Global Ethics and Environment

By Nicholas Low | Go to book overview

5

Chernobyl, global environmental injustice and mutagenic threats

Kristin Shrader-Frechette

Introduction

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, according to one United Nations (UN) volume, was ‘the greatest technological catastrophe in human history’ (Savchenko, 1995:xv; Shrader-Frechette, 1999, 2000). Nearly 7 tons of irradiated reactor fuel was released into the environment—approximately 340 million curies. Included in the release were radioactive elements with a half-life of 16 million years. Yet we humans cannot protect ourselves from such radiation because we are biologically not equipped to do so. We are unable to taste, touch, smell, hear or see radiation. Its effects are silent but deadly. Less than six years after the accident, already there had been a hundredfold increase in thyroid cancers in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Most of these will be fatal (for verification of these comments see Henshaw, 1996:1052; Rytömaa, 1996; Poiarkov, 1995; NEA and OECD, 1996:28; Makhijani et al., 1995:98).

On the one hand, the Soviets, the French, UN agencies and many proponents of nuclear power have tended to claim that the consequences of the Chernobyl reactor explosion and fire were minimal. They say Chernobyl caused only 28 casualties (MacLachlan, 1994c:11ff.). The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), a UN agency dominated by the nuclear industry, places the number of Chernobyl fatalities at 31 (IAEA, 1991b:4). On the other hand, many health experts, scientists and environmentalists, especially in developed nations, have argued that the effects were catastrophic. They say that the accident has caused 32,000 deaths so far (Shcherbak, 1996:46; Konoplev et al., 1996). Others put fatalities at 125,000 (Campbell, 1996), or half a million if one counts future premature cancer deaths induced by germline mutations (Gofman, 1995).

Why has the international scientific and political community allowed the global environmental injustice of Chernobyl—the half million premature cancer deaths and the permanent contamination of millions of acres of land? Why has there been so much cover-up and denial? Apart from outright ethical corruption, one reason may be that we, who could make a difference, have remained largely silent, despite the fact that half of the half-million premature

-70-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Global Ethics and Environment
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 320

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.