Dr. Alexey Nesterenko is the director of The Institute of Radiating Safety "BELRAD" (Institute "BELRAD"). BELRAD was created in 1990 and has acted as an independent non-state organization. The goal of activity of the BELRAD Institute is radiation monitoring of the inhabitants of the Chernobyl zone and their foodstuffs, development of measures on maintenance of radiation safety and protection of the population on territories contaminated by radionuclides by realization of necessary scientific research, development and organization of implementation of their results in practice. Dr. Nesterenko answers some questions raised by Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation.
Question 1- Could you comment on what is happening in Fukushima?
From an emotional point of view - it is a huge lie from the government and the medical people. Most dangerous now is that the first NPP is still melting, secondly a lot of hot spots near big concentrations of people and high background levels near Fukushima city.
Question 2- Do you see any similarities and differences between Belarus and Fukushima?
The similarity is in the initial high doses which were not measured.
Differences - mainly due to the food rations and the small number of people in Japan who grow vegetables, cows for their own use - mainly food is coming through the stores.
Question 3- What is your advice to the parents in Fukushima, based on your experience of working in Belarus?
The starting point for radiation protection is the need for a permanent and comprehensive radiation monitoring of people, and the annual dose of 0.1 mSv/y.
• The law must establish social benefits to citizens, compensation, opportunities for employment and housing, and so on.
• Preparation of detailed maps of radioactive contamination of settlements, the designation of places with high background radiation with special signs.
• Everywhere in Japan to conduct strict radiation monitoring of food at all stages (growing of agricultural products, their production and immediately before sending to the distribution network)
• Active participation of the public in the background measurements, products and people. Mandatory participation of NGOs and citizens in the decision-making process of resettlement, compensation.
• Information and education on radiation protection.
Question 4- Could you give some messages to the people in Fukushima?
Chernobyl and Fukushima - the same problems, the same errors. Although it seemed that the main reason for the severe consequences of Chernobyl was due to the USSR political system, Japan: has a very different political system, and other natural conditions, a different culture and traditions. But the mistakes are the same. The main mistake - an attempt to hide information about the true extent of radiation accidents, minimize its extent, distort the truth.
After the accident at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima it was found that the population of Japan had limited knowledge of radiation issues, there are no documents, regulations, governing the behaviour of people in the case of a radiation accident, there is no literature, video, which could help people to understand the situation and to take the basic precautions of radiation protection.
The problems of the Chernobyl disaster in our country will continue to exist. People living in areas contaminated by Chernobyl radionuclides must learn to protect themselves constantly from radiation exposure, to live in radioactive contamination, to help oneself and one’s family to minimize the impact of Chernobyl. So, dear people of Fukushima - if you have a possibility to leave for clean, but for sure clean places, it is better to leave the places where you spend more than 5-6 hours daily in areas with a background radiation in excess of 0,5 microSv/hour. If it is not possible for you to go elsewhere - you must learn to protect yourself and your children from radiation. It needs time, courage but this is the only way.
Alexey Nesterenko The Institute of Radiating Safety "BELRAD"