Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Chernobyl - not so bad after all

It seems that the effects of the Chernobyl disaster have not been as bad as had been feared. This morning's NY Times reports that a new study indicates that
contrary to previous forecasts, there had been no observed rise in the incidence of leukemia, a blood cancer widely associated with radiation exposure - except for a small increase among workers who were in the contaminated plant. Nor has there been the expected detectable decrease in fertility or increase in birth defects.
This has serious implications for people like Adi Roche. The report recommends cutting back on all the benefits that have flooded into the region because these have become "a major barrier to the region's recovery".
[S]even million people in what are now Russia, Ukraine and Belarus still receive some kind of Chernobyl benefits, from monthly stipends to university entrance preference to therapeutic annual vacations.
Surely it makes little sense to continue with the Chernobyl Children's Project in the face of this request to wind it up. Yet, I can imagine that this will be very difficult to accept if you've spent the past 15 years working on these projects.