32 years ago tomorrow – April 26, 1986 – the Chernobyl nuclear disaster began. Since nuclear accidents never actually end, we’ll never be able to record its end date (or that of any of the other myriad nuclear disasters, most of which you’ve almost certainly never even heard of).
They just go on & on & on – radioactivity doing its forever thing. In the air. The water. In the ground, and the critters that walk, fly & swim. In the plants, & in our food,
And in our bodies. Down through the generations. (Watch this documentary – Chernobyl Heart – about long-term heart issues among the young, post-Chernobyl accident.)
I can still remember being out at the clothesline, as a young(ish) mother, 32 years ago, wondering “Gosh. Will my sheets be contaminated by fallout from this nuclear accident happening halfway across the world?”
Then catching myself, & telling myself I was being a ninny to have such thoughts.
A brilliant article in Counterpunch a year ago quoted the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) from a May 1986 Duluth Herald article:
“Airborne radioactivity from the Chernobyl nuclear accident is now so widespread that it is likely to fall to the ground wherever it rains in the United States, the EPA said.”
As the 2017 Counterpunch writer goes on to comment,
“This warning should never stop being flabbergasting, and should have been the death knell for nuclear power.”
I guess I wasn’t being such a ninny after all, was I? And heck, I was still about a quarter of a century away from becoming an anti-nuclear activist.
Some things we just know in our guts, hmmm?
A Few Resources I Recommend on the 32nd Anniversary
- Beyond Nuclear’s recent ‘The Facts About Chernobyl’ posting
- & Chernobyl: The Facts (from Beyond Nuclear) here
- Chernobyl disaster 30 years later: amazing series of articles from USA Today from 2016. Different items cover the accident, the disaster's timeline, health impacts (particularly for children), impacts on wildlife, testimony from exiled scientist Yury Bandazhevsky, who said "For me, the problem of Chernobyl is not finished, it has only just begun."
- Fairewinds’ section on Chernobyl
- Lessons NOT Learned from Chernobyl: Radiation Knows No Borders! – an event held last week in Detroit, Michigan
& finally, but definitely not least!!
& very special it is, too, featuring enlightening interviews with
- a woman who was a teen-ager in Bulgaria when Chernobyl went postal
- scientist Timothy Mousseau, talking about his research exploring the consequences of radiation fallout exposure in Ukraine & Belarus, & also Japan (YouTube of 2016 lecture by Dr. Mousseau here & his Web site is here).
- Dr. Janette Sherman (M.D.) & her surprising revelations about health impacts from Fukushima fallout in the U.S. AND elevated cancer rates in eastern Pennsylvania (yes: Three Mile Island)
... & more.
Sooo very worth 60 minutes of your time!!
Previous Years’ Chernobyl Postings on this Site
31st Anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster (1 year ago today)
Chernobyl: 30 years. The ongoing disaster. Tons of links (2 years ago)
Chernobyl: 29 years (3 years ago)
Book VERY Highly Recommended!
Voices from Chernobyl – The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, by Nobel Prize for Literature winner Svetlana Alexievich
What to Do? What to Do? What to Do Now?
Well, Dr. Janette Sherman (from the Nuclear Hotseat podcast) figures the only sane response is to shut down the nuke plants.
Heck, even shut-down plants carry plenty of risks, what with all the wastes stored on-site!
But it’s clearly a great place to start.
Our own friendly (not) neighbourhood nuclear plant is right in Toronto’s backyard.
8 reactors, 6 of them functioning (2 in shutdown mode) – & their bosses, as it were, the folks who make so much money (& so much nuke waste!) want to keep them operating for at least another 6 years (maybe longer; who knows? They just don’t seem to know when to quit, & they just keep moving the goal posts).
The current licence for the Pickering reactors run by OPG (Ontario Power Generation) expires August 31, 2018.
However, only a very great deal of (LOUD) noise-making in upcoming months will cause them to be shut down.
The previous posting on this site provides information about the upcoming licensing hearing.
Join the party!
Raise a ruckus! Many, many, many people in the Greater Toronto Area want to see this nasty, risky, dangerous, nuclear-waste-producing dinosaur shut down. You can read about that on the Ontario Clean Air Alliance’s Close Pickering page.
Help make it happen.
Join the party!
p.s. Just for the record, this article ‘Risk of another Chernobyl or Fukushima type accident plausible, experts say’ provides a list of the costliest nuclear accidents – & a 1983 spill at Pickering comes in at # 14 in the list of 15. Here's yet another (short) accidents list.
“The lesson of TMI (and Chernobyl, and Fukushima)? Shut ‘em down before they melt down!” – Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear
“…What part of Fukushima don’t you understand? If you don’t make the modifications [re: safety & emergency planning] you run the risk of destroying the fabric of a country. It happened at Chernobyl, and it’s happening right now in Japan…” – Arnie Gundersen in an interview on March 27/14.
“Chernobyl is a word we would all like to erase from our memory. But more than seven million of our fellow human beings do not have the luxury of forgetting. They are still suffering, every day, as a result of what happened… The exact number of victims can never be known.” – former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
“Nuclear power is an idea whose time has never come, except at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. It almost came at Fermi 1. It’s up to us that it never happens at Fermi 2 or 3, and that we get to Solartopia–a green-powered Earth–before it’s too late.” — Harvey Wasserman
“Today no task is more pressing and noble, not only for a scientist, but also for any sober-minded individual, than to prevent nuclear insanity.” – Valery Legasov, head of the former Soviet delegation to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). He was upset over both the Chernobyl disaster & its handling at the IAEA & United Nations, & later took his life over it.
“Nobody really knows how to clean up radiation.” – day labourer in Japan working on clean-up in village 20 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors (source)
** lots more quotations about nuke accidents & inadequate nuclear emergency planning here