A new study being released today in Kiev, Ukraine directly challenges the findings of a widely-criticized International Atomic Energy Agency/World Health Organization report from last September that predicted 4,000 likely cancer deaths as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
The study was commissioned by Rebecca Harms, a Green Party member of the European Parliament, on behalf of the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament and in conjunction with the April 23-25 Chernobyl+20: Remembrance for the Future conference in Kiev, Ukraine. The study, titled “TORCH” (The Other Report on Chernobyl) was prepared by two scientists from the United Kingdom, Dr. Ian Fairlie and Dr. David Sumner.
Some key findings of The Other Report on Chernobyl (TORCH) (i) include:
· Belarus, Ukraine and Russia were heavily contaminated, however more than half of Chernobyl’s fallout was deposited outside these countries
· fallout from Chernobyl contaminated about 40% of Europe’s surface area
· about 2/3rds of Chernobyl’s collective dose was distributed to populations outside Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, especially to western Europe
· about 30,000 to 60,000 excess cancer deaths are predicted, 7 to 15 times greater than IAEA/WHO’s published estimate of 4,000
Said Rebecca Harms, “”We commissioned TORCH to counterbalance claims made by the IAEA in the media last year (ii), which both played down the lethal consequences of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl and failed to make a meaningful analysis of its wider effects on Europe and the world. The much-publicized IAEA estimate of a mere 4000 excess cancer deaths provoked an outcry among the scientific community and environmental NGOs, and was a dishonor to those who have and will suffer as a result of Chernobyl. This is one of a number of underestimates, which TORCH set out to rebut. There must be no mistaking the catastrophic dangers that are still very much associated with nuclear power.”
Added Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), “It is clear that the IAEA/WHO report was a political document, intended to downplay the ongoing consequences of the Chernobyl disaster; presumably for the interests of the nuclear power industry. Even some WHO officials have been quoted recently (for example in the April 6 New Scientist) as agreeing to the points and findings made in the TORCH report. The world simply cannot afford another Chernobyl, nor construction of a single new atomic reactor.”
The Kiev conference is being organized by a coalition of groups, including NIRS, World Information Service on Energy, Greens/EFA in the European Parliament, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Earth Day Network, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the German Green Party and Ukraine’s Ecoclub. (iii) It is being held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and present arguments as to why the deadly nuclear option must not be considered as an answer to the world’s current energy supply problems.
(i) TORCH and an executive summary can be found on the homepage of the Greens/EFA website: http://www.greens-efa.org and at the NIRS website http://www.nirs.org/c20/torch.pdf. The report was financed by Rebecca Harms MEP, the Altner-Combecher Foundation and the Hatzfeldt Foundation.
(ii) The claim was made following the publication of reports last year: IAEA/WHO ‘Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident and Special Health Care Programmes’. Report of the UN Chernobyl Forum Expert Group “Health” (EGH) Working draft, July 26 2005. IAEA/WHO Environmental Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident and their Remediation. Report of the UN Chernobyl Forum Expert Group “Environment” (EGE) Working draft, August 2005.
(iii) For more information on the conference click on the following link: http://www.ch20.org
To contact Greens/EFA in the European Parliament:
Richard More O’Ferrall,
The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament
Tel: Brussels +32 2 2841667 / Strasburg +33 3 88174375
Fax: 0032 2 2844944