The threats to human health and the environment from Chernobyl
fallout, scientists are now finding, will persist for a very long
Abandoned city of Pripiat, near the Nuclear Power Plant at Chernobyl, Ukraine
It's been 24 years since the catastrophic explosion and fire occurred at
Chernobyl in the Ukraine. The accident required nearly a million
emergency responders and cleanup workers. According to a
recent report published by the New York Academy of Medicine nearly
one million people around the world have died from Chernobyl fallout.
Now we are finding that threats to human health and the environment from
the radioactive fallout of this accident that blanketed Europe (and the
rest of the world to a lesser extent) will persist for a very long time.
There is an exclusionary zone near the reactor, roughly the size of Rhode
Island (1000 sq kilometers), which because of high levels of
contamination,people are not supposed to live there for centuries to
come. There are also"hot spots" through out Russia, Poland
Greece, Germany, Italy, UK, France, and Scandinavia where contaminated
live stock and other foodstuff continue to be removed from human
My friends tell me that a growing number of Ukrainians are immigrating to
Youngstown, OH ( where I grew up),Cleveland, Chicago, and other
Ukrainian-American enclaves because of Chernobyl contamination
Here are a few recent examples:
- A fast-growing number of wild boars in Germany are
having to be destroyed and disposed as radioactive wastes.
- The mammal population in the exclusionary zone near the reactor
declining, despite the absence of humans, indicative of growing
radiation damage to fauna and flora.
- Wildfires in Russia
appear to be spreading high levels of radioactive contamination from Chernobyl.
True to form, governments with major nuclear programs or ambitions are
silent and are encouraging the view that it's time we forget about
Robert Alvarez is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies
and served as Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy from