maize,
concluded that "the core vaporized" ¾ all 190 tons
of fuel, and all 9 billion curies.8

Former Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, Joseph Hendrie, concluded likewise,
saying "They have dumped the full inventory of
volatile fission products from a large power
reactor into the environment. You can't do any
worse than that."9

The Russians and the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) claimed in a 1986 report, that 50
million curies of radioactive debris, plus another
50 million curies of rare and inert gasses were
discharged. However, the rocketing incidence of
cancers, leukemias and other radiation-induced
illnesses, leads scientists to suspect that the
higher radioactive fallout estimates are likely.
Pandemic numbers of thyroid cancers led even the
cautious Dr. Alexander Sich, in his Chernobyl
cover story for the May 1996 Bulletin of Atomic
Scientists to conclude that the "higher
[radiation] release estimates support the
conclusions drawn by medical experts."

Geneticist Valery N. Soyfer, founder of the former
Soviet Union's first molecular biology laboratory,
analyzed the 1986 report to the IAEA, which has
since been condemned as a cover-up. Dr. Soyfer
says that if only 100 million curies were vented,
then world "background radiation doubled at
once."10 This claim was unsupported by
accompanying evidence, but if "background" was
doubled by 100 million curies, then it was
multiplied 180 times by the release of Chernobyl's
"full inventory." Nineteen months after the
disaster, in Nov. 1987, the U.S. government
officially doubled its estimate of the
"background" radiation to which we are exposed
every year.11


Thyroid Cancers: More, Sooner, Untreatable

Dr. Soyfer further discovered that the Soviets
focused on and publicized the fallout's
radioactive iodine content, but understated the
amounts of other far more dangerous isotopes.
While 10 to 15 percent of the fallout was
iodine-131, the long-lived radionuclides
strontium-90 and cesium-137 made up more than two
thirds of the total contamination.12

Furthermore, the Soviet's 1986 estimate of future
cancer deaths was based only on the impact of
iodine-131, and then only on external doses. As a
result, the IAEA misled the world about Chernobyl'
s cancer threat. People contaminated with
iodine-131 ingested it, first by breathing, then
by drinking contaminated milk for six weeks.
Thyroid cancer is caused by the iodine-131. Its
rates are today ten times higher than the increase
any scientist had anticipated. The U. N. has said
that the number of thyroid cancers among children
in Belarus ¾ where 70 percent of the fallout
landed ¾ are 285 times pre-Chernobyl levels.13

The British Medical Journal reported in 1995 that
the rate of thyroid cancer in the region north of
Chernobyl¾ Ukraine and Belarus¾ is 200 times
higher than normal, and the (British) Imperial
Cancer Research Fund found a 500 percent increase
in thyroid cancers among Ukrainian children
between 1986 and 1993.14

Fear is growing among physicians treating the
young radiation victims, because the thyroid
cancers are appearing sooner than expected and
growing quicker than usual. Dr. Andrei Butenko, at
Kiev Hospital No. 1 in Ukraine, says of his
patients, "Routine chemotherapy seems to have lost
its effectiveness; something has changed in the
immune system."15


Cesium's Genetic Assault: the 300 Years War

Cesium-137 contamination is probably Chernobyl's
most devastating and ominous consequence. The body
can't distinguish cesium from potassium, so it's
taken up by our cells and becomes an internal
source of radiation. Cesium-137 is a gamma emitter
and its half-life of 30 years means that it stays
in the soil, to concentrate in the food chain, for
over 300 years. While iodine-131 remains
radioactive for six weeks, cesium-137 stays in the
body for decades, concentrating in muscle where it
irradiates muscle cells and nearby organs.16

Strontium-90 is also long-lived and, because it
resembles calcium, is permanently incorporated
into bone tissue where it may lead to leukemia.

The Soviet's acknowledged in 1986 that the
influence of cesium-137 on cancer death rates
would be nine times that of iodine-131. They said
that the effects of strontium-90 would "perhaps
have, along with cesium-137, the most important
meaning."17


Early Findings Go from Bad to Worse

Exposure to radiation more often results in
genetic and reproductive damage than cancer. These
hereditary disorders are unlimited in time, since
they pass from generation to generation in the
sperm and ovum. So, as geneticist Soyfer points
out, Chernobyl's enduring biological legacy will
be that of inherited diseases, deformities,
developmental abnormalities, spontaneous abortions
and premature births.

Some recent epidemiological studies confirm the
worst of these inevitable effects. The June 25,
1995 Washington Post reported that birth defects
in the areas most heavily poisoned have doubled
since 1986.

In a long page one story, the Aug. 2, 1995 New
York Times reported that life expectancy has
plummeted in Russia, making it the first nation in
history to ever experience such a public health
status reversal. Male life expectancy is now the
lowest in the world (below even India or Bolivia)
and, at the same time, infant mortality rose 15
percent in both 1993 and 1994, and there are now
epidemic rates of heart disease and cancer. dr.
David Hoel, an epidemiologist at the Medical
University of S. Carolina, is studying whether
Chernobyl's radiation is a major factor in the
spread in cancers and birth defects. "Everyone
assumes the connection," he said.

The journal Nature has published a study of
children born in 1994 to mothers exposed to
Chernobyl's fallout in 1986. Researchers studied
79 families 186 miles from Chernobyl and found
never-before-observed "germ-line" mutations:
changes in DNA of the sperm and ovum. Such
mutations are passed on from generation to
generation.18

Nature has also reported that in Greece, 2,800
kilometers from Chernobyl, where radiation
exposures were far lower than in areas close to
the reactor, leukemia has been diagnosed at rates
2.6 times the norm in young people who were in the
womb when the reactor exploded. The British
epidemiologist Dr. Alice Stewart found long ago
that only one diagnostic X-ray to the pregnant
abdomen increases the risk of leukemia in the
offspring by 40 percent.19 However, the report
from Greece is the first to link Chernobyl's
wreckage to increased leukemia incidence in
children exposed in utero.20 The report has moved
some experts to again warn that the low levels of
radiation to which people are exposed every day
"could contribute to cancer."

Even the stodgy New York Times has reported that
"cancers are now believed to be the result of
smaller [radiation] doses, and the amount of
damage inflicted by a given dose is now believed
to be larger."21

In a related study, two U.S. geneticists analyzing
animals inside Chernobyl's 6-mile radius found
that small rodents known as voles "sustain an
extraordinary amount of genetic damage." The study
found that "the mutation rate in these animals
is...probably thousands of times greater than
normal." Two findings called "ominous" were,
first, that one-third of the mutations that the
scientists expected to see were not even detected
¾ probably because they were lethal. "It could be
that the animals were never born," said Dr. Robert
Becker of Texas Technical Univ. Second, "the vole
mutations were cumulative, increasing with each
succeeding generation." Both researchers doubted
that any species could sustain such a mutation
rate indefinitely.22


Acceptable Whole-Earth Poisoning

The extent of Chernobyl's radioactive, biological
and ecological damage, and the depth its
psychological and economic devastation are
incalculable.

What everyone does know about nuclear reactors is
that they have a record of whole-earth poisoning,
and that their potential for more of the same is
considered acceptable ¾ authorized in advance.
This potential, for unlimited and uncontrollable
radiation "accidents," has been deliberately
developed, promoted, protected, ignored and then
denied, or forgotten.

Sadly, denial and forgetfulness only make another
Chernobyl inevitable.

Notes:

1 The Nuclear Monitor, newsletter of Nuclear
Information Resource Service (NIRS), April 1996.

2 St. Louis Post Dispatch (SLPD), 7-23-90.

3 SLPD, 4-26-90.

4 Associated Press, 5-15-86.

5 Time, 11-13-89.

6 The Chicago Tribune, 6-22-86.

7 "The Truth About Chernobyl," Critical Mass:
Voices for a Nuclear-Free Future, Ruggiero and
Sahulka, Eds., 1996 by Open Media, p. 127.

8 Not Man Apart, the journal of Friends of the
Earth, March 1987.

9 The Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5-19-86.

10 SLPD, 4-24-87.

11 The New York Times, 11-20-87.

12 SLPD, 4-24-87.

13 The New York Times, 11-29-96.

14 The Washington Post, 3-25-95.

15 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 12-12-94.

16 Caldicott, H., Nuclear Madness, 1994, Norton,
p. 137.

17 SLPD, 4-24-87.

18 The New York Times, 4-25-96.

19 Caldicott, Ibid., p. 43.

20 St. Paul Pioneer, 7-25-96.

21 The New York Times, 6-23-96.

22 The New York Times, 5-7-96, B6. --end--

(Part One ran in NUKEWATCH The Pathfinder, Summer
1996, part Two in Winter 1996/1997 EDITION; an
edited compilation of both parts is published in
Earth Island Journal, Summer 1997, EIJ, 300
Broadway, No. 28, San Francisco, CA 94133.)
posted by:
Richard
Advertisement

Recent topics in "Chernobyl Disaster"