The 26 April marks the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Since a number of highly inaccurate and sensationalist statements about the health and environmental impacts of the accident have recently been made and circulated to the press, I would like to set the record straight.
As Chairman of the MEP Forum for the Future of Nuclear Energy, I would like to draw your attention to the report entitled Chernobyl's Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economoic Impacts and Recommendations to the Governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. It was published jointly by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Atomic Energy Authority IAEA), with the collaboration of the governments of the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
This report constitutes the most extensive, authoritative and scientifically reliable analysis made so far on the Chernobyl accident and on the true scale of the associated health, environmental, and socio-economic impacts.
The Chernobyl accident was indeed a terrible tragedy. The loss of a single life from radiation exposure is one too many and I would in no way wish to minimise the significance of the event. However, in the interests of factual accuracy and objective reporting, I strongly recommend that you study the Chernobyl Forum report, which is available on the websites of the WHO (www.who.int) and the IAEA (www.iaea.org).
Here is a summary of the main conclusion drawn from the report:
“A total of up to four thousand people could eventually die of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident nearly twenty years ago, an international team of more than 100 scientists has concluded. As of mid-2005, however, fewer than 50 deaths had been directly attributable to radiation from the disaster, almost all being highly-exposed rescue workers, many of whom died within months of the accident but others who died as late as 2004.”
Our constituents deserve to be presented the facts – facts based upon the expert conclusions drawn by many of the world’s foremost experts on health, environmental and energy matters from the accumulated data of 20 years. They are then free to draw their own conclusions.
For your information, there are also a number of other sources of reliable, objective and non-partisan information on the health effects of the Chernobyl disaster, including a report published by Greenfacts, an independent non-profit-making organisation that advises stakeholders on health and environmental issues. I suggest you consult the report on their website at: www.greenfacts.org/chernobyl.
I hope that you will take the time, if you are not already aware of them, to familiarise yourself with the real facts surrounding the Chernobyl disaster.
Terry Wynn MEP
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