Chernobyl's Legacy: Black Prophecies' Bubble

Abstract

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear accident occurred, killing 30 people within several weeks. The scale of the accident was unprecedented – and probably about largest theoretically possible. On the wake of the accident, a lot of predictions were made, including rumors about up to million cancer deaths. The reality, however, turned to be absolutely different. According to solid scientific data, gained over the quarter of century, at most 15 cancer deaths may be directly attributed to the fallout radiation. Particularly, no conclusion could be drawn concerning the presence or absence of a radiation-related excess of cancer—including leukemia—among Chernobyl accident recovery workers, who received rather high well-documented radiation doses. The number of radiation-related mutations (congenital malformations) is just zero. On the other hand it should be stressed, that the myths and misperceptions about the threat of radiation caused by themselves enormous human suffering. In addition to the socio-economic problems associated with relocation (mostly unjustified), people have suffered a paralyzing fatalism, which has contributed to a culture of chronic dependency. Mental health problems, leading to and coupled with smoking and alcohol abuse proved to be a very much greater problem than radiation. Similar problems should be avoided in future accidents by means of proper transparency.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Socol2012ChernobylsLB, title={Chernobyl's Legacy: Black Prophecies' Bubble}, author={Yehoshua Socol}, year={2012} }