“Civilian” technologies and nuclear proliferation

Publish date: November 9, 2005

Bellona presents “The Inevitable Link Between Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Weapons”, a report by respected environmentalist and adviser to the Russian Academy of Sciences, Aleksei Yablokov. The report covers technological and political aspects of nuclear non-proliferation, as well as the role of the IAEA in regulating this process.

Despite the end of the nuclear confrontation, the world is becoming increasingly nuclear-weaponised. One reason for the ineffectiveness of the non-proliferation regime, according to the report’s author, lies in the inseparable link between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. Proliferation of nuclear weapons is approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), under the guise of the “civilian” nuclear industry.

The IAEA is in no position to provide effective control over the use of “civilian” nuclear technologies for nuclear-weapons purposes.

“History has shown that the IAEA has played and continues to play a cloaking role for the widespread proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Yablokov says. “By getting dual-use technologies with IAEA help, dozens of countries have, with the open connivance of the IAEA, used these technologies to develop nuclear weapons.”

The IAEA report on the consequences of Chernobyl
“There is no doubt that the IAEA is consciously and purposefully hiding information that could be dangerous for the goal of nuclear-technology proliferation,” Yablokov says.

In 1959, the IAEA concluded an official agreement with the World Health Organisation (WHO), under which initiatives proposed by one party in which the other party had a significant interest had to be agreed by both parties before being implemented.

In September of this year, the IAEA jointly with the WHO circulated a report on the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster that shocked many radiation specialists. The report alleged that only 50 people died as a result of Chernobyl, and that long-term effects could cause the death of only 4,000. No research was carried out in many European countries affected by the Chernobyl fallout, and none of the “liquidators” who worked to clean up after Chernobyl were tested. In short, the figures largely ignored most consequences of Chernobyl, except for irradiation of a few liquidators and inhabitants of the regions immediately surrounding the plant. Most environmentalists say that the main aim of the IAEA was to drastically reduce the consequences of Chernobyl in order to stimulate the further construction of nuclear plants around the world.

According to Yablokov, the IAEA’s methodology regarding radiation risks was based exclusively on official figures and ignored the fact that, in the years immediately following Chernobyl, doctors were ordered not to make diagnoses connected to irradiation.

“Scientists around the world have criticized this methodology as unscientific,” Yablokov says. “The IAEA’s methodology on radiation risks is based on fatal cancers – but not even on all fatal cancers. For example, if you smoke and die of lung cancer, then even if this lung cancer spread as a result of radiation, it is not counted as being linked to radiation, because you smoke.”

“Non-fatal cancers are completely ignored, as are all other diseases, except for major hereditary abnormalities,” Yablokov says. “But we know that there are hundreds or thousands of dfferent hereditary abnormalities. Only a few major ones were counted. So the real consequences of any radiation accidents appear to be hundreds of times lower. And now these completely monstrous measures are being applied to Chernobyl, and the conclusion is that the accident was nothing to worry about.”

“This cynical profanation of the consequences of the worst man-made catastrophe in history is blasphemous to the many victims of Chernobyl, and opens the door to a new round of pro-nuclear propaganda aimed at reviving NPP-construction programmes,” Yablokov says. “This is what nuclear scientist want – for the world to forget about Chernobyl.”

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