Chernobyl La era nuclear empieza a partir de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, a 50 aos de este suceso histrico, dos ciudades nuevas se han levantado de las cenizas atmicas de esta catastrfica guerra. En una de estas ciudades, Chernobyl, a diez aos de la explosin nuclear, poblaciones enteras han sido abandonadas alrededor del reactor destruido, para escapar del agua y del alimento contaminados producidos en el suelo que una vez fuera rico. En el mismo perodo desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial, la mayora de los bosques tropicales fueron destruidos. Se encontro una declinacin dramtica en las especies de plantas y de animales. Los antroplogos registraron una catstrofe global tan enorme que probablemente no sea superada a lo largo de la historia .

Todava hay una pregunta en cuanto a la supervivencia humana ms all de la extensin global del plutonio vaporizado Chernobyl. Esto se relaciona no solamente con una etiqueta de plstico elemental, sino tambin con los efectos genticos, los cuales son mucho ms difciles de comprobar. Los defectos genticos, el cncer, la leucemia y los problemas de la fertilidad sern consecuencias probables. La variedad de impactos sobre el sistema inmune son tambin difciles de predecir. Sin embargo, la industria nuclear asume con seguridad que el pblico no asociar la enfermedad con la contaminacin. Muchos continan diciendo que las 31 personas que murieron luchando contra el fuego en Chernobyl fueron las nicas vctimas de la radiacin.

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Hace catorce aos, los habitantes de Ucrania, especialmente los del norte de Kiev, la capital de esta exrepblica sovitica, comenzaban a vivir lo imaginable: explotaba un reactor de la planta nuclear de Chernobyl. El desastre, fruto del error humano, sucedi tan rpido que no hubo momento para evitarlo o correr del peligro. Las autoridades sovticas tardaron en reaccionar y en advertir a la poblacin sobre los riesgos. ECOLOGA The most common birth-defects in animals are the absence of one or more extremities, deformation of the skull or spine, absence of eyes, overgrowth of the eyelids, lack of hair, exposed internal organs, or absence of an anus. The visits of various commissions have not yet resulted in any final conclusion or evaluation of these animal deformities.

The question remains, What will happen tomorrow? GENTICA As a step toward an assessment of the effects of the radio-ecological situation on living creatures, Belarus scientists havestudied specimens of plants and wild animals within the contaminated zone and compared their physiology and behavior withthose on control specimens in special experimental areas outside the 30-km Zone. The genetic effects of radiation on the chromatin apparatus of plants were revealed in a study of the frequency of mitotic anomalies in the seedlings of various types of barley rye and wheat grown at an experimental station in the Khoiniki region. It was established that different strains reacted differently to radioactive contamination. The cesium-134/7 content of rye and wheat grains grown in Khoiniki was an order of magnitude higher than that of grain grown in Minsk province, while there was little difference in the case of barley. An analysis of chromosomal aberrations year by year has shown that the frequency of mitotic anomalies in plants grown in the contaminated zone in 1987 was little different from the frequency observed in ecologically clean areas.

In 1988, however, in all types of plants under observation there was a noticeable rise in the frequency of chromosomal aberrations. Signs of degeneration and destruction have also been noted in the pancreas, leading to increased permeability of the blood vessels, leucocyte infiltration, changes in the vessel walls, and the abnormal growth of connective tissue. At the same time, the immune system has been significantly damaged, as is shown by a change in the number of differentiated B-lymphocytes in the bone marrow, the reduction of polyferation, the differentiation and migration of T-lymphocytes, a disequilibrium of the proportions among thymocytes, etc. Damage to the structure and function of the membranes of the lymphocytes is evident, as is damage to the peripheral hormonal action machanisms and to the system of peroxide oxidation of lipids, along with an increased level of wasteproducts in the blood and an accompanying drop in the activity of the antioxidants systems. There are marked changes in thefunction of the cell genome, etc. Conclusin We challenge the nuclear professionals to stand on equal ground with the victims.

The victims are very much alone, and much of the public is looking the other way. Getting Americans to look at Chernobyl requires awareness of the emotional impact including denial. The need to be impartial often renders people aloof. A climate of insensitivity is fed by competition while the cold cutting edge works best with a forced sense of well-being, while the balance of truth is undermined by accusations of false fears. In order to make the actions speak, they must be more than symbolic but active. Donations of baby-food, vitamins, food supplements, antibiotics and pain-killers were requested by a number of radiation victims groups in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. By helping in these regards, it is made clear the real level of the problems.

Prayers are needed, too. But action is the loudest prayer. Healing is an expression of the determination to survive. Medical healing has its parallels in the structures in which we live. Designs for sustainable living are necessary for choices for the future. Thousands of people now living in contaminated zones should be mobilized to move to safe areas and build new cities in balance with nature, using easily obtained materials, constructed for the long run.

Designs such as those of Buckminster Fuller (geodesic domes), Paolo Soleri (arcologies) and the Center for Sustainable Cities (Sustainable Village Implantations). Alternative energy sources need to be tapped, including hydrogen fuel cells and non-imaging optical lens concentrators (Argonne Labs), wind, photovoltaics and biomass. Options for a non-nuclear future exist, but they are the best kept secrets of the Nuclear Age. Divulging these secrets will go a long way to ending the nightmare. Bibliography Science.