Reactor 4, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine, 26 of April 1986.
[First published july 12, 2009]
The Chernobyl disaster in northern Ukraine occurred on 26 of April 1986.
It is said that the disaster released as much as 400 times the radioactive contamination of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Over 400,000 people were evacuated.
Chernobyl, Northern Ukraine, North of Kiev, near the border with Bielorussia.
The Chernobyl explosion sent a radioactive dust cloud over northern Ukraine that crossed into Belarus and Russia.
Excessive levels of radiation were recorded in Greece, Ireland, Sweden, Wales, Italy, Alaska, also probably in the north and east of France (despite official denials), and in other areas.
Almost the entire territory of Belarus was contaminated (more than 90%).
The World Health Organization estimated in 2005 that “a total of up to 4,000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident,” according to “an international team of more than 100 scientists.” In 2006, the figures presented by the World Health Organization had increased to 9,000 (BBC link).
Greenpeace opposed those figures and predicted an eventual death toll of 93,000 (same BBC link). Apparently, Greenpeace’s report at the time was looking at all areas of Europe contaminated by the nuclear disaster, while WHO considered only the three most affected countries (Ukraine, Belarus, Russia). BBC states, at the bottom of its 2006 article, that the original WHO report “found more than 600,000 people received high levels of exposure, including reactor staff, emergency and recovery personnel and residents of the nearby areas.”
One should be cautious with figures. The nuclear industry is a powerful lobby. It goes without saying that the nuclear industry has a vested interest in playing down Chernobyl. It’s an embarrassment, indeed a shame to them — and billions of dollars are at stake.
The hole, the warning, the eloquent and sobering message of a still vivid and silent wound. What remained of Reactor 4 from the Chernobyl (Tchernobyl) nuclear plant in Ukraine (Ukrainia) some time after the explosion. Photo taken in 1986.
[A btw note for those who are interested in those matters - and they are of interest : part of this article has been plagiarized verbatim by this other site without any reference or link to the source (here).]
In her 2002 documentary, Chernobyl Heart, Maryann de Leo says that, at the time (2002), 13,000 of the 600,000 “liquidators,” conscripted for the cleanup in 1986, had died. The “liquidators” had been exposed to massive doses of radiation, evaluated at 90 times greater than radiation from the explosion of the uranium atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima by the US on 6th of August 1945.
Today, there is an “Exclusion Zone” of 30 km (19 miles) radius surrounding the destroyed reactor (which was located much nearer to Pripyat than to Chernobyl per se). Officially, nobody is allowed to live in the “Exclusion Zone,” although some people, among the elders, have returned home and are tolerated by the authorities.
In 2002, 16 years after the disaster, according to Chernobyl Heart, the incidence of thyroid cancer in Gomel (Belarus) was 10,000 times higher than it was before the Chernobyl accident, and disheartening congenital birth defects had increased by 250%. Children were the worst affected. Gomel, less than 50 miles from Chernobyl (population: 700,000), was contaminated in 2002 with a cesium level 40 times higher than the recognized danger limit. The Chief Director at the Maternity Hospital of Gomel, Dr. Burakovsky, was quoted in Chernobyl Heart, saying: “Approximately fifteen percent (15%) to twenty percent (20%) of babies are born healthy” (no, it’s neither a typo, a lapsus or an error). More than 90% of Belarus, according to Chernobyl Heart, was contaminated. The infant mortality rate in Belarus was 300% higher than in the rest of Europe. Babies, kids, pay a horrible price.
I stumbled upon the documentary Sex Slaves, directed by Ric Esther Bienstock and produced around 2005. The documentary is dealing with human trafficking. But it provides a short segment which is descriptive of the long-term trans-generational ill-effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on people, for instance on some kids not being born yet in 1986. There’s a moment where the documentary shows a close link between the Chernobyl disaster, force migration to avoid the region, diseases caused by having been exposed to radiations (especially kids), ex-Ussr impoverishment and in a number of satellite countries as well, notably Ukraine, among others, — and human trafficking taking advantage of it. Much money is needed for a young brother medical care, or a sister, a mother, because of radiations. Tania, an Ukrainian, falls into the trap of human trafficking promising money, delivering sex slavery, and more misery. Tania is Ukrainian. The segment is between 43 mn 48 and 45 mn 36 ; short epilogue between 53 mn 04 and 53 mn 23 :
Du même reportage ici, un segment, en français, de ~ 06 mn 10 à ~ 07 mn 20 :