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Food Security Policies and
Responses After Nuclear
Emergencies (Case of Chernobyl
and Lessons for Fukushima)
Dr. Alexander...
Why do I care about Chernobyl?
My personal experience:
•Various visits to the affected areas in
Ukraine and Belarus in 199...
Why do I care about Chernobyl?
•Member, Board of Advisors, Chernobyl
Foundation, Toronto, Canada.
•Charity projects
Speake...
Chernobyl: Overview
• Introduction
• Overview of Chernobyl disaster, its health
consequences, aspects of food adequacy (in...
Overview (cont.)
• Changes in perceptions, behavior of population and its
exposure to radioactive food after Chernobyl
• P...
Overview (cont.)
• This presentation reviews:
– food security policies and responses after nuclear
emergencies,
– applicab...
Purpose of the research
The purpose of the research is to determine:
• What issues have emerged with food accessibility
an...
Purpose of the research
• Whether these decisions were adequate in
preventing consumption by the population of
radioactive...
Methodology of the research
Methodology of the research includes:
– literature review,
– interviews of Ukrainian and Japan...
Overview of Chernobyl disaster

Source: http://users.owt.com/smsrpm/Chernobyl/glbrad.html
Overview of Chernobyl disaster
• An explosion and fire at Chernobyl sent a
radioactive cloud over a large part of Europe.
...
Overview of Chernobyl disaster
• Medvedev criticized Soviet officials, as no
valuable scientific studies have been made
pu...
Overview of Chernobyl disaster
• Furthermore, scientists stress: “Official secrecy (until
May 23rd, 1989) and irreversible...
Overview of Chernobyl disaster
• The way in which numerical risks are presented is also
crucial.
• At Chernobyl, the same ...
Overview of Chernobyl disaster
• Soviet scientists themselves had no access to the
accurate data and the whole picture rem...
Shelter
• Soviet crews sealed the most radioactive areas
of the destroyed bloc No. 4 with a concrete
Shelter (also known a...
Shelter
•“There is also uncertainty
in determining the quantity
of radionuclides discharged
from the reactor: from 50
mill...
Influential factors affected
food security of Ukraine
• 1) The consequences of Chernobyl disaster.
• 2) The long-term econ...
The right to food
• 160 countries including Ukraine are parties of the
UN International Covenant on Economic, Social
and C...
Governmental management decisions after the
Chernobyl disaster
Food safety: control measures

What was important in terms ...
Governmental management decisions after the
Chernobyl disaster
Some preventive actions that were not taken, are indeed ver...
Consequences of Chernobyl
for food safety across Europe
• The UK Food Standards Agency has the UK
Post-Chernobyl Monitorin...
Consequences of Chernobyl
for food safety across Europe
• Different groups were studied in Norway.
• It is reported that a...
Consequences of Chernobyl
for food safety across Europe
• "In certain regions of Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden,
Finland,...
Consequences of Chernobyl
for food safety across Europe
What was done in Ukraine in terms of direct control
measures on fo...
Managing food accessibility and adequacy
According to a definition of the Centre for
Studies in Food Security at Ryerson U...
Managing food accessibility and adequacy
The important food security management steps
after any nuclear disaster should be...
Managing food accessibility and adequacy
• According to Ukrainian physicians, the residents
of the contaminated areas in U...
Managing food accessibility and adequacy
The most significant contribution to the internal
dose caused by the Chernobyl di...
Management steps taken on food security after
the Chernobyl disaster
Relocation of people from 30 kilometer zone
Results /...
Management steps taken on food security after
the Chernobyl disaster

• Disposal of some contaminated food (which
was done...
Management steps taken on food security after
the Chernobyl disaster
• Distribution of some foods, which are natural
radio...
Management steps taken on food security after
the Chernobyl disaster
• Children under 16 living in affected areas (outside...
Management steps taken on food security after
the Chernobyl disaster
• Phasing-out of milk selling from milk tanks to
peop...
Management steps taken on food security after
the Chernobyl disaster
• People from some affected areas (up to 100 km from
...
Management steps taken on food security after
the Chernobyl disaster
• Almost no attempts were made to promote food
proces...
Risk communication
on food safety and food choices
• Some limited data on high contamination of dairy
products, mushrooms ...
Changes in perceptions, behavior of population and its
exposure to radioactive food after Chernobyl
Perception of populati...
Changes in perceptions, behavior of population
and its exposure to radioactive food after
Chernobyl
Severe problems are fa...
Changes in perceptions, behavior of population
and its exposure to radioactive food
after Chernobyl
•Most of the affected ...
Changes in perceptions, behavior of population
and its exposure to radioactive food
after Chernobyl

•In 1993, the governm...
Changes in perceptions, behavior of population
and its exposure to radioactive food
after Chernobyl
• The scientists (Onis...
Changes in perceptions, behavior of population
and its exposure to radioactive food
after Chernobyl
• A special group is c...
Changes in perceptions, behavior of population
and its exposure to radioactive food
after the Chernobyl
• The least invest...
What are the lessons learned
from Chernobyl?
• Gould (1990) came to the conclusion that after
governments took advice of n...
What are the lessons learned
from Chernobyl?
• Gould studied the relationship between the European
countries dependence on...
What are the lessons learned
from Chernobyl?
• Gould believes that the inadequate „reactions are not
confined to the Sovie...
What are the lessons learned
from Chernobyl?
Gould analyzed seven ways how bureaucrats
respond to a nuclear crisis.
The di...
Lessons after Chernobyl on Food
Security
• Management steps on food security lacked
consistency, proper education/risk
com...
Research needs
• Iouli Andreev who ran the Soviet Spetsatom
agency:
"After Chernobyl, all the force of the nuclear
industr...
What are the lessons learned
from Chernobyl?
• The United States government rewrites its plans for
responding to radiation...
Overview of Fukushima disaster
• Animated map showing the plume as it expands
across the Pacific:
http://cerea.enpc.fr/Hom...
Overview of Fukushima disaster
There are many similarities in transparency issues
after the Chernobyl and Fukushima disast...
Overview of Fukushima disaster
• The Japanese government made many positive
statements following the disaster on one site ...
Overview of Fukushima disaster
• Japanese scientists are optimistic about their findings and
radioactivity measurements pe...
Overview of Fukushima disaster
• Iida Tetsunari criticized the nuclear industry culture.
• During his meeting in Toronto, ...
Overview of Fukushima disaster
• Iida Tetsunari analyzed lack of basic information
about Fukushima disaster comparing it t...
Overview of Fukushima disaster

(Tetsunari, 2013)
Overview of Fukushima disaster
• Finally, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed in
October 2013 that his country is...
Conclusions and recommendations
The conducted critical review of literature and personal data
confirm that:
• Many food pr...
Conclusions and recommendations
• Lack of social justice was demonstrated in
governmental dealing with samosely, who still...
Feedback from participants
Future cooperation
Looking for joint research opportunities
Web-site:
http://fromchernobyltofukushima.com
E-Mail:
belyakov...
Dr. Alexander Belyakov
Ryerson University
Toronto, Canada
Belyakov@ryerson.ca
http://fromchernobyltofukushima.com
All Cher...
Belyakov Alexander presentation on food security policies after nuclear disasters Chernobyl Fukushima Yale Symposium 2013
Belyakov Alexander presentation on food security policies after nuclear disasters Chernobyl Fukushima Yale Symposium 2013
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Belyakov Alexander presentation on food security policies after nuclear disasters Chernobyl Fukushima Yale Symposium 2013

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Yale University hosted a Food Systems Symposium. More about it here: http://yalefoodsymposium.org/program/panel-schedule/
This presentation is also available on my site: http://axr.be/yale

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Transcript of "Belyakov Alexander presentation on food security policies after nuclear disasters Chernobyl Fukushima Yale Symposium 2013"

  1. 1. Food Security Policies and Responses After Nuclear Emergencies (Case of Chernobyl and Lessons for Fukushima) Dr. Alexander Belyakov, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada Belyakov@ryerson.ca http://fromchernobyltofukushima.com Yale University, October 19, 2013, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
  2. 2. Why do I care about Chernobyl? My personal experience: •Various visits to the affected areas in Ukraine and Belarus in 1992-2011. •Member of the International Chernobyl Research and Information Network (UNDP, IAEA, UNICEF, WHO). •Journalist for the national newspaper “Robitnycha Gazeta” (Worker’s Newspaper), Kyiv, Ukraine, 1993-1997, and the national newspaper "Echo Chernobylja" (Echo of Chernobyl), Kyiv, Ukraine, 1992-1993.
  3. 3. Why do I care about Chernobyl? •Member, Board of Advisors, Chernobyl Foundation, Toronto, Canada. •Charity projects Speaker about Chernobyl at: •Toronto and Region Conservation Authority •Environmental Speakers Club, Ministry of the Environment, Toronto •Seniors’ Political Club at the Ukrainian Canadian Social Services Toronto branch •Bernard Betel Centre, Professionals Club, Toronto •CultureLink, Toronto
  4. 4. Chernobyl: Overview • Introduction • Overview of Chernobyl disaster, its health consequences, aspects of food adequacy (including first of all safety) after the disaster • Governmental management decisions after the disaster • Food safety: control measures • Managing food accessibility and adequacy • Risk communication on food safety and food choices
  5. 5. Overview (cont.) • Changes in perceptions, behavior of population and its exposure to radioactive food after Chernobyl • Perception of population and its specific groups on food safety • Influence of economic and political factors on food consumption • What are the lessons learned from Chernobyl? (and in the Fukushima Case) • Conclusions and recommendations • Future cooperation: organizing a multidisciplinary Working group (format, tasks, open nature of membership)
  6. 6. Overview (cont.) • This presentation reviews: – food security policies and responses after nuclear emergencies, – applicability of definitions, – accessibility and adequacy in a context of food security issues in nuclear disaster management based on the case of Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. • There is also a link to the Fukushima disaster recovery.
  7. 7. Purpose of the research The purpose of the research is to determine: • What issues have emerged with food accessibility and adequacy on affected areas; • How the population was informed on these issues and why uncertain statistics were presented; • How scientists access information about the Chernobyl tragedy; • What management decisions were made by the USSR and Ukrainian governments to address food adequacy and accessibility immediately after the Chernobyl disaster
  8. 8. Purpose of the research • Whether these decisions were adequate in preventing consumption by the population of radioactively contaminated food; • When an immediate response policy or activity after the disaster can be considered as violation of the right to food; • What kind of lessons we all need to learn from the Chernobyl tragedy and how they can help for a recovery after the Fukushima disaster.
  9. 9. Methodology of the research Methodology of the research includes: – literature review, – interviews of Ukrainian and Japanese experts, – personal insights and research findings of the author after his field trips to Chernobyl including visits in 1990s and the most recent trip to affected areas in Belarus (Belyakov 2011, p. 13). The local actions are compared with international ones, including recommendations of experts from other countries.
  10. 10. Overview of Chernobyl disaster Source: http://users.owt.com/smsrpm/Chernobyl/glbrad.html
  11. 11. Overview of Chernobyl disaster • An explosion and fire at Chernobyl sent a radioactive cloud over a large part of Europe. • Signs of pollution also were found in Asia and North America. • The Chernobyl catastrophe had an effect on thyroid disease development in the US (Reid and Mangano, 1995; Gould et al, 1996). • This nuclear disaster also had serious consequences for Canada (Health Protection Branch 1986, Kerr et al, 1992).
  12. 12. Overview of Chernobyl disaster • Medvedev criticized Soviet officials, as no valuable scientific studies have been made public with all collected data. • “It is, therefore, irrelevant to discuss the health impact in figures of possible cancer deaths in the next 70 years which might be attributive to Chernobyl” (Medvedev, 1990, 190).
  13. 13. Overview of Chernobyl disaster • Furthermore, scientists stress: “Official secrecy (until May 23rd, 1989) and irreversible state falsification of medical data during the first three years after the catastrophe, as well as an absence of authentic medical statistics in the former USSR, highlights the inadequacy of materials concerning primary epidemiological consequences of this catastrophe” (Yablokov, 2006, p.5). • Some of these factors explain ignorance among Western scientists of the data gathered by their colleagues in the former USSR countries (Abbott, Barker, 1996, p.658).
  14. 14. Overview of Chernobyl disaster • The way in which numerical risks are presented is also crucial. • At Chernobyl, the same cancer risk could have been conveyed in the following ways: – 131 cancers expected in the lifetimes of the 24.000 people within 15 kilometers of the plant; – a 2.6 percent increase in cancer rate of that exposed population; – or, an increase in cancer of .0047 percent of the population among 75 million people exposed in Ukraine and Belarus (Wilson, Crouch, 1987; Susskind, 1996, 116).
  15. 15. Overview of Chernobyl disaster • Soviet scientists themselves had no access to the accurate data and the whole picture remained unclear for them. • Some Ukrainian scientists including the well-known radiobiologist Grodzinsky had restricted access to their own laboratory equipment. These measures were designed to prevent any independent investigation not approved by the Communist Party. • For about two years, individuals were treated as criminals, if they possessed their own dosimeters (Medvedev, 1990, 149).
  16. 16. Shelter • Soviet crews sealed the most radioactive areas of the destroyed bloc No. 4 with a concrete Shelter (also known as the Sarcophagus). • The Shelter – built in a hasty and poorly organized cleanup – has formed numerous cracks that have been studied by many scientists.
  17. 17. Shelter •“There is also uncertainty in determining the quantity of radionuclides discharged from the reactor: from 50 million Ci (Soviet official data) up to 3,500 millions Ci (several independent estimations)” (Yablokov, 2006, p.5). •Creation of a new construction base on the Shelter begun in 2012. •Another concrete Shelter should be built around the existing one by 2015.
  18. 18. Influential factors affected food security of Ukraine • 1) The consequences of Chernobyl disaster. • 2) The long-term economic consequences of the collapse of the USSR. • As one of the 10 major grain producers and importers, Ukraine has been enormously affected by those factors. • Radionuclide contamination of vast areas in Ukraine after Chernobyl resulted in lower consumption of dairy and meat products, as well as wild berries and mushrooms. • This led to decrease in caloric consumption, fat and protein consumption. • Ingestion of contaminated food is one of the main factors contributing to population radiation exposures.
  19. 19. The right to food • 160 countries including Ukraine are parties of the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. • Its article 11 states: “The State Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food” (OHCHR). • Many governments already reaffirmed the right to food in their national legislation. Our particular interest about adequate food follows the social justice cases after the nuclear disasters.
  20. 20. Governmental management decisions after the Chernobyl disaster Food safety: control measures What was important in terms of governmental decisions on food security and specifically food safety, is that people in affected areas should have been immediately informed (but actually were not) about: • the emergency situation and its possible impacts; • which foods are safe and which are not, which can be radioprotectors (preventing absorption of radionuclides); • what the government did to ensure food safety and what it plans to do next and why; • how to protect one´s family and decrease risk of exposure through inter alia educated effective food choices.
  21. 21. Governmental management decisions after the Chernobyl disaster Some preventive actions that were not taken, are indeed very simple. • One of the biggest threats of the disaster was radioiodine carried by clouds to thousand kilometers away. Potassium iodide tablets can block radioiodine uptake by thyroid. Nevertheless, even a population of the town Pripyat near the Chernobyl nuclear station did not received it. • Face masks are an easy tool to prevent inhalation of radioactive dust, but they were also not distributed. Furthermore, even official warnings to stay indoors were missing. • A proper evacuation was challenged by a requirement to avoid panic, so a staff responsible for it avoided providing many important safety messages. • As a result, many children spend April, 26, 1986 outdoors unaware about a high radioactive pollution (Smith, Beresford, 2005, p.5-6). • People did not receive any warning about water and food intake that were already polluted. • The USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev appeared on television addressing the crisis only on the May 14, 1986.
  22. 22. Consequences of Chernobyl for food safety across Europe • The UK Food Standards Agency has the UK Post-Chernobyl Monitoring Program. • A live sheep monitoring program ‘Mark and Release’ ensured that the level of consumer risk enormouslydecreased. • Nevertheless, about 2.5% percentage of sheep today still have the risk of exceeding 1,000 Bq/kg of radiocaesium, according to the study (Field 2011).
  23. 23. Consequences of Chernobyl for food safety across Europe • Different groups were studied in Norway. • It is reported that a majority (40-80%) of the groups (farmers, hunters and Sami reindeer herdsman) were forced to significantly change their diets. • The major sources of radiocesium intake were freshwater fish, milk, and reindeer meat. The action plan included dietary advices and agricultural decontamination (Strand et al, 1992).
  24. 24. Consequences of Chernobyl for food safety across Europe • "In certain regions of Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Poland, wild game (including boar and deer), wild mushrooms, berries and carnivorous fish from lakes reach levels of several thousand Bq per kg of caesium-137" • Most extreme cases reported from Germany, where “caesium-137 levels in wild boar muscle reached 40,000 Bq/kg. The average level is 6,800 Bq/kg, more than ten times the EU limit of 600 Bq/kg" (Fairlie, Sumner 2006, p. 9). • Therefore, the European Commission continues the restrictions on certain food components from most affected Member States (Fairlie, Sumner, 2006).
  25. 25. Consequences of Chernobyl for food safety across Europe What was done in Ukraine in terms of direct control measures on food safety was: • Introduction of obligatory control of contamination levels of food (first of all milk and meat) on farms (all of which were state-owned at the time), on state-owned retailers and on markets. • On markets, wild berries and mushrooms were also subject to control. • Only buyers whose products passed control, were allowed to sell. • However, since it was not accompanied by an adequate educational campaign, this caused confusion among sellers and consumers.
  26. 26. Managing food accessibility and adequacy According to a definition of the Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson University, Canada, accessibility means “physical and economic access to food for all at all times” adequacy is “access to food that is nutritious and safe, and produced in environmentally sustainable ways” (Ryerson).
  27. 27. Managing food accessibility and adequacy The important food security management steps after any nuclear disaster should be: – preventing consumption of contaminated food; – handling safe disposure of contaminated food; – proposing consumers some alternative safe food and making sure people (especially relocated ones and those still living in contaminated areas) have access to safe, affordable food; – informing them on effective food choices and safe food processing; – informing on governmental decisions concerning food security.
  28. 28. Managing food accessibility and adequacy • According to Ukrainian physicians, the residents of the contaminated areas in Ukraine received exposures between 2 to 74 mSv. • At the same time, exposures will rise up to 160 mSv during 70 years after the disaster (19862056). • About 80-95% of radiation doses are expected from the contaminated food (milk, meat, vegetables, forest products) (Nyagu, 2006 p.7677).
  29. 29. Managing food accessibility and adequacy The most significant contribution to the internal dose caused by the Chernobyl disaster for rural Ukrainian population (average estimates for most contaminated areas) is from: – – – – – – contaminated milk (70-75%), meat (7%), vegetables (7%), other foods (9%), water (1-2%), air (1%) (Onishi et al. 2007, 123).
  30. 30. Management steps taken on food security after the Chernobyl disaster Relocation of people from 30 kilometer zone Results / Comments on effectiveness • Relocation of nearly one million people from areas with contaminated soil was prescribed to avoid exposure to low levels of radiation. This measure was later accessed as pointless, both medically (as avoided external exposure dose was small) and socially (Filyshkin 1996). • The relocation allowed to reduce dose from contaminated food and water, including from agricultural foods that could have been produced in the area subjected to relocation. • However, the relocation could have caused changes in the diets of people, decrease food availability (it was more available in Pripyat than in some villages to where people were moved).
  31. 31. Management steps taken on food security after the Chernobyl disaster • Disposal of some contaminated food (which was done without any public disclosure). Results / Comments on effectiveness • Public disclosure was needed. • Food resilience.
  32. 32. Management steps taken on food security after the Chernobyl disaster • Distribution of some foods, which are natural radioprotectors through state-owned enterprises. Examples of such food included fruit candies or marshmallows prepared from fruit puree – both are high in natural radioprotector – pectin. Results / Comments on effectiveness • During Soviet times, these treats were not readily accessible in stores, therefore their distribution through state enterprises was welcomed by employees. However, educational campaign was lacking.
  33. 33. Management steps taken on food security after the Chernobyl disaster • Children under 16 living in affected areas (outside the relocation zone, this included the capital of Ukraine - Kyiv) were taken to camps to recreational areas. This was funded by the state. Results / Comments on effectiveness • This allowed in most cases ensuring that children would not eat food from areas with high radiological contamination. However, this did not mean children did not receive food contaminated with pesticides or received high quality diverse food in general.
  34. 34. Management steps taken on food security after the Chernobyl disaster • Phasing-out of milk selling from milk tanks to people, who brought recyclable open jars to buy their milk. Results / Comments on effectiveness • This allowed improve quality of consumed milk (decrease its bacterial contamination). Though contamination of milk with radioactive air particles was high only in first weeks after the disaster.
  35. 35. Management steps taken on food security after the Chernobyl disaster • People from some affected areas (up to 100 km from Chernobyl) were needlessly included in post-Chernobyl legislation and paid regular benefits. Results / Comments on effectiveness • Exposure of these people did not exceed the natural background levels of many inhabited regions around the world. These millions of people were falsely identified as the major victims of the catastrophe. • However, paid benefits could have allowed them to improve their nutrition (Filyshkin 1996).
  36. 36. Management steps taken on food security after the Chernobyl disaster • Almost no attempts were made to promote food processing (both industrial and during home cooking), which can decrease incorporation of radionuclides (Nesterenko, Nesterenko 2009). • Generally, food security measures taken lacked consistency, well-balanced approach, proper public awareness building, effectiveness (removing contaminated products and bringing safe products to people rather than relocating one million people).
  37. 37. Risk communication on food safety and food choices • Some limited data on high contamination of dairy products, mushrooms and wild berries appeared in the Ukrainian mass media only about a month after the disaster. • Still there was lack of complex well-grounded educational programs to answer all public questions. • This created anxiety and distrust among population. • This was also due to cognitive dissonance in the messages. • Furthermore, some mass media reported scientifically absurd facts of mutations in cattle. This increased public fears and mistrust to both government and the mass media.
  38. 38. Changes in perceptions, behavior of population and its exposure to radioactive food after Chernobyl Perception of population and its specific groups on food safety The most affected groups are: • People who were first resettled from 30 km zone and returned back, though it was not officially allowed at the beginning (samosely); • professional fishermen; • local residents whose diet depend on fish or wild berries/mushrooms or local dairy products and meat; • farmers dealing with irrigated agricultural products (or dairy) and consuming them themselves; • clean-up workers; • pregnant women; children.
  39. 39. Changes in perceptions, behavior of population and its exposure to radioactive food after Chernobyl Severe problems are faced by the illegal residents (self-settlers or samosely) – those who were evcauated of the 30 kilometer zone, but tried to return to their homes in the zone despite that it was considered legal: • These people have had difficulties with access to food and safe shelter. • Confrontation with police. • No access to utilities, medical and other basic services etc.
  40. 40. Changes in perceptions, behavior of population and its exposure to radioactive food after Chernobyl •Most of the affected population was evacuated and resettled in Ukraine. •Some residents remained or illegally returned to the Chernobyl exclusion zone ignoring health risks. •Majority is elderly people. •The government failed to support them. Furthermore, there was a forced attempt to resettle the returned people in 1989 by police. •Community resilience.
  41. 41. Changes in perceptions, behavior of population and its exposure to radioactive food after Chernobyl •In 1993, the government and local authorities changed their attitudes towards self-settlers and informally recognized their presence in this zone. •The self-settlers received at least some attention and the shops on the wheels started bringing bread and some other limited food items to their area once a week. •This group had problems with adequate information, food choices, adequacy of compensations. •Most of them have never had a nutrition consultation with an expert and some even cannot consult a doctor. Food accessibility remained at almost survival level. All food was grown and processed locally. Some self-settlers were starving. Police started providing the hot meals for elderly self-settlers in the police cafeterias in these remote areas.
  42. 42. Changes in perceptions, behavior of population and its exposure to radioactive food after Chernobyl • The scientists (Onishi at al. 2007, 269-270) estimated that the professional fishermen would receive the highest dose, including from radioactive sediments in the river system and the Kyiv reservoir. • Neither fishermen, nor other vulnerable groups were properly informed on risks. Their risk perceptions ranged from ignorance to panic. • Immediately after the disaster there were rumors that red wine helps decrease exposure (it does truly to some small degree if consumed immediately after exposure). Thus, there were cases when children were taken to hospitals drunk or even poisoned after parents gave them wine. • The behavior of people also was very different – from ignorance to avoiding meat/ dairy/berries/mushrooms and to fleeing from the area.
  43. 43. Changes in perceptions, behavior of population and its exposure to radioactive food after Chernobyl • A special group is cleanup workers. • The Minister of Health said about the Chernobyl emergency workers, "no one has ever defined the value of a human (life) here" (Petryna 2002, 3). Furthermore, many cleanup workers report being treated not as human employees, but as "biological resources to be used and thrown out. … *S+lated for biorobotic death" (Petryna 30). • Even after robots become available, they were often out of service. And cleanup workers replaced robots all the time. • Medical staff was prohibited from mentioning any connections between illness of the cleanup workers with their stay in the Chernobyl zone. • This group was also not properly informed on risks and did not receive risk reducing food. • The monetary compensation they receive was delayed, not adequate in terms of health consequences and a special diet they needed.
  44. 44. Changes in perceptions, behavior of population and its exposure to radioactive food after the Chernobyl • The least investigated group includes pregnant women. • Many pregnant women in Ukraine (and even Europe-wide) were very strongly advised to have abortion without explanation of all risks. • Their nutritional needs were also ignored. Some scientists speculated about the World Health Organization estimation that 250,000 couples across Europe selected to have an abortion in the decade following Chernobyl (Baker, 2001; Peterka at al. 2004). • According to the Ukrainian governmental reports, thirty percent of Ukrainian children born since Chernobyl are with physical or mental defects. 24 women in 100,000 died during delivery, and 70 percent of women experience difficulties during childbirth. • The country’s birth rate decreased from 691,000 in 1989 down to 385,000 in 2000. About 12 out of every 1,000 newborns die (Editorial, 2002). • However, there is an ongoing discussion about evaluation of stochastic and non-stochastic consequences of the catastrophe.
  45. 45. What are the lessons learned from Chernobyl? • Gould (1990) came to the conclusion that after governments took advice of nuclear industry, there was usually manipulation and suppression of information and it affected all related decisions and research, including food security studies. • There are similar cases of officials’ opposition to independent investigation in many states. • Polish and even Swedish scientists were experiencing problems because of political sensitivity of research on Chernobyl.
  46. 46. What are the lessons learned from Chernobyl? • Gould studied the relationship between the European countries dependence on nuclear energy and degree of information manipulation or suppression about Chernobyl in these countries (in %). • The Gould findings show that Denmark, Portugal, Norway, Austria and Eire do not have the described relationship, while Soviet Union comes with 10.3%, Belgium - 59.8% and France - 64.8% (Gould, 1990, 115). • Such high percentage raises the question how authorities and press of some countries would react to the Chernobyl-like crisis, if it had happened not in the USSR, but at home.
  47. 47. What are the lessons learned from Chernobyl? • Gould believes that the inadequate „reactions are not confined to the Soviet bureaucracy; they are the natural reaction of any bureaucracy to smother „unfortunate news“. The suppression of information is the arrogant and endemic curse of all modern bureaucracies, a curse that is constituted of what they are” (Gould, 1990, 22). • The information about a similar fire in graphite reactor at the Windscale (UK) in 1957 was suppressed and made public only after three days – the situation similar to the Chernobyl case (Gould, 1990, 17). • Furthermore, after the British data about „high levels of cesium were found in the pastures around the nuclear reprocessing plant, the government claimed that it was due to Chernobyl fallout“(Gould, 1990, 17).
  48. 48. What are the lessons learned from Chernobyl? Gould analyzed seven ways how bureaucrats respond to a nuclear crisis. The discovered tactics across Europe show the following trends: – – – – – – – „suppression or covering up; defining the problem away; authoritative belittling; arithmetic obfuscation; public relations; creative deception; and information reduction” (Gould, 1990, 113).
  49. 49. Lessons after Chernobyl on Food Security • Management steps on food security lacked consistency, proper education/risk communication, were not timely, did not account for most vulnerable groups. • What could have worked better: - State wide information campaign - Bringing safe food from other regions - Promoting radioactive-wise food processing (like discarding meat broth)
  50. 50. Research needs • Iouli Andreev who ran the Soviet Spetsatom agency: "After Chernobyl, all the force of the nuclear industry was directed to hide this event, for not creating damage to their reputation. The Chernobyl experience was not studied properly because who has money for studying? Only industry. But industry doesn't like it“ (Shields, 2011).
  51. 51. What are the lessons learned from Chernobyl? • The United States government rewrites its plans for responding to radiation contamination focusing on long-term cleanup instead of emergency response. • Food Guidance: Planners are referred to current guidance on radioactive contamination in food from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) PAG Manual. Protective Action Guides And Planning Guidance For Radiological Incidents. U.S Environmental Protection Agency Draft for Interim Use and Public Comment March 2013 http://www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/er/pag-manual-interim-public-comment-4-22013.pdf http://www.epa.gov/radiation/rert/pags.html U.S. Rethinks How to Respond to Nuclear Disaster: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/science/earth/new-rules-for-us-nucleardisaster-response.html?_r=0
  52. 52. Overview of Fukushima disaster • Animated map showing the plume as it expands across the Pacific: http://cerea.enpc.fr/HomePages/bocquet/Doc/fukushi ma-Cs137-wide.swf • Japanese corporations already have history of the cover-up after nuclear accidents • “Falsification of inspection records regarding cracks at three nuclear power plants by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)” (Tsuchiya, 2003) long before the disaster in 2011.
  53. 53. Overview of Fukushima disaster There are many similarities in transparency issues after the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. • According to Jun Shigemura, the National Defense Medical College in Saitama, near Tokyo: “a combination of poor public communication by the authorities and Tepco over radiation levels and the danger they present to health, coupled with widespread uncertainty over the future, had created a "mental health crisis" among Fukushima residents” (McCurry, 2013, p.791).
  54. 54. Overview of Fukushima disaster • The Japanese government made many positive statements following the disaster on one site and still told the affecting people not to eat the contaminated food. • According to experts, “restrictions on consumption of food (excluding water) were enforced only in Fukushima Prefecture. Distribution restrictions were enforced in Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba and Kanagawa Prefectures” (Hamada, Ogino, 2012, p.89).
  55. 55. Overview of Fukushima disaster • Japanese scientists are optimistic about their findings and radioactivity measurements performed by local government. • Only 3% of the agricultural products “samples investigated contained >500 Bq/kg, whereas the remaining 97% contained less than the provisional regulation level of 500 Bq/kg in 2011” (Nihei, 2013, p.73). • The WHO experts confirm many findings, but are concerned with the limited sources. “Although the assessment was intended to be realistic, given the limited information available to the Dose Expert Panel during its period of work, some conservative assumptions were adopted to avoid any underestimation of doses” (WHO 2013, p.38).
  56. 56. Overview of Fukushima disaster • Iida Tetsunari criticized the nuclear industry culture. • During his meeting in Toronto, he compared it “to the culture surrounding the creation and ultimate destruction of the famous Japanese Battleship, the Yamato. • A myth surrounded the great battleship: that it was infallible and unsinkable – a lasting image that led to the idolization of the Yamato as a beacon of Japan’s success in its endeavors. Similarly, myths cloud the truths about nuclear future – the industry continues to insist that it is not only safe and economical, but also integral to Japan’s energy system and economy” (Tetsunari, 2013).
  57. 57. Overview of Fukushima disaster • Iida Tetsunari analyzed lack of basic information about Fukushima disaster comparing it to the Chernobyl tragedy in his presentation. • The Japanese government failed to provide the clear boundaries for a monitoring zone and a zone with right to evacuate. • The requirements for a forced evacuation zone are 4 times greater as they were after the Chernobyl disaster. • These data raise concern about proper management.
  58. 58. Overview of Fukushima disaster (Tetsunari, 2013)
  59. 59. Overview of Fukushima disaster • Finally, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed in October 2013 that his country is in need of global aid: • "We are wide open to receive the most advanced knowledge from overseas to contain the problem (…) My country needs your knowledge and expertise” (Smith, 2013). • It is better late than never, but international experts need more access to the data. • A source review for food security policies and responses after Fukushima disaster still gives limited information. • Furthermore, a concern remains about corporate culture avoiding failure that limits an access to information. More transparency and further research is needed.
  60. 60. Conclusions and recommendations The conducted critical review of literature and personal data confirm that: • Many food products were contaminated (meat, dairy, mushrooms, berries, vegetables) and contributed to internal exposure dose in Ukraine. • Policies and management steps taken by the Ukrainian government after the disaster were of efficiency in terms of food security of affected people. These steps lacked consistency, proper risk communication, and combined approach. They were often very expensive and at the same time not very effective (as with relocation of people), simpler steps like bringing people adequate food from other areas could have been more effective.
  61. 61. Conclusions and recommendations • Lack of social justice was demonstrated in governmental dealing with samosely, who still suffer from food insecurity (lack of food access, consumption of primarily self-produced contaminated food, lack of nutrition consultations, etc). • Lack of proper information created fears, distrust and such extremes in behavior as total avoidance of dairy products, giving wine to children etc. • The Japanese government does not apply many lessons learned from Chernobyl dealing with the Fukushima tragedy.
  62. 62. Feedback from participants
  63. 63. Future cooperation Looking for joint research opportunities Web-site: http://fromchernobyltofukushima.com E-Mail: belyakov@ryerson.ca
  64. 64. Dr. Alexander Belyakov Ryerson University Toronto, Canada Belyakov@ryerson.ca http://fromchernobyltofukushima.com All Chernobyl photos taken by the author Full bibliography available on request

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