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16th Anniversary of Chernobyl accident

The appearance of the dubious content of the UCS claims of lies by the

NRC reminds me that we are approaching the anniversary (26 April 1986)

of the Chernobyl accident. This means that the victim industry may be

expected to sally forth again in full bloom (as has the UCS). Thus, it

seems reasonable to provide once again the following UNSCEAR press

release which now is nearly two years old.

Maury Siskel               maury@webtexas.com


Vienna International Centre

PO Box 500, A-1400 Vienna, Austria

Tel:  (43-1) 26060 4666

Fax:  (43-1) 26060 5899

Email:  UNIS@unvienna.org

For information only - not an official document.

Press Release No:  UNIS/UNSCEAR/1

 Release Date:   6 June  2000

UNSCEAR Focuses on Chernobyl Accident in General

Assembly Report

VIENNA, 6 June (UN Information Centre) -- The United

Nations Scientific Committee on  the Effects of Atomic

Radiation (UNSCEAR) has just approved its UNSCEAR

2000  Report to the General Assembly. This is a detailed

assessment of radiation sources and health effects. Particular

emphasis has been given to the evaluation of exposures and

health consequences of the Chernobyl accident.

 The Chernobyl accident

According to the Committee's scientific assessments, there

have been about 1,800 cases of thyroid cancer in children

who were exposed at the time of the accident, and if the

current trend continues, there may be more cases during the

next decades. Apart from this increase, there is no evidence of

a major public health impact attributable to radiation

exposure fourteen years after the accident. There is no

scientific evidence of increases in overall cancer incidence or

mortality or in non-malignant disorders that could be related

to radiation exposure. The risk of leukaemia, one of the main

concerns owing to its short latency time, does not appear to

be elevated, not even among the recovery operation workers.

Although those most highly exposed individuals are at an

increased risk of radiation-associated effects, the great

majority of the population are not likely to experience serious

health consequences from radiation from the Chernobyl


 Cancer risks

The Committee has further assessed the cancer risks from

radiation exposures based on reviews of  epidemiological

studies and results from fundamental radiological research.

The primary source of information remains the Life Span

Study of the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima

and Nagasaki. It includes about 86,500 individuals of all

ages and both genders with good dosimetric data over a wide

range of doses. About 5% of the 7,800 deaths from cancer or

leukaemia in this group of exposed people is due to radiation.

For a population of all ages and both genders, the lifetime

risk of dying from cancer  is about 9% for men and 13% for

women after an acute dose of 1,000 millisievert. For

comparison, the worldwide annual per caput dose is 2.4

millisievert from natural radiation.

 Radiation sources

The greatest contribution to the world population's dose

comes from natural background radiation. The second largest

contribution comes from medical radiation procedures

Human activities cause further radiation exposure in addition

to the natural exposure, for instance contamination from

nuclear weapons testing and nuclear power production

contribute to the radiation exposure of  the public.

Occupational radiation exposure is incurred by workers in

industry, medicine and research. The table summarizes

UNSCEAR's estimates of the annual worldwide average per

caput dose.

            Average radiation doses at year 2000 from natural

                   and man-made sources of radiation

                     expressed in millisievert (mSv)

              Source                        Worldwide average

                                                annual effective dose

 Natural background                          2.4

 Diagnostic medical examinations       0.4

 Atmospheric nuclear testing             0.005

 Chernobyl accident                           0.002

 Nuclear power production                 0.002

 For more information contact:

 Dr Lars-Erik Holm

 Chairman of UNSCEAR

 Swedish Radiation Protection Institute


 Telephone: 0046-8-729 7110, Fax: 0046-8-729 7108

 e-mail: ssi@ssi.se

 Note for editors

 UNSCEAR was established by the United Nations General

Assembly in 1955. It is composed of scientists from 21

nations and has previously published 13 major reports on the

levels and health effects of radiation. UNSCEAR's mandate

in the United Nations system is to assess and report levels and

effects of exposure to ionizing radiation. Governments and

organizations throughout the world rely on the Committee's

estimates as the scientific basis for evaluating radiation risk,

establishing radiation protection and safety standards, and

regulating radiation sources.

 The UNSCEAR 2000 Report has ten annexes that are

extensive scientific reviews and assessments on: exposures

from natural radiation sources; exposures to the public from

 man-made sources of radiation; medical radiation exposures;

occupational radiation exposures; DNA repair and

mutagenesis; biological effects at low radiation doses;

combined effects of radiation and other agents; review of

radiation-associated cancer risks; and exposures and effects

of the Chernobyl accident.


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