Miles O’Brien: Big spike in birth defects after Chernobyl — Doctors convinced of direct link between radiation and whole assortment of deformities (VIDEO)

Published: March 17th, 2012 at 8:23 am ET
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Title: Fukushima After the Meltdown
Source: PBS
Author: Miles O’Brien
Date: March 15, 2012

Revisiting Chernobyl: A Nuclear Disaster Site of Epic Proportions

The nuclear crisis in Japan has renewed interest in the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl in Ukraine. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien traveled to the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, shortly before its 25th anniversary.

MILES O’BRIEN: [...] After the explosion, there was a big spike in birth defects and thyroid cancer, extremely rare among children. And researchers say there is also a significant drop in the intellect in the region.

At the dilapidated regional hospital closest to Chernobyl, the medical staff is convinced there is a direct link between chronic exposure to radiation and a whole assortment of diseases and deformities.

I asked Dr. Constantine Cheres if he is convinced people are more sick here because of the Chernobyl accident. “Of course,” he told me. “Of course they are more sick.”

But the Chernobyl Forum, a group of U.N. agencies focused on the accident, estimates only 4,000 people died as a result of the explosion and its aftermath. One of the four members, the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, issued a report contending: “There is no clearly demonstrated increase in the incidence of cancers or leukemia due to radiation in the exposed populations. Neither is there any proof of any non-malignant disorders that are related to ionizing radiation. However, there were widespread psychological reactions to the accident, which were due to fear of the radiation, not the actual radiation doses.”

But Ukrainian scientist Maryna Naboka begs to differ. She told me people here get sick more often and they become more seriously sick. They receive little doses of radiation, but they do it on a day-to-day basis, and the second generation continues getting the radiation.

Watch Revisiting Chernobyl: A Nuclear Disaster Site of Epic Proportions on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Published: March 17th, 2012 at 8:23 am ET
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51 comments to Miles O’Brien: Big spike in birth defects after Chernobyl — Doctors convinced of direct link between radiation and whole assortment of deformities (VIDEO)

  • dodge

    This is good news — bad news. Life goes on, people live with radiation and it is not the quick end to all life as we know it. It is good news that the "scientific community" is able to debate the situation and to assign the blame on fear, worry, or other physiological causes. The bad news is that there is clear evidence that for whatever reason, there is a change in the health, the number and seriousness of illness, and an observable change in the intellect of the people affected. It is also continuing into this generation some 25 years after the event. The warning for Japan is that Russia basically entombed and stopped additional radiation pollution, while Japan is an ongoing situation getting worse each day. The Food supply in Japan more contaminated and we have nothing to even compare the Pacific Ocean contamination with as a reference. It becomes important that those of us who slept through Chernobyl to not drift off and sleep away our opportunity to stop the growing nuclear crisis world wide.


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  • lam335 lam335

    re: deformities in Chernobyl region

    Robert Gale claims that, while there were about "6,000 excess cases of thyroid cancer" among young people, "Other concerns, such as genetic abnormalities and birth defects, have fortunately not materialized."
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,755267,00.html

    No?

    Tell that to the children in this photo essay (if they are still alive) and their parents:

    http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/essay/chernobyl


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Note… the well placed wording..
    It starts with a denial statement…coupled by a weak rebuttal.
    Doctors are convinced that there are multiple damaging affects..to the populace.
    "Convinced"..as if they are guessing..without clear data.
    Is there really any speculation about this?
    If so ..tell it to the children from Chernobyl.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/gallery/2011/04/the_legacy_of_chernobyl.html
    Tell it to the Children in Fallujah…
    http://educate-yourself.org/du/falloutoniraqbabies12jun08.shtml

    These are are long documented affects of radiation…simple as that.


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  • Whoopie Whoopie

    QuakeFactor M 4.7, near the east coast of Honshu, Japan: Saturday, March 17, 2012 13:47:38 U… http://t.co/X4mvFh0E


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      • arclight arclight

        you cant sign it unless you come from one of the prefectures listed..

        however have posted the link on tokyo brown tabbys most recent video on the comments.. might help a bit

        heres the video!

        Government Pushes Hard for Wide-Area Disposal of (Radioactively Contaminated) Disaster Debris

        "This short film is uploaded on the page in the Ministry of Environment's official website dedicated to the wide-area disposal of disaster debris. It was filmed at the temporary storage site in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, on January 28, 2012. The man is Goshi Hosono, Minister of Environment and Minister of State for the Nuclear Power Policy and Administration.

        The government's campaign for the wide-area disposal of (radioactively contaminated) disaster debris from the affected prefectures (Iwate & Miyagi) seems to have reached its peak now.

        -A quote from EX-SKF blogpost on March 12(http://ex-skf.blogspot.jp/2012/03/more-municipalities-say-yes-to-disaster.htm­l):

        "The push for disaster debris that has been contaminated with radioactive fallout from Fukushima I Nuke Plant has reached an almost hysterical level with TV commercials, huge ads in the paper, and newspaper editorials calling anyone who doesn't want the debris burned in their neighborhood as "unpatriotic". Even a foreigner living in Japan, former Washington Post reporter, chimes in, rebuking the Japanese for refusing to "help" people in the disaster affected area…."

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMalVQRkzYs


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        • arclight arclight

          Government Pushes Hard for Wide-Area Disposal of (Radioactively Contaminated) Disaster Debris

          they didnt do that after chernobyl.. seems like the worst of the contamination is "staying put" more or less…. maybe these pr plonkers might consider that while they plan a "spreading " straegy? huh?


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          • arclight arclight

            nice find bobby.. wonder what helen caldisott has to say about that then?? might make an interesting video..

            what do you make of greg pallast on alex jones.. the second interview had less fukushima material than the 1st??

            and hardly a peep out of him on this matter all year?? and nuclear is one of his areas of interest?? most confusing.. no mention of the children of fukushima campaign in the un? except for the recent statement from aileen mikio smith we would not know anything about this!

            whats he investigating?? wheres he going with this brief charge against nuclear safety and the flooding or not of the generator rooms? any thoughts?


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          • James2

            That is the dumbest thing I've ever seen proposed.

            Doesn't anyone recognize that the strategy here is to disburse the radiation as far and wide as it can possibly be disbursed? As silly as that sounds, if you are looking at it from the point of view of the people in Japan living right this moment, it's the only answer.

            They have to push the stuff off on others or they will die – that's all they are thinking about. They push it into the ocean. They push it to other parts of Japan. They push it into the air. Apparently as soon as it leaves their premises, legally it's no longer their problem.

            Every other country in the world – all the citizens of the world are being duped.

            I simply cannot believe the Canadian and US and all the European governments are so stupid they are falling for it.

            THE ONLY ANSWER TO THIS SITUATION IS TO TRY AND CONTAIN THE RADIATION AND THEY ARE DOING THE OPPOSITE!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!


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            • Bobby1

              They are trying to kill as many people as possible. A rational strategy would be to contain the debris, filter it, bury it somewhere.

              Chris Busby suggested that any lawsuit to be filed for compensation would need a statistical analysis of the deaths and illnesses in contaminated areas. The plaintiffs would need a control group of nonirradiated people to compare it to. So they are trying to get rid of the control group.

              To me it seems like premeditated genocide. This affects the whole planet. It is an act of war… any kind of legitimate US government would declare war on Japan over this.


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            • Buffalojam

              James2 – You started your debris dispersal comment at 11:23 by saying it was the dumbest thing you had ever seen proposed but followed, IMO, with a reasonable argument to follow the strategy. If the reality of the situation in Japan is as bad, or even worse, than we think it is, wouldn't it not only be the most humane policy but, also, the most prudent for other countries to accept some of the irradiated debris. Please keep in mind that we can not afford another Fukushima, an event more likely to occur if Japan was abandoned. Wouldn't you agree that a worldwide dispersal plan is at least debatable since radiation containment no longer seems viable.


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              • VanneV anne

                Why should I die because of the hubris of TEPCO or Westinghouse or GE? Dispersal guarantees the death of the planet and all life on it. How is this reasonable? What does this have to do with responsibility and bearing the consequences of your own mistakes?


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                • Bobby1

                  If the Japanese insist on committing national suicide, it would make more sense to grind the debris into powder, and distribute it in capsules. Then they could do their patriotic duty and swallow the poison, instead of dispersing it across the whole planet. They have no right to afflict other nations with this insane policy.


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              • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

                Neither is a variable solution…there is not containment plan that is technically possible…
                The situation is ongoing…spreading it out purposeless.


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                • Anthony Anthony

                  Agreed Heart Anne Bobby1 James2…….

                  If the shoes were in reverse I (Canadian) would not ask or expect a non Canadian country to take on my poisonous debris.

                  Accountability is accountability.

                  After refusing international help, or giving honest international information and warnings I find it rather disturbing to be asked to take on some toxins and die for it.


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              • Buffalojam

                I could not argue with even the slightest degree of certainty that any kind of dispersal strategy would brighten Japan's prospects. But maybe others could. I am arguing that, for the sake of all humanity, that if a dispersal strategy could make Japan, with all it's other reactors and all of the earthquakes it continually faces, a safer place for the population which has to take care of them, than maybe a dispersal strategy should be looked at. Taking responsibility and bearing the consequences of your own mistakes can be dealt with later.


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                • PoorDaddy PoorDaddy

                  Mornin Buff……
                  They are already using a dispersal strategy….into the Pacific, into Tokyo Bay landfill, into the air. Seems like its what they do best.


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                • James2

                  This is an interesting point that I had not thought of previously.

                  Will Japan hold the "nuclear meltdown domino" option against all the other people of the world and make demands?

                  It's certainly possible..


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                • Buffalojam

                  Hi PD – From what I've been reading you seem to be right. Makes me wonder what their neighbors think. You don't think they cooked up a deal with some of them do you. We'll take some of your load if you stop dumping it in our swimming pool. At least this way the neighbor has control over what's done with it. Just a thought.


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              • James2

                Buffalojam, It's a fair question for debate – dispersal vs. attempted containment and evacuation.

                However we have to have the facts before we can consider the solution, and the facts are suppressed.

                So I will go with what I know and what I can speculate:

                Japan holds about about 2% of the world's population at 130 million.

                Fukushima is the largest release of radiation in history, and likely has or will surpass all other radiation releases up to this point – combined. I base this on the fact that 100% of the fuel in all of Fukushima Daichi is out of control and subject to release – I personally believe that about 1/2 of the fuel onsite is now completely released.

                The materials released at Fukushima have the capability to sicken and/or kill a large portion of population of Japan.

                The materials released at Fukushima have the potential to sicken or kill all intelligent life on earth – if released in the most dangerous manner – airborne.

                The materials may have the potential to sicken or kill all intelligent life on earth if released to the sea.

                It may be possible to reduce the suffering and death of those in Japan by relocating much of the radiation to other parts of the world.

                Assuming the above statements are true, then the only argument from a Japanese point of view is to release the radiation, and the only argument from a "rest of the world" view is to contain the radiation to Japan – perhaps offer evacuation – however that option may be closed now – because the people are too contaminated to be allowed to relocate.

                Right now – just with what Japan has released – I believe the entire West Coast of North America is probably going to be unliveable in a few years.

                It's also possible the damage is 100% already and it makes no difference what anyone does – the die is cast – but only the last on earth will know it.


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                • Buffalojam

                  James2 – Always happy to see your comments. You have a way with breaking down an argument to it's essentials that I admire. For the record your speculation about total radiation release and potential harm sounds reasonable to me. I also mostly agree with your understanding of the interests of Japan vs.rest of the world regarding the future home of Japan's irradiated waste. My difference with you is that Japan can make an argument that, for economic reasons and for reasons involving it's protection of it's remaining nuke plants and waste it's interests should be shared by the rest of the world. Because, as you said, we don't have the facts, we don't know the strength of each others hands. Possibly, Australia's openness to take some of Japan's load is an indication.


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        • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

          They try that unpatriotic stuff in the US ..all the time..
          Any opinion outside the packaged program being provided to us by our government is considered ..unpatriotic.
          Nevermind.. the welfare of the people is not of the interest to our government.
          Nevermind that the values of freedom and liberty are absent from their mentality.
          The people of Japan ..must fight against this labelling…
          They must realize that this only hastens the spread…
          Areas that were less contaminated..will become more contaminated.
          Australia..is going to take some of the waste? They are insane.
          Where will they dump it…let me guess ..on aboriginal land.


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          • James2

            I don't think the people of Japan are going to fight it.

            They are too close to the danger to think for the rest of the world.

            The rest of the world seems to be ruled by people who are afraid of telling the truth and don't have a brain.

            The threat is real and immediate to the rest of the world – unless Japan starts trying to contain the radiation – they must intervene.


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            • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

              I don't think the average Japanese citizen has any idea how bad this is…and when they find out..no..I don't think that there will much thought about the rest of the world…because..yes ..they are too close to the danger.
              Sure ..the odds are bad that the Japanese people will rise up and fight..
              But there are those that will ..and they MUST..because they are fighting for their very lives and the lives of their countrymen.
              Will it be effective?..who knows..this is where faith comes in.


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  • bleep_hits_blades

    Re the 'Japanese character' that book STRAITJACKET SOCIETY sheds a lot of light – written by a Japanese psychiatrist who spent about a decade in the USA so has perspective – doubly so, you might say – on his own culture.

    He actually identifies the familiar Japanese 'courtesy' and humble demeanor and subservience to authority as 'masochistic' – and I thought that was a very interesting, enlightening, and accurate insight.

    So no, as James 2 says, the 'whipped bitch' Japanese people are not likely candidates for an uprising…


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Heart of Rose,

    So true!
    "I don't think the average Japanese citizen has any idea how bad this is…and when they find out..no..I don't think that there will much thought about the rest of the world…because..yes ..they are too close to the danger."

    Sadly Japan has been living inside a police state for many years and yes I am afraid this Island nation is now in very serious trouble. I predict the entire Island will be dead and empty within 25 years.

    Anyone that remains will become very sick and so will their offspring. This is a shame but this will be the consequence of using Nuclear Power for their main power source and energy supply.

    Other Nuclear power plants "will" blow up in other parts of the world and increased Nuclear Radiation Contamination "dead zones" will spread worldwide as will the increased biological deformities along with increased cancer rates and other related disease rates for all life being affected.

    This was understood by our scientists from the very beginning of this Nuclear age. They wrote about it and put this information down inside their books for all of us to read and it is now true.

    The problem was that nobody taught the truth during the last 60 years concerning Nuclear Technology and we now live inside a "Nuclear Nightmare Lie" driven by money and greed as James has recently stated.

    This Nuclear Technology has not been progress for mankind and this energy direction has been a huge mistake identified many years ago by our brightest scientists. One of those was Einstein who realized that the Nuclear genie and atom could not be controlled by man.

    He was right and we all out here that have been living this compounding Nuclear Technology Lie on Planet Earth for the past 60 years were all wrong.

    It is what it is and Japan's future is now over and I feel so sad for such a proud people and all the others downwind that will live a life of misery from such a horrific Nuclear Radiation Contamination event…


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  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    I will post this to let new people know that the research Already exists proving that Low Dose Radiation causes cancer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywKv0dj3UuY


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  • NoNukes NoNukes

    Way back in 2002, 90% of the Japanese feared a dangerous nuclear accident, an indication of far greater awareness than in the United States.

    All you need to understand that Japan is not some powerful democratic nation is to know that there are about 90 US bases in the country.

    First, the United States dropped an atomic bomb, needlessly, killing innocent children and other creatures.

    Then used its "influence" to build 40+ nuclear plants creating a huge market for the industry while endangering the Japanese people.

    Then encouraged an economic system, zirp, zero interest, that flooded the financial companies of the US with untold wealth while destroying the world economy, but not before it first destroyed a generation in Japan.

    This is not a situation created by the Japanese citizen, but by the powerful financial/nuclear interests of the US and elsewhere.


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  • NoNukes NoNukes

    Even under military occupation, the Japanese people have been far more active in bringing Fukushima to light than the American people, who are also being irradiated.

    The reasons why the Japanese haven't left are the same reasons why Americans haven't left– primarily monetary.

    Japanese citizens have even played a large part in getting San Onofre shut down in the United States. Thank you, brave people with geigers!


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    MaidenHeaven,
    Great information and now if anyone can watch a computer screen and or read text written or translated, then the Nuclear Safety argument is over.

    Manmade Radiation Contamination in any form = Cancer and Disease Progressions

    NoNukes,
    Yes, it all sucks big time and it is what it is. Can the future direction of energy creation and consumption patterns be changed? Is the real question.

    You are now on the frontline of this ongoing battle, to quickly educate the entire world's population at large, about the current and pending "Nuclear Doom" now affecting us and many future generations.

    You must help in informing and protecting those not educated properly from this Nuclear Technology Industry and its varied applications.


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    • NoNukes NoNukes

      Well, obewanspeaks, nuclear has been a net consumer of energy, but damn if they have had good PR, as you know.

      I look at those amoebas on the fuel pool videos and think of how much weight the comic book industry has lifted for nuclear.

      If you want to know who is running this show, just think of the most handsome face the nuclear industry has ever had–he loves his daughters enough to send them to the Southern Hemisphere, just not our own.


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  • Iam of the firm opinion that if people suffer psychological harm from nuclear dumps (planned as in bomb tests, or unplanned as in accidents) then psychological harm needs to be high on the list of known harmful effects of radiation. For which innocent victims deserve just compensation.


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