'No Danger'

Chernobyl's radioactive cloud had not yet reached the shores of the Pacific when official U.S. government pronouncements began assuring citizens that there was no danger to the public health. The same message had already been delivered by governments of other countries to their citizens as the radioactive cloud passed overhead.

Socialist and capitalist countries alike could agree that the radioactive release was safe for everyone living outside the immediate area of the Chernobyl plant. Radiation levels increased by more than 500 percent in some areas hundreds of miles away from the accident, but citizens were still assured this was safe. And in what can only be viewed as political double talk, some governments actually told their citizens the air was perfectly safe to breathe, while the fruit and vegetables in the same places might be unsafe to eat.

The Chernobyl reactor meltdown was predictable. The location and time were unknown, of course, but a nuclear disaster of this magnitude was bound to happen once, and unfortunately, it's bound to happen again.

The response of governments throughout the world has also been predictable. Hasty assurances of public safety were followed with detailed explanations of why a nuclear power disaster could not occur in their countries. And most predictable of all was the nearly unanimous silence about the victims of this accident.

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