World March 9, 2016 | 12:28 pm

Lost health and homes: the legacies of Chernobyl and Fukushima

Moscow, Kiev, 9 March 2016 – Survivors of Chernobyl arestill eating food with radioactive contamination above permissible limitsthirty years after the nuclear catastrophe forced hundreds of thousands ofpeople from their homes.

The Greenpeace International report, Nuclear Scars: Thelasting legacy of Chernobyl and Fukushima exposes the impact that nuclearaccidents in Fukushima and Chernobyl continue to have on the day-to-day livesof millions of people. The report compiles scientific research, survivorprofiles and radiation monitoring work carried out by Greenpeace in Japan,Ukraine and Russia.

“For communities in Fukushima there’s no end in sight -nearly 100,000 people haven’t returned home and many won’t be able to,” saidJunichi Sato, Executive Director of Greenpeace Japan. “The nuclear industry andgovernments around the world have perpetuated the myth that people’s lives canreturn to normal after a nuclear accident. But the evidence exposes this aspolitical rhetoric, not scientific fact.”

Greenpeace findings indicate that governments are reducingradiation protection in both Japan and in countries contaminated by Chernobyl.Environmental and food monitoring programs have been cut around Chernobyl whileJapan wants the majority of evacuees to return home by 2017 even if theircommunities are still contaminated. Greenpeace is calling on governments tocontinue to provide proper financial support to survivors of Chernobyl andFukushima.

Radiation monitoring found that forests around Chernobyl andFukushima have become repositories of radioactive contamination. Greenpeacesays these radioactive forests put near-by communities at risk of radiationexposure or recontamination.

Extensive health effects have been observed in communitiesimpacted by both Fukushima and Chernobyl. In contaminated areas aroundChernobyl, death rates are higher, birth rates are lower, incidence of cancerhas increased and mental health effects are widespread. In Fukushima, a rise inthyroid cancer incidence amongst children has been observed that cannot befully explained by the widespread screening, and almost a third of mothersliving close to the damaged reactors show symptoms of depression.

“Millions of lives changed after Fukushima andChernobyl. We shouldn’t forget the immense suffering these disasterscontinue to cause. We need to urgently phase out nuclear and move towards100% renewable energy – the only safe, clean energy that can meet the world’senergy need,” said Greenpeace senior energy analyst, Shawn-Patrick Stensil.

Five years after Fukushima about 100,000 people stillhaven’t returned home. Thirty years after Chernobyl about 5 millionpeople live in contaminated areas.

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