Chernobyl Experts Speak in Georgia about Nuclear Risks, Disasters


(APN) ATLANTA — Last week, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, at Manuel’s Tavern, Georgia Women’s Action for New Direction (WAND), hosted Dr. Nataliya Miranova and Natalia Manzurova, for the purpose of them sharing their expertise on the risks of nuclear reactors, and the threat such reactors post to humanity.

They spoke at Manuel’s and at Emory University, before heading to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  They will also engage with the Shell Bluff community that is located near the Plant Vogtle in Burke County, Georgia.

“We hope that these courageous women will teach us about the human costs incurred by those living near or working in close proximity to nuclear reactors.  As our country continues to prop up nuclear energy with billions of federal dollars in loan guarantees we need to ask ourselves the questions: Are the risks worth it?  And, if there are cleaner and safer alternatives, why are we not putting our money there?” Bobbie Paul, Executive Director of Georgia WAND, said.

Dr. Miranova is a prominent leader in human rights and the anti-nuclear movement in Russia.  Miranova is a founder of the Movement for Nuclear Safety and served as a Member of the Supreme Ecological Council of the Russian State Parliament from 1997 to 2006.  Miranova, in 2002 won a Supreme Court case against the Government of Russia to stop the import of 370 tons of Hungarian spent fuel for storage and reprocessing in Russia.

According to WAND, Miranova has written several books and over 70 articles on nuclear proliferation, and the role of non governmental organizations in abolishing nuclear weapons.  Miranova in 1991 successfully organized a local referendum to stop nuclear fuel reprocessing.

Manzurova, born in Russia in a town of atomic scientists, talked about how her father had worked on the atomic bomb.  Manzurova is a engineer-mechanic and specialized in radiation biology at the Moscow Agricultural Academy.

In 1992 Manzurova worked at liquidating after the Chernobyl atomic power station after the accident.

Unfortunately, she was forced to stop work due to a long sickness brought on by her radiation exposure.  The scar on her neck is a constant reminder of the awful effects of radiation.  This scar is commonly called the Chernobyl necklace.

In 1997, she helped founded Chernobyl Union for the victims of radiation exposure.

Atlanta Progressive News has reported consistently for several years over the risks and problems with nuclear power, particularly the use of water and the low-level radiation that is emitted even under normal circumstances.

The crisis in Japan has brought to light the additional issue of how the risks of nuclear power interact with erratic, severe weather events, which scientists have predicted for years would increase due to climate change caused by human industrial pollution.

In Atlanta, we are literally surrounded by several nuclear plants, all of which create a huge risk for the region.

Miranova and Manzurova spoke about the problem of nuclear reactors, calling this crisis “a crime against all of humanity,” and Miranova asks for all countries to band together at this time.

Miranova also called for an international think tank, consisting of experts from all countries, so that together, they can find a solution to this crisis.

Miranova says “none of the reactors are safe, and although the pieces of the nuclear parts are inspected, the reactors are not inspected as a whole.”

When asked how safe these reactors in Georgia are, she says “they are not safe, and are only able to protect us against the threat of crisis, based on the probability of what has happened in the past.”

For example, “if a nuclear reactor is built in an area of the country, that has only experienced a 2.5 earthquake, if a 5.0 earthquake hits the area, the reactor will be damaged.”

With the current weather being so unpredictable, this can be a huge problem.

When asked what safety precautions there are in the event of a nuclear crisis in Georgia, in the case we experience a hurricane or earthquake that is above the predicted forecast, she said there are no precautions and that evacuation is the only way to survive.

If we are able to know about the event six days before it happens, there are precautions we can take, but who knows that an earthquake will occur six days before?

Miranova also says “if the prophylactic is taken the day of the disaster, there is only a 60 percent chance of effectiveness.”

Neither of them were fluent in English; so some quotes are attributed to both of them because they were interpreting each other’s comments.

The radiation travels over Earth’s atmosphere and we are all affected, they said, and even if the contaminated material is buried, like the area called the dead zone at Chernobyl, the radiation increases over time, instead of decreasing.

They said that with each generation, the infected cells are passed on to our offspring, and instead of being reduced in future generations, each generation gets worse, and that the cells are passed on through ten generations.

The contaminated area at Chernobyl will be a dead zone for 300 years, which is the total life of the infected material.

“Now is the time to ban together, before we forget about Fukushima, and that we must act now, doing everything possible to end this nuclear generation.  We did not learn from Chernobyl, but we must learn from Fukushima,” they said.

They argued that the disaster at Fukushima is different than Chernobyl, because of the Internet and other means of communication, in that activists have more of an opportunity to respond because there is so much information available.

As soon as Miranova and Manzurova heard of the Japan nuclear disaster, they have spend countless hours getting all the information that has been collected to the people of Japan.

Years ago, this information was not available, and it was easier for the government to lie and cover up.

According to Miranova, there is much we can do.  “We can send an appeal to the Executive Government Officials, participate in campaigns against nuclear projects.  We can commence legal proceedings in court, and educate children on nuclear dangers and threats.”

(END / 2011)

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