[ RadSafe ] evacuation: where and how long?

Dan W McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Mon Nov 21 14:11:48 CST 2011

Dear Karen:
I am moved to write because you raise an issue based on large part on fear
and on health physics.
Some time ago, I wrote to the ICRP to express an opinion that has concerned
me since working on a Chernobyl project, in country, for 2 years
(1995-1996).  I was researching the use of contaminated forest biomass for
power engineering projects:
1.       McCarn, D., Dubovik, L., Iakoushev, A., and Grebenkov, A. (1996):
The Ecological-Commerce (ECO-COM) Zone Concept for Developing Biomass Energy
from Contaminated Resources: A New Demonstration Zone for the Republic of
Belarus, in International Topical Meeting on Nuclear and Hazardous Waste
Management, Seattle, Washington, August 18-23, 1996, pp. 1417-1424.
2.       Grebenkov, A. and McCarn, D.W. (1996): The US-Belarus Joint
Projects Associated with Remediation of the Chernobyl Contaminated Sites,
Environmental Opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly
Independent States, in Partnerships for Solutions Forum, Colorado School of
Mines, Golden, Colorado, p. 19-35. 
While working and living in Minsk, it was hard to ignore the pressure of the
media.  Our objective was to create the economic incentive for
decontaminating the forested area north of Chernobyl.
I wrote on 8/2/2008 to the ICRP:  "I am concerned not only with radiological
protection and the aftermath of accidents, but also on the psychological
health of individuals following an accident."  "Having worked 8 years at the
IAEA and 2 years on a Chernobyl-related project in country, ICRP must
carefully balance radiological / cancer health risk against stress-related
risk which was far too prevalent following the Chernobyl accident."
There was a report that I am unable to locate from St. Petersburg, Russia
that my former IAEA Section Head quoted (published around 1993) - a
longitudinal study of all effects of the accident at Chernobyl between two
populations: the group that was evacuated and a control group that remained
near the zone.  The results were significant.  In comparing the two groups,
it was found that the group that was removed (and had less radiological
exposure) suffered significantly greater effects from 5 diseases than the
control.  In order of significance, these are: 1) Suicide; 2) Drug & alcohol
abuse; 3) Diabetes; 4) Heart disease and 5) Stroke.
These diseases are all stress-related and makes sense given the media
coverage focused on the relocated victims.  The media constantly 'informed'
the victims that they would die from radiation exposure, and I believe that
a similar pattern might be emerging.
Dan ii
Dan W McCarn, Geologist
108 Sherwood Blvd
Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
+1-505-672-2014 (Home - New Mexico)
+1-505-670-8123 (Mobile - New Mexico)
HotGreenChile at gmail.com (Private email) HotGreenChile at gmail dot com
-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Karen Street
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 08:58
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] evacuation: where and how long?
The Washington Post
c.html and
r-a-wasteland/2011/11/16/gIQAt7ZTcN_story.html) is predicting that the 20 km
zone mandatory evacuation zone could be off limits for decades, yet UNSCEAR
talks about an order of magnitude reduction of Cs in 4 - 6 years after
Why is so much of the area around Chernobyl still evacuated? What will
determine evacuation in the area around Fukushima. Are the really
radioactive areas villages, farms, forest, or a combination, and will that
alter decision-making?
Best wishes, 
Karen Street
Friends Energy Project
blog http://pathsoflight.us/musing/index.php
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