September 5, 1998
posted below is an excerpted version of an excellent article which blows apart the Myth of Nuclear power as being safe and peaceful. Please share this with activists in the peace movement circuit in India, Pakistan and elsewhere in South Asia. Nukes are real bad but lets not close our eyes to the Nuclear power projects in India and Pakistan.
South Asians Against Nukes
I spent 17 years as an engineer studying nuclear reactors. During the following 34-years I continued thinking about reactors. I have concluded that they are a threat to all life on earth. What follows is my attempt to explain that the processes by which nuclear reactors generate power put the whole world at risk.
Reactors are a New Technology
Throughout history technological devices have failed, unexpectedly, even catastrophically. Part of the engineering learning process has resulted from the study of operating failures. Accidents are "normal," in spite of the knowledge and skill that have gone into their avoidance. Failures are inevitable for several reasons: complexity, human fallibility, and the compromises required to get on with the job. Structural materials are subject to random failure.
The nuclear reactor substitutes for the combustion boiler used in a conventional power plant It uses a new source of heat from "fission" of uranium or plutonium. Nuclear reactors are complicated and unpredictable beyond all previous experience. They can fail by nuclear, chemical or mechanical means. They are designed, built and operated by fallible human beings, some of whom may be malicious. Structural materials in reactors are weakened, warped, and embrittled by the intense radiation to which they are subjected. Reactors have failed, and will fail in the future.
Societies have generally accepted willingly the risks of failure which accompany exciting technological developments, automobiles, airplanes, power plants, and explosives. Reactor planners say we should willingly accept reactor failures as we accepted failures of their non-nuclear predecessors. Why not? The answer is that nuclear reactors pollute the earth with radioactivity. The fuels the reactor uses and the poisonous radioactive products which it mass produces threaten all life until the end of time.
[. . .]
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH DEVELOPING NUCLEAR POWER
Adam and Eve ate the apple, man has never refrained from any folly of which
he was capable.
-- Bertrand Russell
After I learned of the power of atomic energy, as demonstrated in 1945 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I accepted an invitation to help develop non-polluting, "safe", "peacetime" nuclear electricity, plentiful and "too cheap to meter." My life ambition was to help establish design criteria to build the best possible power reactors for the benefit of humanity from this new form of energy.
I studied the reactors which had been built to produce bombs and analyzed engineering methods for the design of reactors to generate thermal power. On the basis of my analysis I taught a design course to reactor engineering students at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. With my friend, Ole Rodgers, I co-wrote the book, "Thermal Power from Nuclear Reactors," published by John Wiley & Sons in 1956.
I believed that a commitment to the construction of nuclear power plants should and would be preceeded by detailed engineering development, including experiments, on each of the components required for the complete power system, and their interaction within that system. Instead a decision was made to form teams of power plant builders with electric utilities, under the guidance and financial support of the Atomic Energy Commission (the AEC). Each team would proceed rapidly to build a nuclear power plant based on its own intuitive concepts.
Gradually I realized the lethal load of radioactivity carried in reactors. My investigations showed potential instabilities capable of spreading these deadly products into the environment. I felt a need for engineering development of any reactor system prior to commitment to its construction. The promoters of nuclear energy would not listen.
The public trusted the private and public agencies charged with developing nuclear power. The technical "experts," on whom a complicated society must depend for advice on a complicated subject, warped or hid their opinions to fit their own short-range interests, giving support to corporate greed for continuing government contracts. The catastrophic potentials of nuclear reactors were hidden from the public by use of the "secret" stamp. Nuclear truth sayers were ignored, or fired. The public trust was systematically betrayed.
rest you, merry Innocents, While innocence endures.
-- Ogden Nash
Government and private nuclear proponents proceeded with plans to build reactors based upon optimism and ignorance, and disdained all negative indications. They proposed to build peacetime nuclear reactors on an apriori assumption that they were inherently safe and a multipurpose "good". Besides nuclear electric power plants there would be nuclear aircraft, nuclear space vehicles, and nuclear submarines. To prevent skidding on winter ice, our interstate highways would be underlain with nuclear-powered electric wiring. Automobile companies published promotional material, complete with pictures of models of the nuclear powered automobiles of the near future.
My engineering friend, Bill Parrish, abandoned his "promising" nuclear career, stating that "Ignorance is a hell of a poor basis for nuclear optimism."
From my own experience I finally concluded that reactors constitute a disastrously uneconomic power source and the most violent and uncontrollable form of accidental and deliberate pollution ever conceived. In 1963, after seventeen years in what I thought was the terminally sick nuclear reactor business, I decided the rest of my life was too short to waste. I became a professor of engineering, first at Robert College, in Istanbul, then at Howard University, in Washington, DC. Then I retired to an abandoned mountain farm bordering Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia, to work on its environmental problems which had been created by human and animal muscle unaided by power devices. I continued to think about reactor instability and the environmental impact of unsafe nuclear reactors. I tried to pass on my concerns to government agencies. My tentative appointments for consultation with staff members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were cancelled.
For a long time I could get nothing published in nuclear journals or in the public press. Then my son, Bruce Thompson, helped me write a technical paper analyzing one type of power instability in reactors. Our paper, "A Model of Reactor Kinetics," was published in the September 1988 issue of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Now the general public and its press have become more aware of nuclear perils and are more receptive to discussions of reactor safety. My article, "Nuclear safety can't be guaranteed," was published by The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon) on June 13, 1986. "The Myth of Reactor Safety" appeared in Friends Bulletin, San Francisco, October 1986. Since then others of my articles have appeared in The Register-Guard and in Friends Bulletin, June 1995, Friends Journal, June 1995, and in some of the alternative press.
The nuclear establishment intends to continue with nuclear reactors, come hell or high water. How well are they doing?
Nuclear energy has been applied "successfully" to two specific military projects.
The first was the nuclear bomb, in both its uranium and plutonium forms. It is apparent beyond logical argument that a nuclear bomb makes a big bang, and is very devastating. It seems also apparent that a nuclear bomb cannot be beneficial to normal human beings, or to other living things.
The second successful application, the nuclear submarine, is a monument to the astute, persevering, and single-minded efforts of Admiral Hyman Rickover. The nuclear submarine provides clandestine,unlimited, underwater mobility, as contrasted with the pre-nuclear submarine which had to surface to gain mobility. Like the bomb, it is one more item in the arsenal with which we appear determined to destroy ourselves.
Both the bomb and the nuclear submarine depend for their success on the characteristic that a tremendous production of energy consumes only a small mass of nuclear material.
A "MINOR" NUCLEAR FAILURE
A "successful" nuclear airplane would "burn" only a small amount of nuclear fuel to achieve a long range. If it could fly at all it could supposedly fly "forever." Two projects were established to develop nuclear power plants for aircraft propulsion, one under the aegis of the General Electric Company, a project called "NEPA" (Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft), directed by Miles Leverett. The NEPA project, based on a watercooled reactor, appeared to me useless for any purpose. The other airplane engine project, under the direction of Ray Bryant at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was based on a daring concept, circulating a nuclear fuel mixture of fused fluorides at extremely high temperatures through the reactor and an external heat exchanger.
The non-nuclear aircraft builders were generally reluctant to define a mission for the nuclear airplane, maintaining that anything it could do could be done better by conventional aircraft. Aside from the lack of an acceptable mission, other problems challenged the nuclear airplane. Any crash would spread vast amounts of radioactivity. In operation the reactor must be surrounded by an immense mass of shielding to protect service personnel, and equipment from its radioactive emanations. Fifty to one hundred tons were discussed as a possible lower limit. The pilot would sit in a separately shielded compartment attached to the body of the enormous plane by a long boom. When the plane was high in the air, distance would protect objects on the ground from its radioactivity. What about radiation when the plane was on the ground? Perhaps it could be taxied quickly into an immense remotely serviced underground tunnel.
If the projected nuclear plane had no mission and no definable, relatively safe, mode of operation, shouldn't it be canceled? Some people believed that their work on nuclear aircraft power plants would be useful for some other purpose, perhaps for a high-temperature central station power plant. The feeling among some proponents was that one accepted whatever support was available to the nuclear program, and told the public as little as possible about any problems. Congressmen might come to the wrong conclusions if they were burdened with all the complicated information available to nuclear experts.
Congress finally did come to a conclusion. They shut off the nuclear airplane program after over one billion dollars had been spent. At the point of termination most of the good experimental work disappeared, along with the faulty logistics and obfuscation, into the mound of paperwork which had been generated.
The unacknowledged disaster of peacetime nuclear power dwarfs the billion dollar failure of the nuclear airplane program.
A MAJOR NUCLEAR FAILURE
The "peacetime" nuclear electric business is in bad shape. The hard fact is that nuclear power is the most subsidized of all industries, kept alive by taxpayer, ratepayer, and bondholder financed welfare, and by world wide military support. Nuclear electricity has turned out to be prohibitively expensive. All new reactors ordered since 1973 have been canceled. Abandoned reactors include Rancho Seco in California, Trojan in Oregon, Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, Shoreham on Long Island. Estimates of the cost of disposal of decommissioned reactors rise fantastically above $500 million per reactor, and no one knows what to do with the lethal stuff stored within and around them. Radioactive waste is accumulating at reactor sites around the world. Attempts are being made to persuade some unsuspecting Native American community or South Sea Island population to accept waste in exchange for money.
Besides being disastrously uneconomic, reactors are radioactively lethal. If nuclear reactors are so bad, who wants them, and why?
WHO WANTS NUCLEAR REACTORS?
Some countries of the World, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, have renounced reactor development. France, a nuclear country, is struggling under a great debt from its nuclear enterprise. Its future as a nuclear nation may be in doubt.
Japan, a manufacturing country with insufficient natural resources, is torn between promoters and protesters of nuclear energy. At one time in 1991, 18 Japanese reactors of a total of 40 were out of service for a variety of reasons.
Why does any one want reactors?
U.S. nuclear corporations and government bureaucracies see their economic future tied to the continuation of the nuclear business. Their "risk analyses" demonstrate that present gain to their corporate entities is worth the radioactive degredation of all future generations. They debate how many future lives of our great grandchildren can be sacrificed for the present production of a megawatt-year of nuclear electricity? Reactor salesmen, admitting that present reactors leave much to be desired, claim they are now ready to produce a "new generation" of economic, "safe" reactors.
Nuclear engineering departments of some universities, depleted of students, need reactors and nuclear-engineering students to maintain faculty employment and prestige. These departments advertise a coming shortage of engineers to design, build, and operate the new generation of safe reactors.
Some countries, including Iraq, desperately need reactors to make electricity and bombs. The United States has proposed to provide reactors to North Korea.
Have reactors operated safely?
In the parlance of the nuclear industry, their "safe", non polluting nuclear power plants have "incidents", not accidents. After each incident a post-mortem is conducted. The post-mortem is a self-deceiving and publicreassuring ritual to future disaster, meant to keep the nuclear industry alive. Its purpose is to show that only a negligible amount of harmless radioactivity was released, the cause was operator error or a specific case of faulty design, the public was at no time in any danger, and procedures have been changed so that renewed safety into the far future is guaranteed.
Our reactors may be "weapons in the hands of our enemies,"susceptible to their sabotage.
The nuclear business, here and abroad, has a record of willful and careless radiation exposure and killing of unaware people since the beginning: its miners from radon gas, its "down-winders" from Hanford, Karen Silkwood at Rocky Flats, victims of Chernobyl in the Ukraine and SL-1 in Idaho, the Japanese bomb victims - - - - - .
The public has been conditioned by both corporate and government proponents of nuclear power to believe in the inherent safety of nuclear reactors. We were told that the nuclear scientists and engineers and salesmen knew what they were doing and that, with their knowledge, they were acting conscientiously on our behalf to avert a coming energy crisis. The words which come to mind for their acts on our behalf are inept, bungling, evasive, deceitful, and self serving. Despite attempts at secrecy, the list of reactor accidents fills whole books (Nuclear Age, by John May, Pantheon Books).
Now a massive public-relations effort is being launched to retrain the public to trust the "experts" to give us a new generation of "safe" reactors.
Operators in a beginning accident cannot "see" what is going on in the depths of a reactor encased in several feet of shielding placed there to protect them from its violent radioactive emanations. They face a vast array of sometimes faulty instruments, on extended panels with blinking warning lights, and control devices which they must manipulate with unerring precision throughout their panic at impending doom.
Here are some of the more notable reactor accidents.
The Sodium-Graphite Reactor (SGR)
Atomics International, with its industry partners and Atomic Energy Commission support, built a sodium-cooled, graphitemoderated reactor experiment at its test site at Santa Susana, a suburb of Los Angeles. After it put on a 1979 show of powering some light bulbs, the reactor melted its core, endangering the city of Los Angeles.
The High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (HTGR)
General Atomic labored for fourteen years with much financial support and with the best scientific help available to develop and build its high-temperature gas cooled reactor for the Ft. St. Vrain power station, in Colorado, in partnership with a consortium of electric utilities. The severely troubled reactor could not be brought to power because of excessive power oscillations which continually worsened as power was increased. A rate payers lawsuit removed the cost of the abandoned nuclear plant from the rate base.
Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS)
In 1971 the Washington Public Power Supply System began building five reactors to produce 6,000 megawatts of power for the Pacific Northwest. The project was beset with incompetent management, faulty construction, billions of dollars in cost overruns, and the largest bond default in U.S. history. Two reactors were mothballed in 1982. Two others were terminated. Only one of the five was completed, years behind schedule at over ten times its projected cost. A newly formed Columbia Nuclear Corp recently proposed to complete the two mothballed WPPSS reactors to burn American and Soviet plutonium.
SL-1, a small water-moderated-and-cooled reactor was designed to be so inherently safe that it could be operated unattended on the polar icecaps. On January 3, 1961, at the Reactor Test Station in Idaho, it was shut down for routine maintenance by a three man night crew. A nuclear explosion contaminated the reactor building and killed the three men, leaving one hanging from the ceiling, impaled on a control rod. The official hypothesis was that the operator had pulled the control rod too far out. How could a "safe" reactor be so easily exploded?
Three Mile Island
In March 1979, the Three Mile Island reactor melted part of its core, threatening (and perhaps contaminating) Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
On March 22, 1975, at Browns Ferry Power Station on the Tennessee River, near Decatur, Ala., a worker looking with a candle for air leaks set fire to control cable insulation. Fire spread over control wires for three of the world's largest reactors, two of which were at full power. Catastrophic meltdown of one reactor was narrowly averted.
An October 1980 error flooded the cavity of Indian Point No. 2 reactor, 25 miles from New York, with brackish Hudson River water, closing the reactor until June 1981 and drawing penalties from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
In the 1970's the Windscale reactor accident polluted the coast of Great Britain.
Chernobyl (Nuclear-Powered, World-Wide Cancer)
In 1986 the Chernobyl reactor exploded, blowing off its two-thousand-ton lid, polluting the northern hemisphere with radioactivity, casting radiation sickness and death into the far future, leaving a million acres of land ruined by radioactive contamination. Radioactive reindeer meat was discarded in Lapland, and milk in Italy. It is reported that half of the 10 million people in Belorussia live in contaminated areas.
I am going to feed them wormwood
And make them drink poisonous water,
For from the prophets of Jerusalem
Pollution has gone forth into all the land.
Chernobyl is the Russian word for wormwood. [Ukranian word, not Russian]
The radioactive consequences of Chernobyl are worse than all previous official announcements. Since 1986, estimates of the total radioactivity released have increased by a factor of three. More than two million people living within the 61,000-square-mile heavily contaminated area have suffered from radiation. Rather than the 31 or 32 workers claimed officially to have died, it is estimated that 150,000 people have died from radiation. It appears that more like 32,000 (out of the 800,000 so called "liquidators") died horrible deaths as a result of their heroic efforts to contain the overwhelming radioactive mess.
To date an estimated 375,000 people have been relocated, and 270,000 require evacuation due to the high radiation levels.
Cancer rates are up to 200 times higher than average in areas contaminated by radiation. The rate of thyroid cancer in Ukrainian children has increased tenfold, and is expected to rise further. Thyroid cancers in the heavily contaminated areas of Belarus, in Gomel, have increased to nearly 200 times above that expected. The standard treatment for these children is removal of the thyroid, and lifetime remedial medical treatment.
Greek children who were in the womb at the time of Chernobyl's relatively small fallout over their country are said to have a doubled expectancy of leukemia.
Some estimates of adults and children doomed to be killed and maimed by cancer and mutations run in the millions.
In 1955, an accident to the experimental fast-breeder reactor, EBR-1, at the Reactor Test Station, in Idaho, melted half its fuel elements.
In October 1966, "We Almost Lost Detroit" when the Fermi fast-breeder reactor partially melted its core.
France's SuperphÈnix, the world's largest fast-breeder, was shut down in 1987 after 20 tons of liquid sodium, which explodes on contact with air or water, leaked from the cooling drum.
In 1995, the government-funded Japanese fast-breeder reactor, Monju, leaked about three tons of coolant, causing the reactor to overheat, burning holes in the cooling pipes. In sorrow over a bungled attempt to cover up the seriousness of the accident, the plant manager, Shigeo Nishimura, committed suicide.
I believe Monju was the world's last fast-breeder reactor in operation. But information is limited, because other countries have no "Freedom-of-Information Act."
SAY NO TO REACTORS
Overconfidence in the Challenger space mission killed its crew and an unsuspecting school teacher. When an airplane wing fails or an Amtrak train falls through a bridge, a hundred passengers may die. The spilled chemicals from a plant like Bhopal kill thousands. A reactor failure near a large city could kill millions of unsuspecting school children and their teachers, and leave a vast area uninhabitable for more than a thousand generations. A saboteur might love the damage he could inflict by blowing up a reactor, or spreading stolen plutonium. Experience and common sense show that building reactors contributes to the earth a legacy of violent radioactive contamination for a time far longer than previous human history, whether the reactors succeed or fail.
American reactor enthusiasts like to claim that their reactors cannot fail as did Chernobyl. Only a monstrous ego, or naivete, persuades a nuclear designer that accident-free operation of his particular reactor is assured.
6 munts ago i cudent even spel nuculer engenear and now i ar one
As reactor accidents continue around the World, there are bound to be "Chernobyls" in other countries, perhaps with worse consequences for larger populations. We cannot afford to continue the learning process with accidents to reactors, risking radioactive spills more catastrophic than we have witnessed so far.
Even "successful" reactors are intolerable. Society cannot afford the cleanup of the radioactive products from those reactors which come "successfully" to the end of their poison-generating lives. Nuclear power, with its lethal radioactive poisons, pollutes "forever", in new, more insidious, ways than any other form of energy. Reactors are costly and serve no legitimate purpose.
The present generation of nuclear reactors was achieved by the consumption of large amounts of fossil fuels. The energy which could be obtained in the future by a new generation of such reactors would not greatly extend the energy of fossil fuels. Successful breeder reactors would considerably extend the supply of energy available from nuclear fuels, but the breeder has proved to be the most dangerously unstable of all reactors.
Because I am interested in the welfare of the people on the earth, including my own children and grandchildren and their progeny, I am compelled to conclude not only that we shouldn't allow any more reactors to be built but also should rapidly phase out current ones. Life is too complicated and too sacred to trust to the vested corporate government nuclear interests. The "experts" have misled us. As ordinary people we have enough knowledge to take back the power to control nuclear reactors.
Alfred Korzybski, Polish-U.S. scientist and philosopher, defined "man as time-binder", unique in the ability to pass accumulated ideas as well as genes from one generation to the next. I think of each person as a temporary trustee of his or her share of human inheritance, including genes, ideas, and a living environment. The most recent end of my family tree contains my seven grandchildren, their first and second cousins, and more distant relatives. For each of those special newer persons there is a page containing his or her name, birthdate, place of birth, and blank places for the names of a future spouse and children. How will life go on for these, my progeny, and yours after the nuclear age?
Damaged gene pools and cancers will be our legacy to my grandchildren, and yours, if we continue to build nuclear reactors. How many of our children are we willing to sacrifice for the continuation of nuclear electric power and nuclear war?
A completed nuclear reactor is a menace to the future of humanity whether it succeeds or fails. Fifty years after I first studied the physics and engineering of reactors, I am appalled by the threat to my grandchildren, and yours. I will make my case here.
I do not know of any energy alternatives which will fulfill the unrealistic promises which have been made, and still are being made, for the unlimited potential of nuclear reactors.
We must learn to use alternative, less polluting, renewable sources of energy in passive, gentle forms. We need to beware of mega-corporation proposals for government contracts to cover all of Arizona with solar collectors, or all of California with windmills, for generating electricity at taxpayer expense. Windmills kill the birds in their vicinity. Their widespread use is at least a form of visual pollution.
I believe there are no energy alternatives which will allow worldwide waste of energy on the scale to which we have become accustomed. All energy forms pollute to some extent, if applied on so large a scale. The application of energy to the transformation of resources depletes the World's supply of those resources. We cannot continue to support our lavish lifestyle, let alone maintain the cruel hoax that we can in addition provide its equivalent to all third-world countries? We must learn to be less wasteful in our use of energy.
Stanley Thompson, 1910 Monroe Street, Eugene, OR 97405 Telephone:
541-683-2332, e-mail: <email@example.com>
In November 1993, the War and Peace Foundation arranged for Vladimir Chernousenko, the Ukrainian nuclear physicist who supervised the `clean- up' of Chernobyl, to come to the US and reveal the true magnitude of the disaster. 25 April 1996 marks the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. A victim himself of radiation poisoning resulting from the Chernobyl accident, Chernousenko is now dying of cancer. The following is excerpted from his talks. "The Chernobyl reactor exploded on 25 April 1986. With nothing to contain its temperatures, the reactor overheated and a nuclear blue heat burned for 16 days. Everything that could burn, burned. The smoke went up 3-4 kilometres [1.8-2.4 miles]. We could not ascertain the full damage, but still the government issued reports that everything was in order.
"As soon as the explosion happened, troops were placed around the area. The government put a lid on what had happened, and millions were not evacuated in time. There was finally an evacuation on the 27th, but this was already too late.
"I was called in by [then-president] Mikhail Gorbachev to evaluate what had happened. With my colleagues, we flew several times a day over the reactor with military instruments to measure the intensity of radioactivity. Since [our instruments] could only go up to 400 rems, we had no way of reporting or measuring further.
"Young recruits, 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds, came to assist in the clean-up. Many died immediately. They were given no protective clothing. Why? I believe it was to show the world that it could be easily cleaned up.
"When I concluded my investigation, I sent a three-volume report to Gorbachev. Immediately it became a secret document. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) would not acknowledge the scope of the damage. According to the IAEA, there were only 31 casualties. There has been no talk of the 7,000 who died immediately.
"Kiev, a city of four million people, was heavily dosed, as were a number of little villages and hamlets. I found that the magnitude of the damage was enormous. Rather than affecting 3% of the reactor core, as had been reported, actually 70% was affected. As a result, 65 million people in Russia received a dose.
"What followed the tragedy is much worse and will be larger than the aftermath of World War II. So many people are going to die. With genetic reactions, the threat will continue for future generations. There are four times more childhood and animal diseases, and they keep increasing every month. Ninety million people north of the Ukraine have been contaminated. It is the worst catastrophe that has ever happened to humankind.
"A million and a half people in or around Chernobyl (including the people who cleaned up the site) received extremely high doses of radiation. [Millions of others] received internal radiation from food contamination. Prior to the Chernobyl disaster, the Ukraine had been the breadbasket of Europe. Now, 70% of the food is contaminated. There is no way to clean [the soil] up, but since they must grow food, they use it and the food is irradiated.
"Those who consume these irradiated products develop problems of the oesophagus and circulatory system, anaemia and other disorders: the blood becomes totally affected and the immune system completely breaks down. For a child, a small cold is tragic. A seven-year-old dies of cancer. There is a plethora of diseases - some illnesses not even diagnosed yet. To this day, there is no understanding of how to deal with the thousands who have received radiation.
"The international nuclear mafia says of Chernobyl that, "the machine broke down." We cannot dismiss so simply what has caused so major an ecological disaster. They say it is fully under control and will not happen again. The fact remains that they have not resolved the real reasons for this catastrophe.
"The Chernobyl disaster had little to do with "accidents" or mistakes of personnel. People should know that Chernobyl had explosions before. It was a military reactor and all military reactors were kept secret. There had been 104 prior accidents in Russia, but radioactive material was not emitted, so no attention was paid.
"There was no organisation in the former USSR to monitor these reactors. There have been more than 200 accidents in nuclear installations, with millions of curies of radiation released. Since 1986, all accidents have been kept secret. In my country not one inch of area is free of radioactive fallout. People are losing their hair and blood is coming out of mouths.
"Nuclear power stations are dangerous not only because they can blow up; they are dangerous even when they do not blow up. My assistants and I researched 10 plants, and we consistently found the water polluted and people around the plants sick. We found 152 lies and cover-ups. Such details are considered treasonable, but the truth should be found.
"Between 1991 and 1993, there were 152 nuclear catastrophes in 14 countries, including some in the US. There were none like Chernobyl, only because reactors in Russia are larger and we did not have enough money to correct certain factors and there was no punishment if we did not. Half occurred because of errors made by personnel. In 1989 alone, there were 860 stoppages because of imminent danger due to improper management.
"The international nuclear mafia will not accept the necessity to deal with the problem. But we must talk about the atomic energy situation, because the next explosion will be larger. There are 65 reactors in Russia and 110 in the US. With one or two such explosions, it is utterly ridiculous to discuss defence measures. We shall be killed in silent ways. It is virtually impossible to make a reactor safe.
"Still we have not learned this. There has been no significant change in the US or Russia since the Chernobyl accident. It has not changed the mindlessness of government. Yeltsin is continuing with nuclear power and the same thing is likely to happen again. Further tragedies will cost the lives of more millions."
Third World Network Features/Earth Island Journal When reproducing this feature, please credit Third World Network Features and (if applicable) the cooperating magazine or agency involved in the article, and give the byline. Please send us cuttings.
Published by Third World Network 228, Macalister Road, 10400 Penang, Malaysia. Email: twni...; twnpen@t...; Tel: (+604)2293511,2293612 & 2293713; Fax: (+604)2298106. 1443/96