Late Night Disaster ThreadPosted: May 19, 2011
h/t Susie Madrak via her FaceBook account.
Dr Helen Coldicot says that the Radiation from Japan’s crippled nuclear energy facilities will Kill Millions of People. A report’s been released on Chernobyl’s meltdown on the event of its 25th anniversary. There is a horrendous laundry list of damage from unusable crop land, cancers, and severely deformed fetuses and babies. From this, Dr. Coldicot extrapolates the future damage from Fukushima. It’s bad; really bad.
You can read her statement here.
During the 25th anniversary last week of the Chernobyl disaster, some commentators asserted that few people died in the aftermath, and that there have been relatively few genetic abnormalities in survivors’ offspring. It’s an easy leap from there to arguments about the safety of nuclear energy compared to alternatives like coal, and optimistic predictions about the health of the people living near Fukushima.
But this is dangerously ill informed and short-sighted; if anyone knows better, it’s doctors like me. There’s great debate about the number of fatalities following Chernobyl; the International Atomic Energy Agency has predicted that there will be only about 4,000 deaths from cancer, but a 2009 report published by the New York Academy of Sciences says that almost one million people have already perished from cancer and other diseases.
The high doses of radiation caused so many miscarriages that we will never know the number of genetically damaged fetuses that did not come to term. (And both Belarus and Ukraine have group homes full of deformed children.)
Nuclear accidents never cease. We’re decades if not generations away from seeing the full effects of the radioactive emissions from Chernobyl.
As we know from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it takes years to get cancer. Leukemia takes only 5 to 10 years to emerge, but solid cancers take 15 to 60. Furthermore, most radiation-induced mutations are recessive; it can take many generations for two recessive genes to combine to form a child with a particular disease, like my specialty, cystic fibrosis. We can’t possibly imagine how many cancers and other diseases will be caused in the far future by the radioactive isotopes emitted by Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Even more startling is this presser that you can watch in the Youtube below. The human cost is and will continue to be astronomical. It’s ten minutes well-spent. I actually think that sharing pictures of deformed children and babies could do the world good.