Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Results from Cherynobyl

Wait a minue, why aren't there 50 foot Ukranians wandering about, and mutated reindeers with fangs and death rays coming from their eyes? Was I lied to when I watched all those late night science fiction movies when I was a kid?

'I Read the News Today, Oh Boy'
George Melloan. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Oct 11, 2005. pg. A.17

" When the reactor in Ukraine exploded in April 1986 during a clumsy test procedure, the scare stories had Laplanders losing their reindeer herds, distant Germans dying of radiation sickness and forecasts of as many as 800,000 additional cancers in humans over the next 70 years.
A new and exhaustive study by United Nations and governmental agencies assesses the damage 20 years on. Only 56 people have died from causes related to Chernobyl radiation, 47 of them plant personnel killed by the blast or in fighting the fire that resulted. Some 4,000 children developed thyroid cancer but nearly all were cured and only nine died. The study projects 4,000 cancers over time, mostly among workers directly exposed to blast radiation, a far cry from the 1986 alarums.
The restricted area around Chernobyl has become a veritable 'game park,' says one U.N. observer. Because of hunting restrictions, deer, wild boar, bison and other creatures roam freely and in good health. Environmental radicals who want to return forests to their natural state could do worse than using a nuclear blast to drive out all the humans -- but don't get any ideas, please. The U.N. estimates that 70% of the area could be safely returned to productive use."

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