Chernobyl, 30 years later

Lost health and homes: the legacies of Chernobyl and Fukushima

Press release | 9 March, 2016 

Moscow, Kiev, 9 March 2016 - Survivors of Chernobyl are still eating food with radioactive contamination above permissible limits thirty years after the nuclear catastrophe forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

Chernobyl status report reveals a catalogue of failures and ongoing nuclear risks

Press release | 14 April, 2016 at 14:19

Hamburg, 14 April 2016 – Thirty years after the world’s worst nuclear disaster efforts to manage the damaged Chernobyl reactor are still in preliminary stages, leaving local people, visitors and wildlife at risk. These are the findings of a new...

Women, Chernobyl and nuclear energy

April 2006: 20 years later, the accident that won't end

A catastrophic accident and release of radiation took place at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine (then part of the USSR) on April 26th, 1986. Twenty years later it is important to learn its real effects, especially at a time when the nuclear industry is attempting a come-back. But nuclear radiation and wastes are no alternative to oil and coal, and cannot solve the climate change problem.

Here is the start of our on-going Chernobyl report, and a few links:
* A new Greenpeace report has revealed that the full consequences of the Chernobyl disaster could top a quarter of a million cancer cases and nearly 100,000 fatal cancers. See:
* About the accident and more:
* Photographs and many links at this Guardian newspaper website:,,181325,00.html "Twenty years on and the casualty figures from the nuclear disaster still don't add up," says Linda Walker, who has seen the severe health effects from the accident first-hand. Read her report here:,,1743641,00.html

"The Nuclear Power Time Bomb – 20 years after Chernobyl" was the title of the annual conference of the IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War), held April 7-9, 2006, in Bonn, Germany. Its program featured a number of important contributions by women experts and activists. Here we present a few, in a new section on Chernobyl and nuclear energy that will grow -- as the idea of a 'nuclear resurgence' is spread by the nuclear industry, and citizen opposition mounts -- once again -- to the idea of having atomic power playing any role in our 21st century energy future.

Voices from the Region:

Lydia Popova has coordinated the SEU (Socio-Ecological Union), which represents 250 environmental and anti-nuclear groups, since 1990. In 1992 she founded the SEU's Centre for Nuclear Ecology and Energy Policy. In scientific and popular publications ("Plutonium in Russia") the scientist emphasizes the dangers of a plutonium economy and shows the connections between the so-called 'peaceful' and military uses of atomic energy.

Conference presentations:
Nuclear Energy Time Bomb - The future of Nuclear Power in Russia (pdf, 7 pp.)
Radioactive contamination caused by Nuclear Fuel Cycle Operation in Russia (pdf, 7 pp.)


Rose Goncharova is a biologist and since 1992 Director of the Laboratory of the Genetics and Cytology Institute of the Academy of Science in Minsk, Republic of Belarus. Since 1986 she has researched the genetic effects of the Chernobyl catastrophe on mammals, fish and human beings. She has published more than 100 papers and attended many international conferences.

Powerpoint Presentation: Remote Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident: Assessment after 20 Years (pdf, 16 pp.)

Caecilie Buhmann and Alex Rosen
These two medical students active in the International Student Movement of IPPNW gave an excellent presentation on the dangers and costs of nuclear power and weapons, poverty and social injustice, comparing "the world as it is" to "the world as it could be."

Read their text here: "Chernobyl Speech" (pdf, 2 pp.)

..."And take the Environment: People often times think that nuclear energy is the “clean alternative” to fossil fuels, but that’s not true… only because it doesn’t produce CO2, doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. In fact, radiation is pretty much the most unhealthy thing you can imagine and it’s still not clear how safe nuclear plants really are or how nuclear waste is best stored away. Scientists have shown increased rates of leukaemia in the children of nuclear power plant workers. Every month, accidents happen in power plants in Germany and other places as well. In fact, experts say that it’s only a matter of time before we have another accident like Chernobyl – or worse. In the end, there is no 100% safety anywhere and the risks attached to nuclear power with its long half life and its effects for generations to come are so much graver than with any other form of energy...

… In the world as it could be, all countries would ratify and support the
international environment treaties and a change of the current consumer culture would lead to a sustainable energysavingattitude on a global scale..." 

Janine Allis-Smith, Health Campaigner
"Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE)"

When her 12 year old son got leukemia in 1984, Janine Allis-Smith worked with CORE in their research on the occurence of diseases caused by radiation in the area around the nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in Sellafield, Cumbria UK. In 1990 she became a full-time activist.

Her contributions at the conference:
Abstract: Living in the Shadow of Sellafield (pdf, 2 pp.)
PowerPoint Presentation: Living in the Shadow of Sellafield (pdf, 17 pp.)

Excerpt from: Living in the Shadow of Sellafield

..."There is no doubt that Sellafield has contributed in a major way to jobs in the area, but a heavy price continues to be paid for them. As a result of its operations the Irish Sea has become the most radioactively contaminated sea in the world and its discharges have travelled around the globe. Seashore radiation levels around the plant are higher than would be allowed inside Sellafield, at levels which would be illegal in customer countries. Selected soil samples are higher than some of those in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

In Cumbria, radiation from Sellafield can be measured in house dust, our bodies, our children's teeth, local seafood, seaweed, vegetables and drinking water. It has also been detected in our wildlife, seagulls and feral pigeons.

In 1983 a TV company discovered a childhood leukaemia rate of 10 times the national average in the village of Seascale near Sellafield as well as a 2-6 times higher rate of childhood cancers along the Irish Sea coastal strip. The 1990 Gardner report linked a Sellafield fathers' preconceptional radiation dose (PPI) to an 8 times higher risk of their child developing leukaemia. A 1993 Government Health and Safety study found that the incidence of leukaemia and NHL in Seascale (village nearest to Sellafield) was 14 times the national average, particularly for children born to fathers who started work at the plant before 1965.

BNG has always denied that radiation from the plant is responsible and continues to promote the theory that 'Population Mixing' (construction workers brought to the area) together with an as yet unidentified virus are to blame, even though there were no childhood cancers before Sellafield started operations..."


Women Active Against Nuclear Energy: the German book, published in April 2006, with free selection in English

"20 Years Chernobyl: Women Active Against Nuclear Energy -- from rage to visions"

As described by editor Ulrike Röhr, of the organization genanet - focal point gender, environment, sustainability: "The full book in German includes the stories of some 30 authors, who narrate how their experiences 20 years ago changed their lives; how not only the nuclear catastrophe, but also the
involvement in a political movement, impacted on their plans, their political activities, their career decisions..."
A sample of the articles have been published in English, in a pdf document of 44 pages, available without cost for downloading at this address:

Excerpt from the introduction:

"It was primarily women who had been active in the anti-nuclear movement prior to Chernobyl who were organising the protests. They came from or were heavily involved in the peace movement. It was particularly mothers who organised themselves in a multitude of groups of ‘mothers against nuclear power’ to jointly enforce their demands. One of our authors told us that long periods of her family life took place while demonstrating against nuclear power plants or reprocessing plants...
Chernobyl significantly shaped the lives of a whole generation of women.

Still today, it is women the world over, who argue more strongly against nuclear energy use than men.
One of the reasons is that high risk technologies will never be completely controllable. Chernobyl taught us that technical deficiencies, human failure, and at present also terrorist attacks, may lead to a
catastrophe of unforeseeable dimensions. But did we learn from the catastrophe? That’s one of the
questions we try to explore in this brochure..."


More on nuclear power: 

28 March 2006: Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident -- 27th anniversary of the TMI Unit-2 meltdown
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Information about the plant, the history of its operation and opposition to it is at the site of Three Mile Island Alert

Witness to the accident, Marie Holowka, Farmer, Zion’s View, PA, reported on her experience:

“I went to the barn around four, four-thirty (in the morning). We were milking cows. And the barn started to shake. And I heard a rumble like underground. Well, I wouldn’t say an earthquake. But it was going like ‘brrup, brrup, brrup.’ And then it shook and shook and we didn’t hear the big rumbles. But every now and then you could hear a rumbling in the ground. And Paul, my brother, was with me and he says, ‘That’s an earthquake.’ I said, ‘Paul, it don’t sound like an earthquake. Earthquake, it just rattles. But you don’t hear the noise, the brrup, brrup.’ It just (was) like there was boiling water coming underground. And I said, ‘I think something happened at Three Mile Island.’ Then we kept milking..."


Nuclear Energy: The Basics
An excellent on-line fact sheet with many links and resources for further information, from Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the world's oldest women's peace organization.

World Information Service on Energy
WISE has been part of the international safe energy movement for 25 years, doing research, networking, producing a regular newsletter and a variety of publications. Check their site for information on nuclear power and alternatives world-wide.

Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Affiliated with WISE, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service was 25 years old in 2003: "We were founded to be the national information and networking center for citizens and environmental activists concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation and sustainable energy issues. We still fulfill that core function, but have moved on both programatically and geographically. For example, we initiate large-scale organizing and public education campaigns on specific issues. Our Eastern Europe/Commonwealth of Independent States Project is a massive effort to bring our technical expertise and strategic sense to grassroots environmental groups facing the most dangerous nuclear programs of all. Our affiliation with WISE-Amsterdam in 2000 means that we now have offices and programs across the globe."

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space list of Internet sites with information about nuclear and safe energy issues.