Chernobyl still affecting millions
Madam -- The article, 'Our judgement was distorted by Chernobyl tales' (Sunday Independent, February 12, 2012), does a grave disservice to the victims and survivors of Chernobyl and puts the burden of proof of radiation-related illnesses on the victims.
Far from being relegated to 'history', the accident continues to affect millions who live with the social, economic and medical deprivation.
The US National Academy of Sciences states that most cancers resulting from radiation exposure do not develop in some cases for up to 50 years after exposure. The State-appointed Belarusian Chernobyl Committee predicts 15,000 new thyroid cases in the region in the next five decades. There has been a 2,400 per cent increase in rates of thyroid cancer in Belarus alone, according to the World Health Organisation.
The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2009, state that there is no 'safe dose' of ionising radiation and show rises in all types of cancer causing thousands of deaths, including increases in infant mortality, deformities and genetic abnormalities, delayed mental development, neuropsychological illness, blindness, and diseases of the respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, urogenital and endocrine systems.
Nuclear power can never be completely tamed or safely controlled. The price of nuclear power and nuclear weapons in human terms is a price too high. If a risk is unavoidable, that risk should be unacceptable. In Ireland we are blessed with clean, renewable, safe, wind, wave and solar sources of non-nuclear energy. We can renew our vision for a better society based on sustainable resources and energy-efficient technology. We need a new kind of courage to embrace alternative and safe energy technologies. Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Chernobyl, Fukushima must never happen again!
CEO, Chernobyl Children International