Chernobyl death toll 'could near 100,000'

Posted: 2 May 2006

The full consequences of the Chernobyl disaster could top a quarter of a million cancers cases and nearly 100,000 fatal cancers, according to a new study.

The Greenpeace report involved 52 respected scientists and includes information never before published in English. It challenges the UN International Atomic Energy Agency Chernobyl Forum report, which predicted 4,000 additional deaths attributable to the accident as a gross simplification of the real breadth of human suffering.

The new data, based on Belarus national cancer statistics, predicts approximately 270,000 cancers and 93,000 fatal cancer cases caused by Chernobyl. The report also concludes that on the basis of demographic data, during the last 15 years, 60,000 people have additionally died in Russia because of the Chernobyl accident, and estimates of the total death toll for the Ukraine and Belarus could reach another 140,000.

Continuing impact

The report also looks into the ongoing health impacts of Chernobyl and concludes that radiation from the disaster has had a devastating effect on survivors; damaging immune and endocrine systems, leading to accelerated ageing, cardiovascular and blood illnesses, psychological illnesses, chromosomal aberrations and an increase in foetal deformations.

Greenpece is also staging a new photography exhibit opening in 30 cities worldwide. The exhibition features portraits of individuals and families, and the stories of their suffering due to Chernobyl and other nuclear disasters.

In a statement on the anniversary of Chernobyl on 18th April, Executive Director Gerd Leipold said:

These powerful images are a timely reminder that human lives are more than just numbers. For each statistic there is a person paying the ultimate price. Anyone who doubts the dangers of nuclear power should visit the exhibition and see for themselves one of the reasons why we oppose nuclear power. Twenty years on, every nuclear power plant bears the legacy of the nuclear industry's victims; and every nuclear power plant represents the threat of becoming the next Chernobyl.

  • The creation of suitable facilities for securing the long-term safety of Britain's highly dangerous nuclear waste "may take several decades" and robust interim storage must be found, the Government's advisors on nuclear waste have warned on April 27. The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) also said that it envisaged that in the long term, radioactive waste will be disposed of deep underground.
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A selection of pictures from the Chernobyl exhibiton may be seen on Greenpeace websites worldwide, or at Greenpeqce International