PR:28 years after Chernobyl: Number of victims continues to grow

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Media Release
Monday, April 28, 2014
For immediate release

28 years after Chernobyl: Number of victims continues to grow

Nuclear accidents have long term consequences and come at a high cost

UKRAINE/EUROPE/BALTIC SEA - This Saturday, April 26th, remembrance events and protests against nuclear power took place in various European countries on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Though it has been nearly three decades since Chernobyl reactor no. 4 exploded and irrevocably changed lives of thousands of people, the number of victims continues to grow. According to information from the intergovernmental Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), the impacts of the Chernobyl disaster are one of the main sources the Baltic Sea is the most radioactive water body in the world.

A network of concerned organizations also called out for the Third European Action weeks "For A Future After Chernobyl And Fukushima", while rallies and actions took place in several capitals and many towns and villages. Witness talks with victims of the Chernobyl accident took place for instance in Austria, Belarus, Germany, Poland, and Ukraine. An overview of Chernobyl remembrance related events has been compiled on the Nuclear Heritage Network website:

As a result of the explosion at unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine radiation was spread first by the radioactive cloud. Contamination was detected not only in Northern and Southern Europe, but also in Canada, Japan and the United States. Secondly, the radiation was also spread by animals that escaped the contaminated area. Eventually goods taken from the contaminated zones distributed radioactive materials across Europe. Even children born these days growing up in affected areas are experiencing serious diseases due to the polluted food they take.

The independent associations of concerned doctors, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), calculates that many millions have been exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster: 830,000 liquidators; about 350,000 evacuees; 8.3 million inhabitants of the most affected areas in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus; as well as 600 million citizens living in less contaminated regions of Europe.

Proving the health impacts of the disaster is complicated by a range of factors such as the high incidence and multi-causality of many cancers, and the long latency period (sometimes stretching to decades) of some cancers. Nevertheless, examples of statistically-significantly increases in disease incidence and mortality include leukemia, thyroid cancer, breast cancer and several other types of cancer, brain tumors, genetic deformities, still-births, brain dysfunctions, increased ageing, and mental disorders. It has to be noted that due to the latency of 25-30 years of several types of cancer a peak in detected sicknesses must be expected.[1]

"Chernobyl taught us that even decades after a nuclear catastrophe, new cases of illness continue to appear and large areas remain too contaminated for living," says German anti-nuclear organizer Hanna Poddig. "Millions of people are affected by the nuclear accident, hundreds of thousands have experienced serious diseases. The Baltic Sea - just one specific region impacted by the Chernobyl radiation - is more radioactive than all other water bodies in the world, as HELCOM scientists found. We cannot wait for the next nuclear disaster to happen - all atomic installations have to be shut down immediately, worldwide!"

The Chernobyl disaster is also one of the major reasons for the Baltic Sea to be the most radioactive water body in the world. The radioactive cloud from the Chernobyl accident in 1986 travelled along airstreams straight towards the Baltic Sea, depositing fallout unevenly in the drainage area of the Baltic Sea. More fallout was deposited in the Baltic Sea than in other sea areas such as the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, or the North-East Atlantic Ocean.[2]

The anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster is also cause for anti-nuclear organizers from the Baltic Sea region and other regions to gather. Tomorrow the 2014 European Anti-nuclear Forum with the title "Economic Limits of the Nuclear Power Industry" will take place in Prague, Czech Republic. International experts will discuss such topics as energy industry in 2030, Quo vadis nuclear power?, Risk comparison of investment in coal, nuclear and gas power plants and economic risks of construction of nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic. More detailed information on the conference is posted at:

From May 5th-11th, the fourth working meeting of the project "Atomic Threats In The Baltic Sea Region" will take place in Döbeln, Germany. It will be an opportunity to get involved to the network/project, to continue project activities, to volunteer for tasks and also to network with other activists. More information on the project is posted at:

Notes to Journalists and Editors:
You are welcome to contact us, if you have questions, for interviews, background information and to request photo material on anti-nuclear actions in the Baltic Sea region via landline phone +49 3431 5894177 or e-mail to media AT nuclear-heritage DOT net[3].

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This media release has been provided by the "Nuclear Heritage Network". It is an international network of anti-nuclear activists. This informal alliance supports the worldwide anti-nuclear work. The Nuclear Heritage Network is no label, has no standard opinion and no representatives. All activists of the network speak for themselves or for the groups they represent.

  1. as of April 20, 2014
  2. as of April 20, 2014
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