[back] Radiation

Children of Chernobyl – The Human Cost of the World’s Worst Nuclear Disaster

a book by Adi Roche ISBN 0-00-627927-9


The Soviet Union's long-standing obsessive secrecy about nuclear affairs is despicable and shows an appalling lack of respect for the dangers bound up in the atom. The cold, stark reality of the decisions taken and enshrined in the Protocols has had very wide and devastating significance. In Protocol Number 9, for example, the authorities gave themselves permission to increase and change the acceptable levels of radioactivity which people could be exposed to.  It was often multiplied from 10 to 50 times. The decision to continually alter the 'acceptable' levels was revealed in Russia's Constitutional Court when former second in command of the Politburo, Ligachev, told the Court that the artificial altering of the limits was for purely economic reasons. If the number of people who had to be evacuated could be kept down, roubles would be saved.  As one cynical official said quietly to me, `It is cheaper to bury them than to evacuate them. You know, if we evacuate, we must compensate and resettle them.  Too many prob­lems.  It is better that they are left there.'
    The suspiciousness and wariness I have found in the people affected by Chernobyl becomes fully understandable when you see how they have been so blatantly lied to and misled. In the aftermath of the accident, many herds of cattle had to be milked and then slaughtered but, instead of destroying the radioactive meat and milk, the authorities made yet another infamous Protocol. Protocol Number 32 reveals that 47,500 tons of radioactive meat was `mixed' with clean meat and sold to the inno­cent, unsuspecting population of the USSR, along with 2 million gallons of radioactive milk. This appalling decision was taken to `save' 1.7 million roubles. The meat and milk was consumed throughout the entire USSR, thus spreading the danger of radiation to far distant people and places….