Remarks by Ralph Nader on the 25th anniversary of the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, Ukraine.
The disaster at Chernobyl’s reactor on April 26, 1986 continues to expose humans, flora and fauna to radioactive lethality especially in, but not restricted to, Ukraine and Belarus. Western countries continue to reflect an under-estimation of casualties by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
IAEA’s figures top off at 4000 fatalities since 1986 that is highly questionable given IAEA’s conflict of interest between its role of promoting nuclear power and monitoring its safety. An agreement between the IAEA and the World Health Organization (WHO) provides for WHO’s deference to IAEA’s casualty figures which has compromised WHO’s priority of advancing health in the world. The United Nations naturally adopts the IAEA figures and the West’s nuclear regulatory agencies, similarly committed to promotional functions, ditto these under-estimations. The position that the level of mortality and morbidity from Chernobyl over the past quarter century is much larger comes from a compendium of 5000 scientific studies, mostly in the Slavic languages edited by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko titled Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. (Read it online here) Dr. Yablokov, a biologist, is a member of the prestigious Russian Academy of Sciences. The translated edition was published under the auspices of the New York Academy of Sciences. At a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on March 25, 2011, attended by C-SPAN, CNN and independent media, but not the mainstream media, Dr. Yablokov summarized these studies and estimated the death toll over nearly twenty five years at about one million and mounting. Because of the mainstream media, including the major newspapers, blackout on the Yablokov report since its translated edition came out in 2009, I asked Dr. Yablokov this question at the news conference: “Dr. Yablokov, you are a distinguished scientist in your country, as reflected in your membership in the Russian Academy of Sciences, what has been the response to your report by corporate scientists, regulatory agency scientists and academic scientists in the West? Did they openly agree in whole or in part or did they disagree in whole or in part or were they just silent?”
Academician Yablokov replied that the compilation of these many reports has been met with silence. He added that science means critical engagement with the data and implied that silence was not an appropriate response from the scientific community. Silence, of course, is not without its purpose. For to engage, whether to rebut, doubt or affirm, would give visibility to this compendium of scientific studies that upsets the fantasy modeling by the nuclear industry and its apologists regarding the worse case scenario damage of a level 7 or worse meltdown. It would require, for example, more epidemiological studies ranging into Western Europe, such as the current review of 330 hill farms in Wales. It would insistently invite more studies of the current health and casualty data involving the 800,000 liquidators —