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The Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster

Health impacts of the Chernobyl disaster In 1987, a year after the Chernobyl accident, the US Health Physics Society met in Columbia, Maryland. Health physicists are scientists who are responsible for radiological protection at nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons plants, and hospitals. They are called on in cases of nuclear accidents. Professionals in the US and health officials in the USSR tried to minimize the perception of the public health effects of the catastrophe. By Kate Brown, Massachusetts Insti­tute of Technology, November 2023

Chernobyl is heating up again, and scientists aren't sure why The UN estimated that about 50 people died during the original meltdown in 1986. It later estimated that as many as 4000 people died as a result of exposure to fallout. Now, neutron levels in the plant have doubled in the last four years, which could lead to increasing rates of chain reaction. By Ryan Whitwam, ExtremeTech, May 13, 2021

Chernobyl Children International  700,000 people, known as liquidators, risked their lives and exposed themselves to dangerous levels of radiation to contain the situation. At least 40,000 of them have died and a further 70,000 are disabled. Twenty percent of these deaths were suicides.
The contamination of the land remains the biggest health threat as cesium-137 finds its way via the food chain into the human body. Professor Yuri Bandashevsky, MD, PhD in Nuclear Medicine at the Ivankova Hospital in Ukraine, states that there should be no cesium in the body or should there be no question of temporary or acceptable levels.
Because of the unprecedented scale of the accident, even scientists and subject experts can’t predict what the future holds for those who live in the shadow of Chernobyl.
More than one million children continue to live in the contaminated zones. By Chernobyl Children International, March 2021

Stalking Chernobyl Where a dose of adrenalin matters more than a dose of radiation. Chernobyl tourism has become a big business. Unscrupulous promoters claim that "radiation kills only those who are afraid of it." The one-hour film can be seen here and here. By Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear International, April 19, 2020

The women who told Chernobyl's story Exposing the official lies about the danger. By Linda Walker, Beyond Nuclear International, April 19, 2020

Chernobyl radiation proves harmful to vital forest mammal A team of scientists who studied a key forest mammal, the bank vole, living within 50 km of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, have concluded that the animal’s reproductive success and abundance is impaired by chronic exposure to even “low” levels of radiation in the area, and that no dose is too low to cause these effects. Beyond Nuclear International, July 7, 2019

Five myths about Chernobyl By Kate Brown, The Washington Post, July 5, 2019
Myth 1: It only resulted in a few fatalities and casualties
Myth 2: The accident had only regional consequences
Myth 3: Nature is thriving in the zone around Chernobyl
Myth 4: Chernobyl was the worst nuclear accident ever
Myth 5: Chernobyl shows that the Soviet Union was inept.

The Chernobyl disaster What happened, and the long-term impacts. National Geographic, May 17, 2019

Chernobyl children in a Havana hospital Un Traductor (A Translator), released this year, tells the true story of a Cuban professor of Russian literature who, in 1989, abruptly finds his lessons canceled and a note on the university door directing him to the local hospital in Havana. There, he is told he must serve as a translator. But for whom? “The patients from Chernobyl” replies an emotionless senior nurse. He finds himself serving as interpreter at night on a children’s ward filled with victims from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine. Beyond Nuclear International, April 14, 2019

Manual for Survival, a Chernobyl Guide for the Future This new book explores the full range of ways radiation has affected residents throughout the region, while explaining how Soviet politics helped limit knowledge of the incident. By Kate Brown, March 2019

Ukrainian villages still suffering legacy of Chernobyl more than 30 years on Milk in parts of Ukraine has radioactivity levels up to five times the country's official safe limit, new research shows. Science Daily, June 8, 2018

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, 31 years ago, dispersed large amounts of radionuclides into the surrounding environment and far beyond. The research of Dr. Timothy Mousseau and his team, whose presentation you can watch here, found that animals and microbes living in these contaminated areas are failing to thrive. Organic matter in forests around Chernobyl are taking years or even decades longer than normal to decay. There are reduced population sizes and genetic abnormalities among birds, bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, spiders, and mammals in highly radioactive parts of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Birds are showing an increase in sterility, albinism and cataracts, with abnormal sperm in barn swallows up to 10 times higher for Chernobyl birds as compared to sperm from males living in control areas. These findings help dismiss the notion that similar abnormalities and birth defects reported in human populations exposed to Chernobyl fallout were due to "poverty and stress," factors that clearly cannot affect wildlife. The work also supports evidence found in human populations that impacts still occur in generations born long after the disaster. April 26, 2017

Wild boars remain too radioactive to eat, 32 years after Chernobyl The boars are contaminated due to fallout. They eat mushrooms and truffles, which absorb cesium-137 from the atmosphere. Beyond Nuclear, April 29, 2018

The impacts of the 1986 nuclear disaster on people and the environment Of 800,000 people brought in to manage and contain the disaster, 13,000 had died by 1992. Estimates rose to 100,000 by 2006. Beyond Nuclear, April 22, 2018

Seeds exposed to Chernobyl radiation weigh less, grow poorly Seeds from Chernobyl sites with higher radiation levels weighed significantly less. Likewise, germination rates were negatively impacted. Furthermore, the study indicated there was no threshold for radioactivity's impact - and the higher the dose, the greater the effect.  International Journal of Plant Sciences, July 17, 2017

Ionizing Radiation from Chernobyl and the Fraction of Viable Pollen Viability of pollen is reduced in contaminated areas of Chernobyl. International Journal of Plant Sciences, October 5, 2016

Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature This is a collection of papers translated from the Russian. Written by leading authorities from Eastern Europe, the volume outlines the history of health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. Never before has there been a comprehensive presentation of all the available information concerning the effects of the low dose radioactive contaminants emitted from the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Official discussions from various UN agencies have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred. December 2009

Union of Concerned Scientists summary

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