[ RadSafe ] Greenpeace: Chernobyl Toll May Top 90,000

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Tue Apr 18 09:25:58 CDT 2006


Greenpeace: Chernobyl Toll May Top 90,000
Hiroshima foundation to release blood data on Chernobyl firefighter
Mammograms safe for women with cancer risk
Watching out for radiation
Japanese city could accept US nuclear ship
Public opinion warming to nuclear power
Petition for nuclear-free Wales  

Greenpeace: Chernobyl Toll May Top 90,000
KIEV, Ukraine Apr 18 (AP) - Greenpeace said Tuesday in a new report 
that more than 90,000 people were likely to die of cancers caused by 
radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, countering a     
United Nations report that predicted the death toll would be around 
The differing conclusions underline the contentious uncertainty that 
remains about the health effects of the world's worst nuclear 
accident as its 20th anniversary approaches.

A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded on 
April 26, 1986, spewing radioactive clouds over much of Europe. The 
fallout was particularly severe in northern reaches of Ukraine, 
western Russia and Belarus.

Areas immediately around the now-inoperative plant remain off limits, 
but people in other areas that received significant fallout are 
anxious about their health.

A report by the Chernobyl Forum - a group comprising the     
International Atomic Energy Agency and several other U.N. groups - 
last year said only 56 deaths thus far could be connected to 
Chernobyl and about 4,000 deaths total would ultimately be linked to 
the accident.

But Greenpeace, in a report citing data from Russia, Belarus and 
Ukraine, harshly disagreed and suggested the Chernobyl Forum report 
was deliberately misleading.

"It is appalling that the IAEA is whitewashing the impacts of the 
most serious nuclear accident in human history," Ivan Blokov of the 
environmental group's Russia office said in a statement. "Denying the 
real implications is not only insulting to the thousands of victims 
but it also leads to dangerous recommendations and the relocation of 
people in contaminated areas."

The Chernobyl Forum report had suggested that many of the health 
problems and complaints in the regions around Chernobyl were 
connected with unhealthy lifestyles, including heavy drinking and 
smoking, and with a culture of victimization.

Greenpeace countered that statistics from Belarus indicate there will 
be 270,000 cases of cancer attributable to Chernobyl radiation 
throughout the region and that 93,000 of those are likely to be 

Greenpeace also cited a report by the Center for Independent 
Environmental Assessment of the Russian Academy of Sciences that 
found a sharply increased mortality in western Russia over the past 
15 years, suggesting the rise was due to Chernobyl radiation.

"On the basis of demographic data, during the last 15 years, 60,000 
people have died additionally in Russia because of the Chernobyl 
accident and estimates of the total death toll for Ukraine and 
Belarus could be another 140,000," Greenpeace's international office 
said in a statement.

The report also finds that "radiation from the disaster has had a 
devastating effect on survivors" other than cancer cases - "damaging 
immune and endocrine systems, leading to accelerated aging, 
cardiovascular and blood illnesses, psychological illnesses, 
chromosome aberrations and an increase of deformities in fetuses and 

Hiroshima foundation to release blood data on Chernobyl firefighter

(Kyodo) Appr 18 _ The Radiation Effects Research Foundation in 
Hiroshima will soon release the test results of blood samples taken 
from the chief firefighter in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster that have 
been kept at the institute. 
The test conducted three and a half years after the accident showed 
that Leonid Telyatnikov was developing chromosomal abnormalities in 
40 percent of his lymphocytes, a result never made public before. 

Akio Awa, 72, who was then the chief of the Department of Genetics at 
the foundation, analyzed the samples. He decided to publish the data 
after learning about Telyatnikov's death in 2004. 

The data will soon be published in an academic paper on the occasion 
of the 20th anniversary of the disaster. 

Telyatnikov asked for a blood test after he heard of the foundation, 
which conducts health surveys on atomic bomb survivors, when he was 
visiting Hiroshima in October 1989 to give a talk. 

At the talk, Telyatnikov described his ordeal during the 20 days 
following the accident, including losing his hair and developing red 
spots in his hands. 

An analysis of 200 lymphocytes showed chromosome abnormalities in 
about 40 percent of the cells, including translocation, a condition 
in which a fragment of one chromosome is broken off and then attached 
to another. 

Awa said he believes Telyatnikov had absorbed 4 grays of radiation, 
equivalent to the amount one would absorb at 900 meters to 1 
kilometer away from the epicenter of the atomic bomb explosion in 
Hiroshima. This level of radiation normally kills about half of the 
exposed people within 60 days. 

Telyatnikov died of cancer in December 2004 at age 53. 

Awa wrote a letter to Telyatnikov's widow, Larisa, 58, attached a 
microscopic photograph of chromosomes, and had them delivered to her 
through a Kyodo News reporter. 

Larisa, who lives in Kiev, in turn wrote a thank you note on the back 
of a photograph of her husband and left it to the care of the 

Awa, who is examining the data before submitting the paper to a 
science journal, says he feels relieved that he could contact 
Telyatnikov's family. 

"I want to write this paper as the last big project in my life," he 

The foundation's physician, Kazuo Neriishi, took Telyatnikov's blood 
samples. He recalled Telyatnikov as well-built and very firefighter-
like, and remembered seeing his thick arm as he drew blood. 

Telyatnikov asked Neriishi what are the things he should be careful 
about in everyday life. Neriishi told him people exposed to radiation 
can develop the same diseases as those who are not, and that he has 
higher risk of developing cancer. Neriishi gave him Japanese green 
tea because it is believed to have cancer-fighting properties. 

"This experience led me to realize how important it was to call on 
the survivors of the atomic bomb to avoid tobacco and other cancer-
causing products, and to be careful about their diet," Neriishi said. 

The Chernobyl disaster began April 26, 1986, in a civilian nuclear 
power station in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. The plant's 
No. 4 reactor exploded while on a test run, releasing massive amount 
of radioactive materials into the atmosphere. 

The accident contaminated all of Europe and caused thyroid cancer 
among many children. 

The Chernobyl Forum, a group comprising the International Atomic 
Energy Agency and others, says about 4,000 people have died, but the 
number of casualties remains unknown, with some saying it totals 
several hundred thousand.

Mammograms safe for women with cancer risk

Special To Washington Post Apr 18 - The question: Some experts 
speculate that women whose genes make them prone to breast cancer 
also may be more susceptible to damage from the low-dose radiation of 
mammograms. Because these women, on the advice of their doctors, 
often start having mammograms at an earlier age and have them more 
frequently than other women, might they be adding to their risk of 
breast cancer?

This study reviewed questionnaire responses from 3,200 women with 
mutations of the breast cancer gene (BRCA-1 or BRCA-2); half of them 
had breast cancer. Those with cancer had about the same number of 
mammograms as those without cancer: an average of six to seven every 
10 years.

Who may be affected by these findings? Women with a breast cancer 
gene mutation. About 5 percent of the more than 212,000 American 
women diagnosed each year have such a mutation.

Caveats: The data were based on recollections of the participants. 
Diagnostic mammograms - those done in response to an abnormal breast 
finding, often from a screening mammogram - were not included in the 
analysis. Women in the study had fewer mammograms (averaging one 
every 19 months) than the number (one a year) recommended for high-
risk women; whether the results apply to high-risk women getting 
annual screenings remains unclear.

Find this study in the March 22 online issue of The Lancet Oncology; 
abstract available at http://oncology.thelancet.com.

Learn more about hereditary breast cancer at www.genome. gov and 
http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov .

Research described here comes from credible, peer-reviewed journals. 
Still, conclusive evidence about a treatment's effectiveness is 
rarely found in a single study. Anyone considering treatment of any 
kind should consult with a physician.

Watching out for radiation

THE NEW YORK TIMES Apr 17 - THE FACTS: Up until about 1970, millions 
of glow-in-the-dark watches sold in the United States were made with 
radium, a radioactive substance that was painted on watch dials to 
give them their characteristic luminosity. 

Radium was eventually banned after scores of dial painters died from 
cancer and various ghastly ailments. But many of the so-called radium 
watches are still around today, considered antiques and even prized 
as collectibles. The watches are likely to emit as much radiation 
today as they did when they were first manufactured, but experts say 
that in reality, the risk to wearers is probably low. 

One study by the Public Health Service many years ago found that a 
person who wears a radium watch for 24 hours a day over the course of 
a year could conceivably be exposed to 65 to 130 millirems of 

By way of comparison, the average person is exposed to about 300 
millirems of background radiation in a typical year, and a single 
chest X-ray exposes a patient to about 5 to 10 millirems of 

That means a person who owns a radium watch (and presumably isn´t 
wearing it 24 hours a day) has little to worry about, said Dr. M. 
Donald Blaufox, the chairman of the department of nuclear medicine at 
the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. 

A radium watch becomes hazardous only when someone opens one and 
tinkers with the dials, inhaling radioactive dust particles. 

THE BOTTOM LINE: Watches and clocks made with radium are considered 
safe so long as they remain intact. 

Antique watches made with radium can emit high levels of radiation.

Japanese city could accept US nuclear ship

TOKYO (AFP) Apr 18 - A Japanese mayor says he may drop objections to 
his city hosting the first US nuclear-powered warship to be based in 
Japan after Washington offered safety assurances. 
The US Navy wants to station the USS George Washington in Japan from 
2008, the first time a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will have 
been based overseas, raising protests in the only nation to have 
suffered nuclear attacks.

Yokosuka Mayor Ryoichi Kabaya, whose city on Tokyo Bay hosts the 
country's largest US Navy base, said he was impressed by a 10-page 
fact sheet on safety drafted by the United States at the request of 
the community.

"The report is more concrete and detailed than we had expected," 
Kabaya told reporters late Monday.

"Although there remains the issue of protective measures in the event 
of natural disasters, we could possibly move toward accepting the 
nuclear-powered ship," he said.

The US military wants to replace the conventional USS Kitty Hawk with 
the nuclear-powered George Washington, saying it must send the best-
quality ships to East Asia due to the unpredictable security 

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who represents Yokosuka in 
parliament, has already approved the plan. But local residents 
including the mayor had pledged to fight hosting the nuclear carrier.

The safety report, handed over Monday by US ambassador Thomas 
Schieffer to the foreign ministry, gives details of the operation of 
the USS George Washington and the potential impact on the environment 
and crew members.

"The US government is committed to working together with the 
government of Japan to address these concerns," Schieffer told 
Foreign Minister Taro Aso, according to the US embassy.

Activists campaigning against the nuclear ship, however, immediately 
rejected the fact sheet.

"The report has nothing new," said Masahiko Goto, leader of a 
Yokosuka-based group opposing the carrier's deployment.

"It has nothing more than what the US Navy has already revealed to 
local residents of communities hosting nuclear ships in the United 
States," he said. "What we want to know is information on accidents, 
but they have been hiding that kind of information."

"We lodged a protest to our mayor that we can't accept such a 
unilateral supply of information," Goto said.

The report said the carrier is 10 times sturdier than US commercial 
nuclear power plants in withstanding the shock of earthquakes -- a 
major concern in Japan which endures 20 percent of the world's major 

The USS George Washington's deployment is separate from a plan on 
realigning US troops in Japan over which the allies have held 
protracted negotiations, mostly about how to share the cost.

US troops are based in Japan under a security alliance after Tokyo 
lost World War II and was forced to renounce the right to a military

Public opinion warming to nuclear power

LONDON (AFP) Apr 18 - Britons have softened their stance towards 
nuclear power but most are still against building new reactors. 
A survey for Tuesday's edition of the Financial Times newspaper by 
consultants KPMG and pollsters YouGov, suggested that 45 percent of 
respondents want a reduction in the number of nuclear reactors, 
against 36 percent who said they wanted an increase.

Some 19 percent were either unsure or wanted nuclear capacity to 
remain constant.

Last year, the responses were 59 percent against, 29 percent in 
favour and 13 percent undecided to the same questions.

Support remained strong for renewable forms of energy like wind power 
but 44 percent said they were not prepared to pay extra for so-called 
"green" energy.

The FT said the rise in opposition to higher charges -- 23 percent 
were against last year -- indicated that consumers were feeling the 
pinch from recent rises in energy bills for electricity and gas.

Late last year, Prime Minister     Tony Blair announced a wide-
ranging review of Britain's future energy requirements in the light 
of dwindling reserves of North Sea oil and gas and the need to reduce 
greenhouse gas emissions.

The review, which will be published in several months' time, is 
widely expected to back the building of new nuclear reactors combined 
with renewable energy provision.

Just under 20 percent of Britain's electricity comes from nuclear 
power stations, which were mainly built in the 1950s and 60s, but all 
but one of the plants will have been decommissioned by 2023.

The review is likely to heighten the debate between supporters and 
opponents of the nuclear energy option.

A total of 2,161 people were questioned between March 28 and March 

Petition for nuclear-free Wales  

BBC Apr 18 - Campaigners handed in the petition at Downing Street.  
Anti-nuclear power campaigners have handed in a petition to Downing 
Street to "keep Wales nuclear-free". The petition, signed by several 
thousand, was taken to London by a delegation including three Welsh 
MPs - two Liberal Democrats and one Labour.  

The petition calls for "safer, cleaner and cheaper technology" than 
nuclear power to be used in Wales. 

Prime Minister Tony Blair has said renewable energy could fill some 
but not all the UK's energy shortfall. 

It is believed Mr Blair favours building new nuclear power stations 
to meet the country's energy needs. 

The petition will be presented by Liberal Democrat MPs Lembit Opik 
(Montgomeryshire), Jenny Willott (Cardiff Central) and Labour MP Nia 
Griffith (Llanelli) along with representatives from Welsh 
environmental groups. 

The Trawsfynydd nuclear plant in Gwynedd is being decommissioned 

Organisers said the petition, which pledges "strong opposition" to 
nuclear power in Wales, had been signed by between 4,000 and 5,000. 

Ms Griffith said:"We simply do not want to down the route of new 
nuclear build in Wales. 

"It's completely unnecessary. It won't meet the timescale required to 
buy in other energies more quickly. And the legacy of nuclear waste 
is horrendous." 

The Trawsfynydd nuclear power plant in Gwynedd is being 
decommissioned, while the Wylfa plant on Anglesey is due to close in 
2010 - although local councillors have supported the principle of 
building a second one on the island. 

Ms Willott said Mr Blair should not "simply impose" a new generation 
of nuclear power stations in Wales. 

New generation 

She added: "Our message to the government is clear: nuclear power is 
not the answer to Wales' energy needs. 

"Nuclear power is hugely expensive, has a terrible environmental 
legacy, and is a huge security risk. 

In November, Mr Blair launched a review of UK energy needs which 
could pave the way for a new generation of nuclear power stations. 

The review is headed by Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks and will report 
by the middle of next year.

Sandy Perle
Senior Vice President, Technical Operations
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614 

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714  Extension 2306
Fax:(949) 296-1144

E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
E-Mail: sandyfl at earthlink.net 

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 
Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 

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