Chrnobyl’s silver anniversary

Check out what these experts, Dr. Jeff Patterson, immediate past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Dr. Janette Sherman, editor of the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, said on Democracy Now! Also look at the evacuation zone for your locality, in case of a catastrophe, a likelihood you should not dismiss out of hand.

Patterson: “Well, I think nuclear power, nuclear energy, has three poisonous Ps, and those are pollution—and we’re certainly seeing the example of that now at the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl. That pollution occurs all along the fuel cycle, from the time we dig it out of the ground, the tailings that are left and expose people to radon, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, to the production of fuel, and then we don’t know where to bury the waste or what to do with it. And now we’re seeing the catastrophic release of radiation once again, which happened at Kyshtym in Russia, happened in Chernobyl, and now is happening in Fukushima—and will happen again. And so, pollution is the first thing that is the poisonous P.

“Second is price. And as Medvedev said—he claims that this is the cheapest form of energy. It’s by far and away the most expensive form of energy. When we figure in the results of these disasters and the cost to people’s health, the economic loss, the agricultural loss, the Ukraine, in the initial days of this, spent a sixth of their national budget on Chernobyl. And Belarus and the Ukraine are still spending five to seven percent of their national budgets every year to deal with the Chernobyl accident. If we figured all of that in to the cost of nuclear power, nuclear power becomes extremely expensive. As Dr. Sherman mentioned, the next sarcophagus that they’re proposing to build over the nuclear power plant, they’re estimating will cost $1.1 billion, and they’ve only raised $800 million for this now. It’s already three years behind time in terms of being built. And so, the question is, will this ever get done, because the cost of this is so much. The cost of building a new nuclear power plant is so expensive that, chances are, none will be built, because nobody wants to fund them.

“And the third poisonous P is proliferation. Nuclear power and nuclear weapons go hand in hand. Medvedev talked about the peaceful atom that was designed by Eisenhower. Well, it’s out of the peaceful atom program that has come nuclear weapons for many countries. And we’re seeing the example of that in Iran today. So, these are deadly parts of the nuclear experiment that we are conducting today that, in my opinion, is a highly unethical experiment.”


The unknowns are far greater than the knowns in all of this. And this is an experiment that we’re carrying out with the unknowing and unconsenting irradiation of huge populations of people around the world. We’re now seeing, for example, in Japan, raising the bar, allowing children to be exposed to levels of radiation that previously were restricted for nuclear workers. And in my opinion, this is unconscionable. It’s like being in a ball game and in the seventh inning deciding that one team is losing, and so they say they’re going to change the rules in the middle of the game. These levels were set for a reason. And that’s because radiation is not good for you, and there is no safe level of radiation. And so, to now change the rules of the game, again, is another unconscionable part of this terrible, cruel, poisonous experiment that we won’t know the end result of for hundreds of years.

Sherman: “Well, we clearly need, as a society, to say no to nuclear power, because there is no way to control it. And as Dr. Patterson points out, these catastrophes will continue, and we can’t—we, simply, as a world society, cannot deal with them. When a nuclear reactor explodes, the radiation goes around the entire hemisphere. It is not confined to where the people live—or where the accident occurred. The effects are ubiquitous across all species: that’s wild and domestic animals, birds, fish, bacteria, viruses, plants and humans. So the effects are extremely serious, and they last for generations. We’re terribly concerned about Belarus, where only 20 percent of the children are now considered healthy. So, what do you do with a society if 80 percent of your population is sick? Who are going to be the artists and the musicians and the scientists and the teachers, if your population is not well?

“We need to stop the use of nuclear power. We have other sources: conservation and solar and wind and biofuels. We need the population to rise up and say, “No more nuclear.” It’s not going to work, and it will just be a matter of time before there’s yet another accident, such as occurred—is occurring at Fukushima Daiichi. We know now they still do not have this accident under control, and it’s still releasing massive quantities of isotopes. And it’s going to be a disaster for the Japanese population, but also it’s spreading around again the northern hemisphere.”