I wonder if we have learnt anything from this event that caused and continues to cause so much death, disease, pain and hardship... Officially it is said that about 4,000 deaths could be attributed to the accident, however, some estimates now predict the number of fatal cancer cases will be over 90,000. But even 90,000, may be on the low side. Have a look at this Chernobyl Health Report from GreenPeace if you would like to learn more...
Here in Japan, a country prone to earthquakes, we have 55 nuclear power stations operating in the area the size of California. With a population of nearly 130,000,000, if only one of them were to meltdown, the direct human damage would be unthinkable.
Map of the soil contamination area. The area is larger than the island of Honshu
Again, I ask, have we learnt anything from Chernobyl? As we continue to court such obvious danger I think that maybe we have not! Perhaps it is because we have not been shown in detail the continuing horror that continues in and around Chernobyl.
CNIC (Citizens Nuclear Information Center) translated to Japanese a 25 minute movie titled ‘The Sacrifice.’ It shows scenes of the cleanup directly after the explosions as well as personal stories of the brave men that sacrificed their lives for the safety of their country and actually the world. I hope you will make the effort to see it. The movie can be bought from CNIC. Contact them at the bottom of this page. CNIC publishes newsletters in English(bimonthly) and Japanese(monthly). If you would like to support their hard work to educate the public about the dangers of nuclear power I hope you will subscribe to one or both of them.
Also, if you would like to help support the work of the many volunteers trying to get the five Hamoaka reactors shut down, please check out the Stop Hamaoka homepage. There is no English page available but even so, you can send them a donation to help them with their important work. They put out a newsletter in Japanese that you can show to your Japanese friends... To send them a donation use a Post Office Furikae form. The account name is: Hamaokagenpatu Soshoudan. The account number is: 00870-5-95420. If need be you can contact them via email, though they may take a while to reply as they do not usually use English.
If you read Japanese you should buy a copy of Housyano de Syutoken Shometsu (放射能で首都圏消滅 Radiation - Extinction of Tokyo Metropolitan). It went on sale on April 26, the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. Even if you can’t read it you should buy a copy and give it to your Japanese friends so they can understand the gravity of the situation we are in. Everyone living in Japan will be affected by the expected earthquake and any resulting nuclear disaster.
[Update] I would also suggest you take a look at this PDF report titled On The Way Out, by Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt. It appeared in Nuclear Engineering International last year, though that version was not complete with graphs.
Here is a quote from the last paragraph: “The nuclear share of energy use for electricity production is expected to decline in most regions of the world as a result of public opposition, waste disposal issues, concerns about nuclear arms proliferation, and the economics of nuclear power. The nuclear share of electricity generation worldwide is projected to drop to 12% in 2025 from 19% in 2001.”
I will repeat what I said to one of the comments attached to this blog, I wonder if any of the people and government officials controlling the nuclear industry here in Japan are aware of the trends mentioned in the report. The sooner they wake up to what is going on in the rest of the world, the better!
I hope you will take a look at some of the many web sites that discuss the Chernobyl disaster on the net. Here are a few that I found interesting:
Nuclear Nightmares: 20 Years Since Chernobyl - A photo documentary.
Murderous Atoms - An archive from the May 5, 1986 issue of DER SPIEGEL, just days after the world became aware of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Chernobyl Revisited - In 2004, a local woman named Elena rode her motorcycle through the Chernobyl area, and took photographs... Check out what she sees and has to say.