Collecting soil samples from areas contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster.
To confront the IAEA with the realities of nuclear power we
placed a250kg concrete container containing two 1kg radioactive
samples intothe lobby of the UN agency building in Vienna. To
ensure public safety, thesoil samples delivered to the IAEA were
placed in a container with concrete and lead shielding.
But where the samples were collected there are no such
safeguards foranyone. The radioactive soil was taken from locations
between 40km and50km from the Chernobyl reactor - in areas well
outside the exclusionzone in which people have free access. In the
random soil sample there was asmall but highly radioactive grain of
spent fuel, which was ejectedfrom the reactor by the explosion.
This is highly dangerous if inhaledor ingested or when it comes
into prolonged contact with the body.
In the same area from where the soil samples were taken, people
harvest wood, mushrooms and berries from theforests, unwittingly
exposing themselves to serious radiation risk. Thesamples are 10-25
times more radioactive than the limits set by theEuropean
Commission for defining a substance as radioactive waste.
Our research at the location of the disaster in the Ukraine
shows thereis serious radioactive contamination in places where
people still live.
IAEA nuclear whitewash
Part of IAEA's mandate is to promote nuclear power. Promoting
anindustry that is dirty, dangerous and expensive is a hard
job,especially in the year marking the 20th anniversary of
Chernobyl. Totry and down play the effects of the disaster they
published a reportwith the World Health Organisation (WHO) in
September 2005 claimingonly 4000 people would die from the
It is now clear that the IAEA report was deliberately
published a report by 52 scientists whose research
predictsapproximately 270,000 cancers and 93,000 fatal cancer cases
caused byChernobyl. The report also concludes that on the basis of
demographicdata, during the last 15 years, 60,000 people have
additionally died inRussia because of the Chernobyl accident, and
estimates of the totaldeath toll for the Ukraine and Belarus could
reach another 140,000.
Even staff from the WHO now admit the report was intended as a
political tool to deflect criticism from nuclear power:
Zhanat Carr, a radiation scientist with the WHO in Geneva, says the5000 deaths were omitted because the report was a 'politicalcommunication tool'. "Scientifically, it may not be the best approach,"she admitted to New Scientist. She also accepts that the WHO estimatesdid not include predicted cancers outside Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
What figures and statistics never tell is the pain and
sufferinginflicted on individuals by the nuclear industry every day
since thefirst nuclear bomb was exploded in 1945.
Nuclear technology has always been inherently dangerous.
Today,thankfully, it is also unnecessary. Our energy needs can be
met withsafe and efficient renewable energy technologies. So, why
are so manypoliticians peddling nuclear power at the very time we
need it least,when we have safe and sustainable sources available
to power the world?
Is it the role of a UN agency, funded by your taxes, to advance
theprofits of the nuclear industry? Do we not have the right to
expect theIAEA to focus only on the values and principles of the UN
- peace,security, and human rights - and not on private industry's
Give now to help us campaign for an end to dangerous nuclear power.