UN nuclear and health watchdogs have ignored evidence of deaths, cancers, mutations and other conditions following the Chernobyl accident, leading scientists and doctors have claimed in the run-up to the nuclear disaster's 20th anniversary next month.
In a series of reports about to be published, they will suggest that at least 30,000 people are expected to die of cancers linked directly to severe radiation exposure in 1986 and up to 500,000 people may have already died as a result of the world's worst environmental catastrophe.
But the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the WHO say that only 50 deaths can be directly attributed to the disaster, and that, at most, 4,000 people may eventually die from the accident on April 26 1986.
They say only nine children have died of thyroid cancers in 20 years and that the majority of illnesses among the estimated 5 million people contaminated in the former Soviet Union are attributable to growing poverty and unhealthy lifestyles.
An IAEA spokesman said he was confident the UN figures were correct. "We have a wide scientific consensus of 100 leading scientists. When we see or hear of very high mortalities we can only lean back and question the legitimacy of the figures. Do they have qualified people? Are they responsible? If they have data that they think are excluded then they should send it."
The new estimates have been collated by researchers commissioned by European parliamentary groups, Greenpeace International and medical foundations in Britain, Germany, Ukraine, Scandinavia and elsewhere. They take into account more than 50 published scientific studies.
"At least 500,000 people -- perhaps more -- have already died out of the two million people who were officially classed as victims of Chernobyl in Ukraine," said Nikolai Omelyanets, deputy head of the National Commission for Radiation Protection in Ukraine. "[Studies show] that 34,499 people who took part in the clean-up of Chernobyl have died in the years since the catastrophe. The deaths of these people from cancers was nearly three times as high as in the rest of the population.
"We have found that infant mortality increased 20 percent to 30 percent because of chronic exposure to radiation after the accident. All this information has been ignored by the IAEA and WHO. We sent it to them in March last year and again in June. They've not said why they haven't accepted it," he said.
Evgenia Stepanova, of the Ukrainian government's Scientific Center for Radiation Medicine, said: "We're overwhelmed by thyroid cancers, leukaemias and genetic mutations that are not recorded in the WHO data and which were practically unknown 20 years ago."
The IAEA and WHO, however, say that apart from an increase in thyroid cancer in children there is no evidence of a large-scale impact on public health. "No increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality that could be associated with radiation exposure have been observed," said the agencies' report in September.
In the Rivne region of Ukraine, 500km west of Chernobyl, doctors say that they are coming across an unusual rate of cancers and mutations. "In the 30 hospitals of our region we find that up to 30 percent of people who were in highly radiated areas have physical disorders, including heart and blood diseases, cancers and respiratory diseases. Nearly one in three of all the new born babies have deformities, mostly internal," said Alexander Vewremchuk, of the Special Hospital for the Radiological Protection of the Population in Vilne.
‘SPIKES’: Rudy Giuliani at a hearing asked about voting data in Pennsylvania, with a witness saying that 570,000 votes they selected were for Biden and 3,200 for Trump US president-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday said that Americans “won’t stand” for attempts to derail the US election outcome, as US President Donald Trump called for results to be overturned. Biden said in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, that Americans “have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results.” “The people of this nation and the laws of the land won’t stand for anything else,” he said. However, Trump is challenging the results, with lawsuits under way in several states. “We have to turn the election over,” he told a hearing in Pennsylvania. “This election was rigged.” “All we need is
Hundreds of flights at one of China’s busiest airports were canceled yesterday as Shanghai raced to bring a local COVID-19 outbreak under control. Health officials have tested thousands of staff at Pudong International Airport since a small cluster of COVID-19 cases in the city was linked to several cargo handlers. China — where the virus first emerged late last year — has largely brought the COVID-19 pandemic under control through travel restrictions and lockdowns, but it is now battling a number of domestic outbreaks in different cities. Shanghai has reported seven local infections linked to the airport this month, with most cases found
For thousands of years, the dainty Fritillaria delavayi has grown slowly on the rocky slopes of the Hengduan mountains in China, producing a bright green flower after its fifth year. The conspicuous small plant has one deadly enemy: people, who harvest the flower for traditional Chinese medicine. As commercial harvesting has intensified, Fritillaria delavayi has vanished — by rapidly evolving to produce gray and brown leaves and flowers that cannot be so easily seen by pickers. Scientists have discovered that the color of the plant’s leaves has become more camouflaged — matching the background rocks on which they grow — in areas where
‘OCEAN OF STORMS’: The Chang’e 5 seeks to collect about 5kg of samples from a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain, known as Oceanus Procellarum China plans to launch an uncrewed spacecraft to the moon this week to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from Earth’s natural satellite since the 1970s. The Chang’e 5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, would seek to collect material that could help scientists understand the moon’s origins and formation. The mission would test China’s ability to remotely acquire samples from space, ahead of more complex missions. If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the US and the Soviet Union decades