Nuclear power lobbyists as well as green NGOs and renewable energy champions are using the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe to strengthen their case for or against a “nuclear renaissance”.
In the context of the renewed debate on the future of nuclear energy in Europe, the commemorations around the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, have also rekindled the discussion on the health and safety aspects of nuclear.
In the autumn of 2005, the UN’s Chernobyl Forum, under the leadership of the International Atomic Energy Agency, published a study saying that the effects were less dramatic than originally feared and that “only” about 9.000 people would ultimately die from cancer related to the accident. For a summarised version of this report, see Greenfacts‘s “Scientific facts on the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident”.
But other studies undertaken by opponents of nuclear energy contest the figures of the Chernobyl Forum and accused the UN agencies of downplaying the effects of the catastrophe.
A study commissioned by the Greens in the European Parliament estimates that between 30.000 and 60.000 people will suffer premature deaths because of Chernobyl. Another publication presented last week by Greenpeace with input from over 50 scientists from all over the world concludes that more than 100.000 cancer deaths will be likely in the long term as a result of the disaster.