Chernobyl Day April 26 2022
It has been 36 years now since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster began with an explosion that “couldn’t happen,” and a resulting radioactive fire that continued to burn for over one week.
Chernobyl, by the way, is located in Ukraine, where that 1986-devastated nuclear plant continues to cause problems today, while a reeling country is embroiled in defending itself from Russia’s invasion. One re-covering-of-a-leaking sarcophagus later, the cesium and other life-threatening radionuclides lingering in the dangerous zone surrounding the nuclear plant are still present. The cesium has a half life of 30 years. With 10-20 half-lives considered the “hazardous life” of any radionuclide, that would mean we have to worry about cesium for 300-600 years. It can cause cancer, birth defects, mutations, debilitation, as can any and all radionuclides. Strontium tends to collect in bones and bone marrow and can cause leukemia, amongst other maladies. It has a similar half-life to cesium of 30 years. A “half-life” means the length of time half of an amount of a radionuclide remains radioactive.
There are hundreds of radionuclides that result from the fissioning or splitting of uranium to produce heat to boil water to turn a turbine and produce the fleeting entity we know as electricity. But once the electricity disappears, the nuclear waste in the form of these radionuclides continues to pollute the environment where they deposit, for hundreds, or hundreds of thousands of years. Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years! and a mere one millionth of one gram can cause lung cancer. There are 454 grams in one pound.
Theoretically if dispersed in small enough particles to enter the lung, one pound of plutonium-239 could produce 454 MILLION lung cancers. And 20 pounds could produce a lung cancer in every human being on Earth. And what about the innocent animals? And the Earth’s plants?
Meanwhile, with COVID-19, and now the Ukraine genocide going on today thanks to the murderous Vladimir Putin, Russia’s dictator, many of the people alive today may be totally unaware about what’s currently going on at Chernobyl. Many do not know what happened there, how tragic it was and still is, and that includes Russia’s invading troops.
Many young adults today were not alive in 1986. The fading away of events into the dust of history can leave us ignorant of very important factors still ongoing and developing today.
Here is what California artist Mary Lou Dauray writes relative to Russia’s young invading soldiers in Ukraine, and Chernobyl today:
“Clouds of highly contaminated radioactive dust swirl around two nuclear plant disasters thousands of miles apart. The dust, stirred by powerfully destructive nuclear explosions, resulted from the triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants in Japan in 2011 and the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.
Today, we unbelievably witness Russian troops, bowing to Putin’s heartless dictates, digging trenches, handling radioactive rotting machinery, and driving tanks through the highly contaminated “Red Forest” forbidden exclusion zone in Chernobyl. These soldiers had no idea about Chernobyl, the worst nuclear disaster of our lifetime. Tramping through the area without wearing any protective coating against radiation, they were not even dressed in essential winter gear. Recently, the Russian soldiers suddenly left the Chernobyl war zone. Many reports stated they had become ill with radiation sickness caused by inhalation of radioactive nuclides coming from the highly contaminated dirt and dust airborne by tramping soldiers’ feet. Every vital organ and system of their bodies are being affected.”
Fukushima actually produced a greater amount of nuclear waste than did Chernobyl, but we know more about what happened to people in especially the areas downwind of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear explosions and fires than we do about people in the surrounding area about the Fukushima plant in Japan. Political repression affecting medical information especially, has run rampant in both affected populations. Fukushima’s three nuclear plant explosions/devastation occurred 11 years ago, starting with a tidal wave that struck the plant on March 11, 2011.
Many of the people in the area around the Japanese plant were evacuated. Most of those now suffering the after-effects of Chernobyl, and those who died prematurely, were either imported “liquidators” transported into Chernobyl to control the fire, and dig out contaminated material; or were subjected to drifted/deposited radiation/radionuclides many miles downwind from the nuclear plant, and were not evacuated.
Besides invading Ukraine, and apparently not really caring about his own soldiers bungling their efforts around the Chernobyl plant and exclusion zone, we should know how crazy Putin is. He has pushed for the production of floating nuclear plants everywhere and anywhere to create electricity. Who would monitor them? What happens when they leak nuclear waste/radionuclides? or they are operated irresponsibly?
Power-intoxicated fools like Putin, and Americans feeding at the nuclear money trough to prolong the life of geriatric nuclear plants that were supposed to be shut long ago, should make us wonder how smart our human race is. It’s April 26th again, ladies and gentlemen. We don’t need a next Fukushima or Chernobyl to destroy another crucial region of the world we live in. What if a nuclear plant goes BOOM!! again in one of our major cities? Or a major city in another country? When will we learn not to be so trusting of technology? Especially nuclear technology?
It is time to engage ourselves in less dangerous forms of energy creation, including wind, solar, utilization of water movement, etc. Not act as if we had amnesia concerning nuclear power, deploying it arrogantly while making more nuclear waste — which we still do not know how to store safely for the thousands of years it would be necessary to do so.
(C) 2022 Conrad Miller M.D.