09 May 2006

Chernobyl fallout continues

I have a slightly amusing anecdote about the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station 20 years ago. At the time, New Scientist was working on an article about nuclear power in the Soviet Union. As a result we had most of the pictures available in the UK of "Russian" reactors. When the meltdown started, we decided that we would conveniently "lose" the pictures so that no one could beat us into print with them.

Twenty years on the issue now is of the effect that the accident had on the health of the people in that part of Europe. As you would expect the media piles on the dangers. For a contrary view read this piece by Zbigniew Jaworowski, a Polish expert who just happened to have his Geiger counter handy when the balloon went up. He demolishes the view that people are dropping like flies from thyroid cancer, among the various scares we have seen in recent weeks.

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