Did the radioactive cloud from Chernobyl cause serious health problems in France?
No, a court in Paris has ruled, saying there is no scientific proof of a link. The tribunal has dismissed a decade-long bid by researchers and thyroid cancer victims to prove the risks in 1986 were downplayed.
Lawyer Bernard Fau, representing a thyroid patients’ association, expressed his disappointment. He said many will see the outcome as a way of sweeping a big case under the carpet.
“It seems to me, from a public opinion point of view, that our fellow citizens could be a little frustrated at how the legal process has been carried out,” he told reporters.
But Public Prosecutor’s spokeswoman Solène Dubois stressed it is now 25 years since Chernobyl. She said that 10 years of legal procedure had not established a link between the radioactive cloud’s passage over France and health problems.
Critics complain that French authorities were negligent, failing to take preventive measures such as banning the consumption of fresh produce. Some claim the effects of Chernobyl were minimised, partly to protect France’s own nuclear industry.