Twenty five years on, agreement on the number of Chernobyl-related health cases remains hard to come by.
Kiev says five million people across Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were affected. The UN recognises 50 deaths and 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer as being a direct result of the disaster
Doctor Ausrele Kesminiene, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, treated some Chernobyl clean-up workers. She spoke to euronews at IARC HQ in Lyon, France. She said the main consequence of the Chernobyl accident was the increase in thyroid cancer among those exposed to the radiation as children and adolescents.
“There have been some studies that have shown an increase in some chromosomal abnormalities in children who were born to parents who participated in the clean up activities in the Chernobyl area,” she said.
“Our studies on the Chernobyl clean-up workers show some increase in the risk of haematological malignancies, probably of thyroid cancer, and of course, anxiety plays an important role.”
The doctor, who is Lithuanian, also criticised the authorities for failing to prepare the Chernobyl liquidators adequately.
“Most of them were military reservists. They had no choice. They were sent to the area without any information about protective measures, about possible health risks.”
Kesminiene drew a comparison with Japan’s own nuclear crisis and the stricken Fukushima plant.
“If we really want to know what the consequences of Fukushima are going to be, it is very important that there is a monitoring of the population, so that this information is properly recorded, properly documented, properly kept.”