Monday, April 25, 2011

The 25th Anniversary of Chernobyl and You - Some Surprising Facts

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Couple that with the ongoing problems at Fukushima and we are looking into a future of disastrous consequences. 

Photoshop makes some great propaganda, but the truth is quite different. What is appalling is that some people see this stuff and believe it to be true!

The online technology and culture publication, Spiked, has a brilliant essay about Chernobyl on the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

Here are some selected parts:

Yesterday was the twenty-fourth anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. That incident has become one of the main obstacles to the expansion of nuclear power, with environmental groups like Greenpeace demanding that we ‘Remember Chernobyl’. Indeed, we should – but we should remember what actually happened, not the nightmarish spectre summoned up by so many greens.

Just before 1.24am, a series of explosions blew the huge metal and concrete safety lid off the reactor, exposing the core. Enormous quantities of radiation poured out. In the next few days, a number of the plant operators and firemen fought heroically to seal the reactor, and many of them died horribly from radiation sickness as a result. 

Radioactive material was scattered far and wide, most notably in the surrounding parts of Ukraine and Belarus, but thousands of miles away, too. In the UK, for example, many sheep are still tested (almost certainly pointlessly) to ensure that no dangerous radioactivity enters the food chain.

Chernobyl was by far the world’s worst nuclear accident. However, official studies suggest that the accident was not as apocalyptic as we have often been led to believe over the past 24 years. According to a report in 2005, produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), "4,000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant…" 

As of mid-2005, however, fewer than 50 deaths had been directly attributed to radiation from the disaster, almost all being highly exposed rescue workers, many who died within months of the accident but others who died as late as 2004.’

Others claim that the WHO-IAEA report is a gross underestimate. Not surprisingly, considering it is a stalwartly anti-nuclear campaign group, Greenpeace published a report in 2006 claiming that ‘the full consequences of the Chernobyl disaster could top a quarter of a million cancer cases and nearly 100,000 fatal cancers’, with tens of thousands of premature deaths from other causes. However, there is good reason to believe that the WHO-IAEA claims of 50 deaths so far is nearer the mark. Apart from the poor souls who fought to deal with the accident directly, the actual radiation dose received by the population in the countries around the plant was quite small. 

The picture of Chernobyl in many people’s minds is of a nuclear wasteland for miles around. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Injecting some balance into the discussion of the accident and death toll at Chernobyl is not to suggest that this incident was an irrelevance. It was a very serious accident. But the lesson to be learned is not that nuclear power is inherently dangerous. In fact, Chernobyl aside, nuclear power has an astonishingly good safety record. The only other nuclear incidents that any member of the general public can ever remember were an accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, USA in 1979 - which resulted in no deaths at the time and produced an average exposure to radiation for the local population equivalent to a single chest x-ray - and a fire at the Windscale nuclear plant (now called Sellafield) in northern England in 1957, which again passed without immediate casualties (though about 200 cases of cancer were estimated to have been caused as a result in subsequent years).

This all sounds very good and promising for the nuclear power industry. But what is even more shocking is that many leaders of the Green Parties - who were adamantly anti-nuclear - have come out as pro-nuclear one they bothered to research the facts. The article continues:

Ironically, many leading greens have recently come out in support of expanding nuclear power, including James LovelockMark Lynas and former Greenpeace UK director, Stephen Tindale. Another veteran green, Stewart Brand, in his book Whole Earth Discipline, offers a mea culpa for opposing nuclear power for so long. ‘My opinion on nuclear has flipped from anti to pro. The question I ask myself now is, “What took me so long?” I could have looked into the realities of nuclear power many years earlier, if I weren’t so lazy.’

Finally, Spiked says it better than I ever could with their closing arguments:

Nuclear power is a safe, reliable and developing technology. We should be building new nuclear plants as soon as possible. And the fact that we have rejected nuclear for so long, and are still dithering about it today, has a lot to do with the myth of Chernobyl, its exploitation by anti-modern greens, and its impact on the increasingly risk-averse, investment-shirking governments that rule over us.

What people who want to stop nuclear energy fail to realize is that the economy is bad enough now as it is. The oil and coal industries have raped the environment and have caused untold misery in wars to control those resources

The way the current economy is - and will be for the foreseeable future - we cannot afford a world without cheap, clean nuclear power.  To think other wise is just plain foolish.

Can you imagine a near future of gasoline and oil prices hitting new world records - at prices three or four times higher than they are now - not to mention how skyrocketing oil prices will exponentially increase our grocery bills? What are our realistic options? 
Solar, wind and power from things like ethanol and bio-fuels that must be subsidized by you, the taxpayer, are generations away from being efficient and generating more energy per unit than they cost to produce.

The facts should be as plain as day to even the most vehement green. It has been to the leaders of the Green Parties:  T
he very worst thing that could happen to us, the little guy, (that's you and me) is for our gas and electricity costs to skyrocket in the middle of this recession. For the betterment of the environment and for our children's future and for our economic well-being, we need cheap, clean renewable energy.

All of our current alternative energy sources are dirty, destroy the environment and are not cost efficient. The only choice we have is nuclear power. We must continue to develop it and make it into the ultimate safe energy source. We have no other choice. 

Thanks to Michael Distacio of Rock Challenge Japan


Anonymous said...

Just keep in mind tomorrow, April 26th, is the 25th anniversary.

Just the facts,

Joe Friday.

Anonymous said...

And that's only the first thing you got wrong.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to be so graphic, but you are either lying or sadly misinformed, and either way, dangerously irresponsible.

You can laugh about earless bunnies all you want, but there are thousands of examples in the world of the horrors you are complicit in hiding.

Google Image Searches--

Children of Chernobyl

Children of Fallujah (Iraq),or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1334&bih=776&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi

mikeintokyorogers said...

I'm sorry to be so graphic, but you are either lying or sadly misinformed, and either way, dangerously irresponsible....
1) Earless bunnies are born all the time.
2) As are deformed children...Deformities of babies were a well documented facts of life in the very polluted Soviet Union well before Chernobyl. Not to say that Chernobyl did not cause any, but the facts remain that deformities are well documented results of pollution.
3) Only a fool t would compare deformities at Fallujah where nuclear weapons were used (depleted uranium) with the fission created by a nuclear power plant.
And, while you are complaining about that, why don't you bother to complain while your nation participates in bombing and killing brown skin children in the middle east 24/7 every day of the year?

mikeintokyorogers said...

PS:It really irks me that pompous self-righteous clowns like the anonymous above throw out crap about radiation at Fukushima and how it's going to kill us all, but while the USA and NATO nations bomb and kill brown skinned children in the mid east everyday, 24/7 and use nuke weapons on them, you hear nothing from people like that guy.... Oh, but depleted uranium on brown people.. that's different, right? They are inferior colored people's so you and your suburban white class are superior and different. Your class matters, their class doesn't. Right? You can read on the very blog many times where I haver attacked your type and the USA and the war machine for killing these peoples and destroying their lives. You do nothing of the sort. Go back to your room!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above is a typical white upper-class comfortable asshole.... Well, my friend, you ain't gonna be very comfortable for long....

How anyone can compare Chernobyl or Fukushima accident with the intentional bombing of a civilian city with depleted uranium shells by NATO forces only shows what a racist f*ck this person really is.