Nuclear engineer: Death toll from Fukushima catastrophe could top 500,000

Published: March 20th, 2011 at 8:13 pm ET


Food and water poisoned by Japanese nuclear leak as expert warns more could die than in Chernobyl, Mirror, March 20, 2011:

… One expert predicted that the death toll in the years ahead could top the 500,000 attributed to the Chernobyl accident of 1986 and warned that panicked repair attempts could lead to an even greater disaster. John Large, a British nuc­lear engineer, said: “The Japanese don’t know how to deal with it. They’re ad-libbing.

“Just throwing water on to the reactors, when they cannot get inside to see what the situation is, could mean the fuel goes critical again.

“And while the radiation leak so far is only a tenth of that at Chernobyl, that was in a rural area with a low population. In Japan it’s an urban, densely packed area so the potential numbers of deaths and cancers are much higher.” …

Read the report here.

Published: March 20th, 2011 at 8:13 pm ET


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12 comments to Nuclear engineer: Death toll from Fukushima catastrophe could top 500,000

  • xdrfox

    A must read…

    Britain’s nuclear inferno: How our own Government covered up Windscale reactor blaze that’s caused dozens of deaths and hundreds of cancer cases
    By Sue Reid
    19th March 2011


    There are no warning signs anywhere along the coast. People walk on this shoreline with their dogs and children. The dogs take the contaminated mud back home on their hair. The children carry it on their shoes. It then dries and can be breathed in.
    The deeper you dig down into the mud, the more poisonous the levels become because of the accumulation of waste over the years.

  • xdrfox

    Tokyo the world’s most populous metropolitan area with 35 to 39 million people, there are approximately 127 million residents of Japan.

  • Matthew

    I’m hard pressed to take it seriously when it says that there were 500,000 dead from Chernobyl. Greenpeace estimates 200,000 dead from Chernobyl. The Chernobyl Forum (comprising the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Development Programme, the WHO, the World Bank, the UN Environment Programme, and the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) estimates the death count at being 4,000.

    By contrast, the Banqiao Dam hydro disaster killed over 200,000 people.

  • Jack

    This writing is shared from Robert Cohen at
    {Forty minutes ago at 3:45 AM on this morning,
    March 23, 2011, the Associated Press reported that
    black smoke was seen coming from Unit 3 of the
    crippled Japanese nuclear power plant. Previously,
    white smoke had been reported. As a volunteer firefighter,
    I learned that white smoke meant steam, while black
    smoke represented combustion of the contents within a
    structure. At the firefighter academy, we were taught
    to never inhale that black smoke…}

    “Disasters like this remind us of our common humanity.
    We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach
    the United States. There’s no reason for Americans to take
    precautionary measures beyond staying informed.”
    – President Barack Obama, March 19, 2011 (after signing
    a nuclear energy development agreement with Chile).

    * * * * * * * * *

    The Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred on April 26, 1986.

    8-1/2 years later, on November 8, 1994 the New York Times
    reported the results of an autopsy study on pre-mature
    deaths (page C-1, Gina Kolata). The study revealed
    the shocking news that virtually every American adult
    over the age of 50 has thyroid cancer.

    * * * * * * * * *

    Dear Notmilk reader:

    Today, I plan to be your colon cleanse.
    Today, I will become your enema.
    Today, I am your 64-ounce bottle of prune juice.

    On this day, my intention is to SCARE THE CRAP
    OUT OF YOU by providing you scientific evidence
    of how you may be at risk after Japan’s horrific
    nuclear accidents.

    American health experts in their ignorant attempt to
    do damage control, are lying to the public, and in
    doing so, compromise the health of you and your children.

    My new friend Alison Katz is an expert on the effects
    of nuclear radiation on humans. Alison wrote a review of a
    book published by the New York Academy of Sciences published
    in February of 2010.

    The book:

    Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People
    and the Environment by Yablokov, A., Nesterenko, V.
    and Nesterenko, A.

    Her review is published in the International Journal
    of Health Sciences. Alison Katz rigorously analyzed
    the book which contains 800 references. You will not
    find the book at Barnes and Noble. The cost of the
    book is $137. Her review covers a summary of those
    studies, and I re-print some of the highlights
    for your review.

    Katz comments that the World Health Organization (WHO)
    concluded that 50 deaths were immediately attributable to
    Chernobyl and WHO estimated that an additional 4,000
    cancers would occur, worldwide. She also estimates,
    after reviewing approximately 5,000 published worldwide
    studies, that the number of deaths attributed to the
    Chernobyl disaster exceeds 985,000 people.

    I now summarize Alison Katz’s 15-page summary:

    (I have extracted 30 points for your consideration from the
    many hundreds of bits of scientific evidence in the Alison
    Katz review. American cynics might want to review point
    number 26 first.

    1) Radioactive contamination from the Chernobyl meltdown
    spread over 40% of Europe.

    2) Nearly 5 million people still live with dangerous levels
    of radioactive contamination.

    3) Most of the Chernobyl radionuclides (up to 57%) fell
    outside the former USSR and caused noticeable radioactive
    contamination over a large area of the world – practically
    the entire Northern hemisphere.

    4) Levels of radioactive contamination in the first days and
    weeks after the catastrophe were thousands of times higher
    than those recorded 2 or 3 years later.

    5) When the reactor exploded, it expelled not only gases and
    aerosols but also particles of U fuel melted together with
    other radionuclides – firm hot particles. When absorbed into
    the body (with water, food or inhaled air), such particles
    generate high doses of radiation even if an individual is in
    an area of low contamination.

    6) Lastly, the impact of the 2400 tons (some authors estimate
    6720 tons) of lead dumped from helicopters onto the reactor to
    quench the fire has not been adequately evaluated. A significant
    part of this lead was spewed out into the atmosphere as a result
    of its fusion, boiling and sublimation in the burning reactor.

    7) In Wales, one of the regions most heavily contaminated by
    Chernobyl fallout, abnormally low birth weights (less than 1500 g)
    were noted in 1986 and 1987 (Busby, 1995).

    8) Children from the contaminated areas of Belarus have digestive
    tract epithelium characteristic of senile changes (Nesterenko, 1996;
    ebeshko et al, 2006).

    9) The biological age of inhabitants from the radioactive contaminated
    territories of Ukraine exceed their calendar ages by 7 to 9 years
    (Mezhzherin, 1996)

    10) Adverse effects as a result of Chernobyl irradiation have been
    found in every group that has been studied. Brain damage has been
    found in individuals directly exposed…Premature cataracts; tooth
    and mouth abnormalities; and blood, lymphatic, heart, lung
    gastrointestinal, urologic, bone, and skin diseases afflict and
    impair people, young and old alike. Endocrine dysfunction, particularly
    thyroid disease, is far more common than might be expected, with some
    1,000 cases of thyroid dysfunction for every case of thyroid cancer,
    a marked increase after the catastrophe. There are genetic damage and
    birth defects especially in children of liquidators and in children
    born in area with high levels of radioisotope contamination.

    11) 5.1 Blood and lymphatic system diseases
    For both children and adults, diseases of the blood and the
    circulatory and lymphatic systems are among the most widespread
    consequences of the Chernobyl radioactive contamination.

    12) The incidence of diseases of the blood and blood forming organs
    was 3.8 fold higher among evacuees 9 years after the catastrophe.

    13) Diseases of the blood and circulatory system for people living
    in the contaminated territories (Ukraine) increased 11 to 15 fold
    for the first 12 years after the catastrophe (1988-1999)
    Prysyazhnyuk et al 2002).

    14) Incidence of hemorrhages in newborns in the contaminated
    Chechersky District of Gomel Province (Belarus) is more than
    double than before the catastrophe (Kulakov et al, 1997).

    15) In the observation period 1992-1997, there was a 22.1%
    increase in the incidence of fatal cardiovascular disease
    liquidators compared to 2.5% in the general population
    (Belarus) (Pflugbeil et al, 2006).

    16) Changes in genetic structures in both reproductive and
    somatic cells determine and define the occurrence of many
    diseases. Ionizing radiation causes damage to hereditary
    structures. The huge collective dose from the Chernobyl
    catastrophe (127-150 million persons/rad) has resulted in
    damage that will span several generations, causing changes
    in genetic structures and various types of mutations: genomic
    mutations (change in the number of chromosomes), chromosomal
    mutations (damage to the structure of chromosomes –
    translocations, deletions, insertions and inversions), and
    small (point) mutations.

    17) In 1991 in Norway, a 10-fold increase in the number of
    chromosomal aberrations was found in 56 adults compared to
    controls (Brogger et al, 1996, Schmitz Feuerhake, 2006).

    18) In 1987 in Austria, among 17 adults examined there was
    a 4-6 fold increase in the number of chromosomal aberrations.

    19) There was a doubling of Down syndrome in Lothian, Scotland
    one of the territories contaminated by Chernobyl (Ramsey et al,

    20) In Norway, cataracts in newborns occurred twice as often
    1 year after the catastrophe (Irgens et al, 1991).

    21) Incidence of neural tube defects in Turkey increased
    between 2- and 5-fold after the catastrophe (Hoffman, 2001;
    Schmitz-Feuerhake, 2006).

    • xdrfox

      When An ill Wind Blows From Afar! Like from Japan

      Surviving Radioactive Fallout & Radiation Contamination from Japan, Iran or North Korea
      Also, Mid-East, South Korea, Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Chernobyl, etc.
      By Shane Connor
      March 12th, 2011

  • Jack

    CONTINUED: from Robert Cohen at
    (Thank You, you tough Tzaddik Guy)…
    22) The most recent forecast by international agencies predicted
    there would be between 9000 and 28,000 fatal cancers between 1986
    and 2056, obviously underestimating the risk factors and the
    collective doses. On the basis of I-131 and Cs 137 radioisotope
    doses to which populations were exposed and a comparison of cancer
    mortality in the heavily and less contaminated territories and pre-
    and post-Chernobyl cancer levels, a more realistic figure is 212,000
    to 245,000 in Europe and 19,000 in the rest of the world.

    23) More than 1000 cancer deaths in Norland Province, Sweden,
    between 1986 and 1999 have been attributed to the Chernobyl fallout
    (Abdelrahman, 2007).

    24) After 20 years the incidence of thyroid cancer among individuals
    under 18 years of age at the time of the catastrophe increased more
    than 200-fold (National Belarussian Report, 2006).

    25) In the Marne-Ardennes provinces (France) cancer incidence
    increased 360% in women and 500% in men between 1975 and 2005
    (Cherie-Challine et al, 2006).

    26) From 1985-1989 to 1990-1992 in Connecticut, USA, rates of
    thyroid cancer for all age groups increased by 23% (from 3.46
    to 4.29 per 100,000, after 10 previous years without change
    (Reid and Mangano, 1995).

    27) In Greece, infants born between 1.7.86 and 31.12.87,
    exposed to Chernobyl fallout in utero, had 2.6 times the incidence
    of leukemia compared to children born between 1.1.80 and 31.12.85
    and between 1.1.88 and 31.12.90. (Petridou et al, 2004)

    28) Changes in the sex ratio and the stillbirth odds ratio for
    gender were significant for Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Norway,
    Poland, Latvia and Sweden (Scherb and Wiegelt, 2000).

    29) Great Britain. Ten months after the catastrophe, a significant
    increase in perinatal mortality was found in the two most contaminated
    areas of the country (Bentham, 1991).

    30) Sweden. Infant mortality increased immediately after the
    catastrophe and increased significantly in 1989-1992 (Korblein, 2008).

    Share with friends the four Notmilk columns which include prevention:

    and today’s:

    “Politics is a choice of enemas. You’re gonna
    get it up the ass, no matter what you do.”
    – George Vincent Higgins

  • Marco

    As non-expert we must rely on the judgements the scientific community gives to scientific writings.
    A google search on International Journal of Health Science tells us (beyond any reasonable doubt) that journal is crap, and you should not trust what it is publishing, at least before comparing to higher ranked publications.

  • Jack

    Your criticism is ridiculous, given the long listing of points
    presented here from the BOOK.
    Give it up.
    Did you ever take a Chemistry class? Mineralogy? Remote Sensing?
    I have.

  • Neel

    I agree with Marco. And no offense meant against you Jack, but not only do I distrust the “Journal”, but I also don’t take advice from someone who had to be “taught” not to inhale black smoke. As with the black smoke, I think some common sense and level headed-ness is required for this situation. Nuclear power has great risks, but also many blessings and benefits. You weigh risk against benefit, in addition to cost. And what you come up with is, if you want to keep making comments on your PC, your gonna need nuclear power because the other sources are not gonna keep up with demand, prices will skyrocket, emissions will rise, death tolls will rise (from industry not nearly as safe as nuclear power), and the global warming army will be out marching again.

    Please, stop fear-mongering.

  • sickoshills

    These posters who taunt posters across the boards, are paid shills. Compliments of a powerful nuclear lobby. It is so obvious. They have the same tone and message. They post under multiple aliases. Their arguments are weak. There ethics are non existent.

  • bob

    500,000? Really? Let’s look at what is arguably the single worst nuclear plant disaster ever and see how it played out.

    Looks like a half mill may be juuusst a bit inflated.

    I’d rather get my electricity from a nuc plant in my back yard than from coal any day.