Chernobyl, Biorobots, 500,000 deaths: Is nuclear safe as proponents claim?

UN accused of ignoring 500,000 Chernobyl deaths

Officially, theInternational Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, resolutely maintains that

So, about 4000 people have or will die from Chernobyl, according to the IAEA.

This number is widely disputed. According to the article I linked to above,

According to Nikolai Omelyanets, deputy head of the National Commission for Radiation Protection in Ukraine,

A widely cited report, known as the TORCH (The Other Report on Chernobyl) report, concludes:

Biorobots and Liquidators is what the human emergency workers were nicknamed during the early period of the Chernobyl disaster:

Youtube has some documentaries about them, as well as the Chernobyl accident overall. I watched two of them last night.

The first is The Battle of Chernobyl It’s also available there divided into 11 parts.

Another is Discovery channel’s Seconds from Disaster series Meltdown In Chernobyl.

BBC has a docudrama called Surviving Disaster: Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

I’d like to discuss the true death toll from Chernobyl, and it’s implications with regard to the safety of nuclear power production.

In light of the current nuclear power plant emergency in Japan, I think it’s fair to also compare Chernobyl to Fukushima, bearing in mind a few differences between the two, for instance:

[li]Chernobyl © involved one reactor, while Fukushima (F) involves three.[/li]
[li]C’s reactor exploded violently due to a sudden increase in the reactor core’s heat and power output. F hasn’t experienced a large reactor explosion, but rather partial meltdowns in three reactors. It’s unlikely Fukushima will experience a runaway nuclear reaction the way Chernobyl did, because the reactors at F were scrammed.[/li]
[li]C had a spent fuel pool, but it was unaffected. F has seven fuel pools, all affected.[/li]
[li]The reactor at C contained about 180 tons of nuclear fuel. F involves about 4200 tons of nuclear fuel:[/li]


Four months after the meltdown Morris Rosen, the IAEA’s director of nuclear safety, said: “Even if there were an accident of this type every year, I would still regard nuclear power as a valuable source of energy.”

Do you agree? Is nuclear power really so important that we should except Chernobyl-sized accidents as frequently as one per year?

First, he was obviously speaking of the 4000 figure, not half a million (which I don’t buy for a moment). And second, the answer is yes since the alternative is far more deaths, possibly including the collapse of modern civilization which would kill billions. We have the choice between nuclear, coal or collapse; and coal has a good chance of creating its own collapse via global warming.

And finally it’s irrelevant since a Chernobyl a year is simply impossible. People outside the old USSR don’t build reactors like that because it was a stupid design.

The guys who worked on the Chernobyl cleanup were pathetically under-equipped. Hardly any of them had proper gear. The lucky ones got crappy Soviet NBC suits meant primarily to protect against chemical agents. The majority were sent in with nothing more than lab coats and surgical masks. (The prosperity of Marxist government at work!) Of course they all got radiation sickness and died.

The problem was a lack of preparation.

I’m sure he meant a Chernobyl-like accident with equivalent radiation release, evacuations, etc. The thing is, Chernobyl contaminated 40% of Europe’s surface area. As far as I know, there are still farms in the UK that can’t sell produce. At an accident rate of one per year, how long would it take before Europe was 100% contaminated, and then re-contaminated, again and again. There wouldn’t be a Europe, except for the radioactive mutant zombies, which I consider a plus, but anyway.

Anecdote, with possible insight…

I worked for a foundation, giving away dead rich guys money. Clean karma. Anyway, every once in a while, somebody would send in a request for a science grant, which was right out, according to the rules.

One of these guys was from Russia, working on measuring the extent of pollution in the Volga River. He wanted about $10,000 to buy a better measuring gadget, with a broader range. The one had had topped out at 1,000 times the US acceptable presence of cadmium. For instance.

I would despair of ever getting any sort of objective numbers out of Russia, esp. the Russian of Chernobyl. Therefore, any such “empirical” results are to be viewed with suspicion.

Wait, where do the Biorobots come in? I was hoping for some kind of leftover Soviet supersoldier program.

Which as I said isn’t going to happen with more sensible plant designs so there’s no reason to worry about it. You might as well worry about crashing your car and exploding when the liquid fuel rocket mounted on your roof ignites. You don’t have a rocket there, so it isn’t going to happen.

For a farm to be so massively contaminated that it still couldn’t sell produce today, twenty-five years later, there would have to be incredible contamination that would be incredibly hard to cover up, especially in a 1st world country with a free press. This is a ridiculous claim. Cite, please.

The only way you can get 500,000 deaths is to count every person exposed to even the tiniest amount of radiation who eventually died of cancer, and guess what? Most of them would have gotten cancer anyway. Cancer happens.

The IAEA isn’t exactly in bed with the atomic energy proponents, either. They’re the guys with the Nuclear Annihilation Clock, the one that they move one minute closer to midnight every time some nutcase tries to nuke New York.

The Bio-Robots were what the Russians cynically referred to the cleanup workers, as they went places that actual robots couldn’t go.

There’s this: Farms still affected by Chernobyl

There are still farms in Scotland that are under restriction and have to have their animals tested. That article is from 20 years after Chernobyl. Things may have changed recently, but up until 20 years after Chernobyl, there was/is sufficient contamination from Chernobyl for restrictions. Sorry, I wish I could provide you with a juicy conspiracy theory, but there isn’t one here. Lingering Chernobyl radiation just doesn’t make headlines like it used to.

Except there is no Chernobyl level accident at one per year-its more like one in a billion years freak accident due mostly to the incompetence of the Soviet Union-it is more condemning of Marxism than nuclear power.

Exactly. The USSR was plagued with industrial disasters, pollution and so forth. Other places don’t build nuclear reactors with flammable control rods, no containment dome, and then put incompetents in charge of it all. Or if it turns out they do, (North Korea is an obvious candidate), the problem is again the specific bad design and the system that let that design be put in place; not nuclear power. Which is why you don’t see Chernobyls elsewhere.

I just happened to run across this: Japanese Plant Had Barebones Risk Plan

In their defense, they’ve only had 25 years to learn from Chernobyl’s mistakes. Give them another 25, at least.

Guys, guys. Let’s pretend that the 500k deaths due to Chernobyl is a valid figure, instead of the bullshit it obviously is (more than 2 orders of magnitude more than the figure quoted by the IAEA). One has to ask ones self though…since the Soviet Union was an environmental nightmare, how does this compare to the deaths due to things like air pollution, say? In another thread, another poster showed a cite claiming that in the US there are 22k untimely deaths per year due to coal emissions. What was the old Soviet Union like for emissions control?

Granted, it’s older data at this point. I don’t have the time tonight to dig up a bunch of cites to show what an environmental nightmare just the Soviet Union was. The point is that the Russians of that period, like the Chinese today, put production well above the human costs, and generally did things to their environment that no western nation would tolerate. Chernobyl was just one example of MANY…and not the worst, even using the OPs ridiculous 500,000 dead figures. Consider the numbers of dead per year in the Soviet Union from air pollution alone, if in the US we have 22,000 deaths a year attributable to it. What might the Russians have? 2 times? 5 times? An order of magnitude more…per year? And what about all the OTHER types of pollutants the Russians dumped into their environment? All the chemicals and other contaminants? And this was over DECADES. What might the death toll be in Russian lives due to mis-management by the old Soviet Government in non-nuclear deaths per year?


You’re thinking of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists?

The IAEA is frequently criticized for being in bed with the nuclear industry. Originally the Russians and Ukrainians predicted a 40,000 death toll at a closed door meeting where reporters were barred. The IAEA flatly refused a number so alarming, and proceeded to argue them down to the 4,000 number. I got that from the first documentary I linked to.

And the mousy Russians and Ukrainians just looked at their shoes and said yes? :dubious:

Probably. They just had their asses handed to them. It’s Ukraine’s problem now, and the bill is up over $200 billion now. I think they’re supposed to be starting construction on a newer, stronger longer-lasting sarcophagus this year or next, and it’s being paid for by other countries. They have no money to pay for Chernobyl. They do as their told, when it comes to things nuclear.

I did a little reading on that report you linked to.

What I is interesting is the financing of the report. It says

So, I like to know where things are coming from.

Rebeca Harms. A pol who hates nukes.


Altner-Combecher Foundation. I can’t find a damned thing about these guys that *isn’t *linked to that one report. Google doesn’t turn up shit. That is odd.

Hatzfeldt Foundation. Once again, it seems the only info I can find on those guys is directly related to that report. That is rather odd.

Günter Altner appears to be this guy. Link.

So far my trust in the report isn’t all that high.


It might help if you spelled her name right.

Gosh, wonder why she hates nuke. :rolleyes:

Altner-Combecher-Foundation for Ecology and Peace is all over the web supporting stuff like… ecology & peace. Duh. :rolleyes:

Admit it, you didn’t look at all did you? Did you really think I wasn’t going to blow this little game of yours out of the water? HKH Foundation.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. hc Günter Altner

Sorry, but I’m not going to play this game with you again. You obviously looked these things up, saw them, then came here and pretended you couldn’t find them.

Funding shortfall puts Chernobyl reactor shelter in jeopardy

Chernobyl Shelter Fund

New Safe Confinement

It’s actually a cool looking project, just sad why it has to be built.