“It’s okay, no one died.” – well not quite

If you listen to the chorus of pro-nuclear supporters (including the mainstream media – MSM) you will hear all manner of stories about how nuclear power, even when it fails is safe.  The classic of course in Chernobyl, where you can still read that 31 people died because of the accident.  This is the “official” number reported by the Soviet news agency for the number of people who were killed on the day of the meltdown.  It is especially curious to me that the MSM which believed the soviet news sources on virtually nothing keep using this (or similar small numbers).

The World Health Organization – WHO, did their own study.  They predicted that there would be 4,000 premature deaths do to Chernobyl.  You are shocked by this number?  It is by far the lowest of the real studies.  Using the same “Linear No Threshold” model that WHO used, the Union of Concerned Scientists came up with 27,000 cancer fatalities due to this single meltdown.    But these are still the low balls.

Greenpeace commissioned the analysis of a number of peer reviewed scientific studies and found that on the order of 200,000 premature cancer deaths resulted from the Chernobyl meltdown.  And the most controversial report was published by the NY Academy of Sciences and written by Alexey Yablokov, who is a brilliant environmentalist and scientist who i have had the pleasure of meeting.  It estimates 985,000 premature deaths due the the April 26th, 1986 Ukrainian accident.

Similarly, with Fukushima we often hear “no one died”.  The first sets of reports coming in to counter this are just arriving now, but unless you are feeling tenacious, dont bother searching for them, they are hidden in Japanese press.

Asahi Shimbun graphic on nursing home evacuees premature deaths

Asahi Shimbun graphic on nursing home evacuees premature deaths

These about 200 premature deaths (a 240% increase) are just from the 8 months after the meltdowns, just from 31 nursing homes with 1,770 residents that were within the 20 km evacuation zone.  These are not cancer deaths, the researchers believe  these deaths were a result of the stress of evacuating long distances, as well as substandard care received at temporary evacuation facilities.

Japan is not the Ukraine.  We will get better and increasing information about the deaths from Fukushima.  But when the nuclear lobby or the MSM tells you no one died from Fukushima, be aware that they are already lying to you.

The radiation released around Fukushima from 3 meltdowns exceeds Chernobyl's

It is difficult to compare disasters

Certainly, Fukushima will cost more than Chernobyl.  Victim’s compensation as of Sept of last year was already at 1.2 trillion Yen (about US$13 billion).   There was no victim compensation in the Ukraine or most surrounding counties (Armenians were said to have been offered US$10 in compensation).  In October 2012, the Japanese government pledged at least 1 trillion yen (about US$10 billion) in clean up.  Another trillion yen was used by the Japanese government to nationalize the Japanese utility that owns Fukushima (TEPCO) and clean up costs are low ball estimated at US$100 billion.  Less than $1 billion was raised for Chernobyl clean up – most of this money to go to western construction firms for the hi-tech new sarcophagus.

A year and a half ago, the UK independent ran an article comparing these nuclear disasters.  Part of their findings were:

Economic cost
Fukushima: Japan has estimated it will cost as much as £188bn to rebuild following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. [More current "respected" estimates run between US$250 billion and $500 billion]
Chernobyl There are a number of estimates of the economic impact, but the total cost is thought to be about £144bn.

Safety
Fukushima: workers are allowed to operate in the crippled plant up to a dose of 250mSv (millisieverts).
Chernobyl: People exposed to 350mSv were relocated. In most countries the maximum annual dosage for a worker is 20mSv. The allowed dose for someone living close to a nuclear plant is 1mSv a year.

Death toll
Fukushima: Two workers died inside the plant. Some scientists predict that one million lives will be lost to cancer.
Chernobyl: It is difficult to say how many people died on the day of the disaster because of state security, but Greenpeace estimates that 200,000 have died from radiation-linked cancers in the 25 years since the accident.

Exclusion zone
Fukushima: Tokyo initially ordered a 20km radius exclusion zone around the plant [Truth out reports: Some 4,500 square miles – an area almost the size of Connecticut – was found to have radiation levels that exceeded Japan’s allowable exposure rate of 1 mSV (millisievert) per year.]
Chernobyl: The initial radius of the Chernobyl zone was set at 30km – 25 years later it is still largely in place.

Compensation
Fukushima: Tepco’s share price has collapsed since the disaster largely because of the amount it will need to pay out, about £10,000 a person
Chernobyl: Not a lot. It has been reported that Armenian victims of the disaster were offered about £6 each in 1986