Nuclear Power – Unwanted and Unnecessary (Pt. 1)

This posting is a follow-on from the blog about the impacts of mining nuclear fuel (uranium) and is part one in a series highlighting other issues with nuclear power.

Chernobyl Reactors after the DisasterChernobyl stands as an example of the impact of a nuclear power station accident.  Whilst there appears to be a general agreement (please refer to this BBC article and this Wikipedia entry) that 31 people died as an immediate consequence of the accident, there are various reports from which data for the additional deaths can be drawn and the numbers do vary.  For example, the UN International Atomic Energy Agency Chernobyl Forum 2006 report Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts predicted 4,000 additional deaths attributable to the accident whereas Greenpeace International’s 2006 report The Chernobyl Catastrophe – Consequences on Human Health predicted 93,000 fatal cancer cases.  The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament commissioned 2006 report The Other Report On Chernobyl (TORCH) states in the foreword that “evaluations estimate the death toll from cancer alone to between 30,000 and 60,000”.

The real issue is that the full effects of the Chernobyl accident will never be known although it is clear they are far greater than implied by official estimates.

There are also the other environmental impacts to consider, such as:

These figures and examples show clearly the potential impact of an accident involving nuclear power.

The final word about Chernobyl belongs to Kofi Annan (April 2000, taken from the Greens/EFA report referred to above):
“There are two compelling reasons why this tragedy [Chernobyl] must not be forgotten.  First, if we forget Chernobyl, we increase the risk of more such technological and environmental disasters in the future.  Second, more than seven million of our fellow human beings do not have the luxury of forgetting.  They are still suffering, every day, as a result of what happened 14 years ago.  Indeed, the legacy of Chernobyl will be with us, and with our descendants, for generations to come.”

David M. Davison


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