The Chernobyl accident was probably the worst possible catastrophe of a nuclear power station. It was the only such catastrophe since the advent of nuclear power 55 years ago. It resulted in a total meltdown of the reactor core, a vast emission of radionuclides, and early deaths of only 31 persons. Its enormous political, economic, social and psychological impact was mainly due to deeply rooted fear of radiation induced by the linear nonthreshold hypothesis (LNT) assumption. It was a historic event that provided invaluable lessons for nuclear industry and risk philosophy. One of them is demonstration that counted per electricity units produced, early Chernobyl fatalities amounted to 0.86 death/GWeyear), and they were 47 times lower than from hydroelectric stations (~40 deaths/GWeyear). The accident demonstrated that using the LNT assumption as a basis for protection measures and radiation dose limitations was counterproductive, and lead to sufferings and pauperization of millions of inhabitants of contaminated areas. The projections of thousands of late cancer deaths based on LNT, are in conflict with observations that in comparison with general population of Russia, a 15% to 30% deficit of solid cancer mortality was found among the Russian emergency workers, and a 5% deficit solid cancer incidence among the population of most contaminated areas.
"OBSERVATIONS ON THE CHERNOBYL DISASTER AND LNT,"
Dose-Response: An International Journal: Vol. 8
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dose_response/vol8/iss2/5