Saturday, September 22, 2007


I LOVE TO TRAVEL, BUT I HATE TO FLY SINCE all of the new rules at the airport. I hear "it makes us safer" from friends, when I complain about having to take off my shoes, no water, the opening of my bags at smaller airports and going through my stuff, etc. But I don't believe it makes me safer. I'd fly more if I didn't have all of these fear-based rules. I figure the planes were used once and next time, it will be something else. All of my personal flight annoying experiences aside, I think these requirements have no bearing on my safety from the likes of bin Laden. He wins. He has us all loopy with the air travel mess while he lives in a cave, I hear.

I have to fly this week to D.C. for a Darfur StandNow.org conference. Not looking forward to the airport chapter of my travels.

Now to the subject that got me thinking about safety, bin Laden wannabes and fear-producing comments by our famous President – nuclear power plants and what happened April 26, 1986. This should have our attention more than airport shoe removal.

We can call it “power” but it does the opposite of empowering us. Thank you HBO for opening my eyes. I never could understand the fascination with the “reality shows” like “Survivor”. I wonder if the people who live in the radiation of Chernobyl would be entertained watching make believe and contrived “life experiences” of such “shows”. If reality and courage are of interest to you, read on.

ANYONE who (and that includes the US government’s administrative and legislative branches) considers nuclear power as a source of energy for our energy needs today and in the future - needs to see the show that I saw today on HBO. You would get a visual dose of what the people have been living with and dying with as a result of Chernobyl – the nuclear plant breakdown. A child with a basketball size external tumor on his buttocks, another child with the tumor grown off his head, the same size. Babies abandoned by their parents with deformities as a result of the radiation of this nuclear power plant. “The event” happened April 26, 1986. The show documented Belarus, Minsk, Gomel and other areas affected by the breakdown and radiation that turned human beings into “guinea pigs”. All it would take is for someone like Osama bin Laden to make this happen at one of our nuclear plants if not an accident. Since April 26, 1986, congenital deaths increased 250%. One hundred and fifty miles from Chernobyl is radiation contaminated. It is the world’s most contaminated place.

Chernobyl Heart – The HBO show
On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear accident in history occurred when a reactor exploded at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Sixteen years later, award-winning filmmaker Maryann De Leo took her camera to follow the devastating trail this radiation left behind in hospitals, orphanages, mental asylums and evacuated villages. Winner of the Academy Award ® for Best Documentary Short.

The Synopsis of Chernobyl Heart

Interview with Maryann De Leo

Notes I took while watching Chernobyl Heart
In Gomel, which is 50 miles from Chernobyl, 15% to 30% of the babies are born “normal”. That is a staggering statistic. And we don’t know really how many of the normal babies carry genetic affects to pass on to their babies. Radiation affects the immune systems not only of the living but those in the womb.

Vesnova Mental Asylum was visited. Some residing there are not mentally ill, just abandoned by parents and a country’s unwillingness to afford them operations that could alleviate their health problems. In Gomel, Abandoned Babies Home introduced us to a four year old that is the size of a four month old.

Tumors not only grow on the outside of the bodies, but are in the digestive tract, heart, liver, kidney, lungs and thyroid. Fluid on the brain is another result. Infant mortality rate in Belarus is 300% higher that the rest of Europe. In a Minsk hospital, we learn that 7,000 people will die because there is no money for the needed heart surgeries. Three hundred dollars is the cost of a heart operation that puts a patch on the inside of the heart to fill up the holes. But $300 is an unsurmountable amount for the poor families of the region. Less than 300 heart operations will be performed a year and without this operation the survivors will die in 2 to 5 years.

7 MILLION people continue to live in contaminated regions of Belarus, Russia and northern Ukraine. 99% of Belarus is contaminated with radiation levels that are EXTREMEly high.

The Chernobyl radiation traveled as far as Sweden, Wales, and Alaska, according to the HBO show.

More maps of Chernobyl and its surroundings at this link (see lower left of the page of the above link):
* map-1.gif: Map of Northern Hemisphere showing where the radioactive cloud travelled by May 6, 1986
* map-2.gif: Map of the entire Ukraine
* map-3.gif: Map showing the major defense industry facilities in the Ukraine

This link is where the information below is from:

"We are now seeing genetic changes, especially among those who were less than six years of age when the accident happened. These people are now starting to have families, so we are witnessing the effects of the disaster move to the next generation.’ The silent killer, radiation, is threatening the gene pool and the future of the people”.
(Dr. Vladislav Ostapenko head of Belarus’ Radiation Medicine Institute)

Belarussian doctors identify the following effects from the Chernobyl disaster on the health of their people:

* 100% increase in the incidence of cancer and leukemia
* 250% increase in congenital birth deformities
* 1,000% increase in suicide in the contaminated zones
* 2,400% increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer
* “Chernobyl AIDS” is the term doctors are using to describe illnesses associated with the damage done to the immune system by the effects of the radioactive material “strontium”. It is also a contributory factor to the increase in the number of cancer cases as a result of damage to the body’s immune system.

The extraordinary increase in the number of ... illnesses can be associated with the exposure of the population to the aggressive radioactive particles released by the Chernobyl explosion. The biggest health threat is caused by the incorporation in the human body of caesium, which modifies the heart and kidneys and enhances the chance of innate diseases by influencing the hormonal relationship in the mother-foetus-placenta system. A change in the hormonal status of the mother-foetus system leads to increase of pregnancy length, complications with birth & after birth development of the child.

Countless lives in the Chernobyl affected areas have been destroyed by ill health. What we are witnessing is the slow erosion of a nation’s health. Scientific research shows that the people are faced with soaring levels of infertility and genetic changes, affecting the very future of their race.

Regional Children's Hospital
Their mortality rates already outstrip their birth rates. According to the UN, seven million people are affected, half of whom are children. In Belarus alone, 90 per cent of children are deemed to be victims of Chernobyl. A general increase in morbidity from non-oncology conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory conditions now emerging, are adding to the general decline in health of the people living in the affected countries. It is difficult to get a true assessment of the impact of the tragedy on the health in the three affected countries; data from experts and health professionals from the region are not always believed by their counterparts in the West. This is partly because many regions in Chernobyl find it difficult to attract doctors to work in contaminated areas because of their knowledge of the possible dangers, isolation and lack of proper facilities.

Many patients in remote parts of the zones are unable to receive medical treatment because they are too poor to travel to the nearest hospital, which is often up to 100 kilometres away. The problem is compounded by a secret decree which was passed in 1988 in Moscow, banning doctors from naming radiation as the cause of illness or death. Bearing in mind this culture of control over information, Chernobyl Children’s Project - Ireland, CCPI, salute the courage of those medical and scientific personnel who have risked revealing the truth. It has not been in the interests of some that the true health toll be known. In Belarus the computer files holding the health data on all accident victims simply disappeared.

Because of severe damage to the immune system, there is deep concern for the body’s inability to fight cancer cells.

The Accident at Chernobyl
The accident occurred as a result of the Soviet authorities’ insistence that on 25 April 1986 an experiment was to be carried out at the Chernobyl Power Plant. This experiment went radically wrong at 1.23 a.m. local time on 26 April when a number of fatal mistakes and procedural violations, including the withdrawal of control rods, led to a sudden power surge.

Within minutes, the reactor became highly unstable and the control rods were no longer able to balance and control the power surge. Although the station foreman gave the order to go into shutdown, his order came too late. Within four seconds, the power levels ran to 100 times its maximum rating for his kind of reactor, which led to a steam explosion blowing the roof off reactor number 4, which weighed 1,000 tons, as if it was the lid of a saucepan.

Three seconds later, with ruptured cooling system pipes and the control rods blown out, there was another explosion, during which the core of the reactor largely disintegrated. While the operators frantically pumped water into the remains of the shattered shell, it was to little avail because the reactor was now exposed to the air.
One more paragraph at

Social Impact - The Misplaced and Displaced Ones

Economic Impact

Envionmental Impact – Death of the Land

Chernobyl Sarcophagus – The end or just the beginning?

“The next Chernobyl will be Chernobyl itself”
(Russian Scientist Professor Chernosenko)

What You Can Do

What “Chernobyl Children’s Project – Ireland” does
"If our tears do not lead us to act then we have lost the reason of our humanity, which is compassion."
(Dalai Lama)

When reading about Mountain Removal in the Appalachian Mountains for coal, I read that we believe in the USA, including some of our Presidential candidates, that we must use nuclear power plants to fulfill our need for electricity in the USA.

What do you think of that?

Sometimes the price of convenience is too high.

Our community is in an extremely windy location and is studying the use of wind power. At least Osama bin Laden would have little reason to blow up a wind mill. A private school in my town, erected one windmill on its campus a couple of years ago that provides the entire school’s energy needs for them. They figured the cost of the one windmill over time would pay for itself…I think it was in ten years. Anyway, you get my point. I hope. Keep hope alive by spreading this story to your family and friends. The silence of good people is a bad thing. Let's be a humane human race.

If not you, if not me . . . then who will speak up?

Storm Over Massachusetts Windmill Plan
Plan For Nantucket Sound Wind Farm Raises Debate

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At September 23, 2007 at 6:16:00 PM EDT , Anonymous raqqash said...

Unfortunately there's plenty of such horrible stuff in our lives. And as you rightly say, we have to speak up.


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