25th Chernobyl Accident Commemoration Events - Candlelight Vigil in Santa Fe on Tuesday, April 26 at 7 pm

April 22, 2011

The Bellona Foundation, based in St. Petersburg, Russia, is coordinating international commemorative events for the 25th year since the Chernobyl accident, which occurred on April 26, 1986. www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2010/chernobyl-25 They recommend that people light 25 candles in the center of their town. In Santa Fe, CCNS and other sponsors are organizing a candlelight vigil at DeVargas Park, right next to the Santa Fe River on Alameda, beginning at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 26th.

Given the ongoing Japanese nuclear crisis, we see repeated attempts to downplay how many deaths can be attributed to the Chernobyl accident. Estimates range from less than 3,000 to over 985,000. There is renewed interest in the debate about radiation risk and the definition of background radiation. This usually involves questions of how to measure one's exposure to the radiation that enters the body through a cut, or by inhalation or ingestion of contaminated food, called internal radiation.

A recent Guardian story documented the history of the development of how to measure radiation. It presented an overview of the ways that U.S. and international agencies have tried to modify statements of actual exposure by adding together both internal and external exposures, as well as averaging the exposure over a long period of time, such as a lifetime, and estimating the exposure and dose through computer modeling. Sometimes background radiation is subtracted, sometimes not. www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/20/chernobyl-radiation-risk-dose-density The Guardian states that "Chernobyl is an acid test of the [international] risk model" and if the radiation that blanketed the Earth from the Chernobyl accident "was proved to cause any health detriment, the [international] model would fall and the economics of nuclear power would worsen dramatically. So Chernobyl denial is crucial to nuclear interests."

Jon Block is one of the scheduled speakers for the candelight vigil. He was a conference participant in the 2006 Chernobyl 20+year event in Kiev, Ukraine. He said, "Having visited the exclusion zone, the reactor site, and the abandoned city of Pripyat, for me, the lessons of Chernobyl were written upon the human and natural environment that I witnessed there. Air, land, water and even the genetic basis of all plant, human and animal life were deformed or destroyed forever by the radiation from that awful catastrophe. The continuing accident at Fukushima reminds us that we must not forget. We must bring these lessons to the new generations so that all of the people of the world dedicate themselves to breaking the nuclear fuel chain once for all."

The commemorative candlelight vigil will take place in DeVargas Park, beginning at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 26. For more information, please call CCNS at 505 986-1973.

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