Published on Monday, April 26, 2010 by Environment News Service (ENS)
NEW YORK - Nearly one million people around the world died from exposure to radiation released by the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl reactor, finds a new book from the
The book, "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, " was compiled by authors Alexey Yablokov of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy in
The authors examined more than 5,000 published articles and studies, most written in Slavic languages and never before available in English.
The authors said, "For the past 23 years, it has been clear that there is a danger greater than nuclear weapons concealed within nuclear power. Emissions from this one reactor exceeded a hundred-fold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on
"No citizen of any country can be assured that he or she can be protected from radioactive contamination. One nuclear reactor can pollute half the globe," they said. "
Their findings are in contrast to estimates by the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency that initially said only 31 people had died among the "liquidators," those approximately 830,000 people who were in charge of extinguishing the fire at the
The book finds that by 2005, between 112,000 and 125,000 liquidators had died.
"On this 24th anniversary of the
Drawing upon extensive data, the authors estimate the number of deaths worldwide due to
By contrast, WHO and the IAEA estimated 9,000 deaths and some 200,000 people sickened in 2005.
On April 26, 1986, two explosions occured at reactor number four at the
Yablokov and his co-authors find that radioactive emissions from the stricken reactor, once believed to be 50 million curies, may have been as great as 10 billion curies, or 200 times greater than the initial estimate, and hundreds of times larger than the fallout from the atomic bombs dropped on
Nations outside the former Soviet Union received high doses of radioactive fallout, most notably Norway, Sweden, Finland, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Austria, Romania, Greece, and parts of the United Kingdom and Germany.
About 550 million Europeans, and 150 to 230 million others in the Northern Hemisphere received notable contamination. Fallout reached the
The proportion of children considered healthy born to irradiated parents in
Numerous reports reviewed for this book document elevated disease rates in the
In addition to adverse effects in humans, numerous other species have been contaminated, based upon studies of livestock, voles, birds, fish, plants, trees, bacteria, viruses, and other species.
Foods produced in highly contaminated areas in the former
The authors warn that the soil, foliage, and water in highly contaminated areas still contain substantial levels of radioactive chemicals, and will continue to harm humans for decades to come.
The book explores effects of
Americans also consumed contaminated food imported from nations affected by the disaster. Four years later, 25 percent of imported food was found to be still contaminated.
Little research on
This occurred at the same time that childhood thyroid cancer rates in the former
The world now has 435 nuclear reactors and of these, 104 are in the
The New York Academy of Sciences says not enough attention has been paid to Eastern European research studies on the effects of Chernobyl at a time when corporations in several nations, including the United States, are attempting to build more nuclear reactors and to extend the years of operation of aging reactors.
The academy said in a statement, "Official discussions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations' agencies (e.g. the
To obtain the book from the
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