I would have to see some serious evidence for Greenpeace's statement, as
quoted here anyway, that 93,000 fatal cancers were caused by Chernobyl.
WHO's estimates are nowhere near that high:

I am not trying to downplay the seriousness of the concerns, but the
anti-nuke position has to be based on solid facts as Eric also pointed out
the other day.


On 7/18/07, Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Wednesday, July 18, 2007   17:13 GMT
> *Nuclear Power No Panacea, Critics Say*
> Haider Rizvi
> UNITED NATIONS, Jul 17 (IPS) - The nuclear mishap caused by Monday's
> earthquake in Japan has unleashed another wave of environmental concerns
> about the use of nuclear technology to meet the world's energy needs.
> "Nuclear power is hardly the safe panacea its supporters claim it to be,"
> said Norman Dean of Friends of the Earth (FoE), a network of hundreds of
> environmental groups around the world.
> Raising similar concerns, the environmental group Greenpeace
> International's Jan Beranek described the Kashiwazaki nuclear site incident
> as another "reminder" that nuclear power "is not safe".
> Both Dean and Beranek warned of "far more serious nuclear accidents" and
> "real risks" posed by earthquakes and industrial disasters, as well as
> possible terrorist attacks in the future.
> Monday's earthquake killed nine and wounded more than 1,000 people, in
> addition to causing a radioactive leak and fire at the world's largest
> nuclear-power producing plant.
> Japan's energy officials have acknowledged that the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa
> nuclear plant leaked hundreds of gallons of water that was contaminated with
> radioactive waste.
> However, they described the amount of radioactive waste mixed with water
> as "tiny," and said there had been "no significant change" in the sea water
> and that there was no effect on the environment.
> Greenpeace accused Japanese officials of "lying" in their initial
> assessment of the impact of the fire -- in which they said there was no
> danger of radioactive leakage -- adding that the Japanese and global nuclear
> industries have been marred by a series of accidents and cover-ups.
> According to environmentalists, there are many similarities between what
> happened in Japan and an incident at Germany's Krummel power plant last
> month, in which a fire broke out in the transformers building and damaged
> the reactor.
> "In Germany, the industry first claimed that the fire had no impact on
> reactor safety," said Beranek, "[but] in realty the fire led to serious
> malfunctions that directly threatened the safety of the reactor."
> Various agencies measured Monday's earthquake between 6.7 and 6.8 on the
> Richter scale.
> The quake hit on Marine Day, an official holiday in Japan, when most
> people were inside their homes. The Japanese media reported that a series of
> smaller aftershocks are still going on.
> On Monday, authorities said they had evacuated some 2,000 people whose
> homes had been completely destroyed by the quake.
> Critics point out that this was not the first time the Japanese nuclear
> industry has tried to cover up a nuclear accident.
> According to Beranek, for example, the Hokuriku utility did not inform the
> public or nuclear inspectors about a serious incident that took place at the
> Shika nuclear power plant, where a mechanical failure in 1999 led to an
> uncontrolled chain reaction.
> In April 2006, there was a radioactive spill of 40 litres of liquid
> containing plutonium in the brand new reprocessing plant in Rokkasho-Mura,
> the group said, adding that in August 2004, a pipe was ruptured in the
> Mihama plant, which resulted in the death of five workers.
> More famously, nuclear meltdowns occurred at Three Mile Island in the U.S.
> state of Pennsylvania in 1979 and in 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power
> Plant in the former Soviet Union. A recent Greenpeace report estimated that
> 270,000 cancers and 93,000 fatal cancers were caused by that disaster.
> Greenpeace and many other environmental groups have repeatedly called for
> the United Nations, United States and other powerful nations to stop
> promoting nuclear technology as an alternative to fossil fuels.
> In April 2006, some leading European politicians raised serious questions
> about the U.N.'s role in encouraging countries to acquire nuclear energy
> for non-military purposes.
> Former environment ministers from European countries, including Russia,
> sent a letter to the former U.N. chief Kofi Annan urging him to reform the
> mandate of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
> "Nuclear power is no longer necessary," they said in the letter. "We have
> now numerous renewable technologies available to guarantee the right to
> safe, clean, and cheap energy."
> Greenpeace's Beranek echoed the same message Monday. "Nuclear power
> undermines real solutions to climate change, by diverting resources away
> from the massive development of clean energy sources the world urgently
> needs," he said.
> "What's more," he added, "climate change will increase natural disasters,
> in turn posing a greater risk to nuclear power plants, and to our safety."
> But this line of reasoning has failed to win over many of the world's most
> powerful nations. In July last year, when leaders of the world's most
> industrialised countries, known as the Group of Eight, gathered in St.
> Petersburg, Russia, they signed a joint statement saying that nuclear energy
> is one way to address climate change.
> Many environmentalists see nuclear reactors as dangerous because in
> addition to natural disasters they are also vulnerable to unintentional
> human error.
>  "Energy conservation and wind and solar power are cleaner and safer than
> nuclear power," said Dean. "They are a better way to fight global warming."


Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
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