Weighing up nuclear power

 

A chara, – As a Chernobyl worker, I found myself agreeing with John Gibbons (“Science does not support critics of nuclear power”, Opinion, June 5th).

There was as a increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer for the first few years, but no evidence of major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 25 years after the event. This is not a popular thing to say, but its based on scientific fact.

Our charity was founded in 1993 to aid Belarusian children who were affected by the Chernobyl disaster. However over a period of 20 years we came to the realisation that the illnesses affecting many of the children of Belarus were primarily due to the consequences arising out of poverty, deprivation and the ignorance of basic hygiene standards to maintain a healthy standard of living. Poverty is the big problem in Belarus in 2013: I have seen children with physical and intellectual disabilities (whose parents sometimes are ashamed of them), living in appalling conditions, with mothers in dire straits. They have no home help, no respite, no hoists, and very little assistance from the state.

I am neutral in the nuclear debate. As a nurse in care of the elderly, I see the results of breathing air contaminated by fossil fuel burning. My final point is that all Chernobyl charities should be realistic, and tell it as it is. – Is mise,

MARY FINNEGAN,

Chairperson,

Friends of the Children of

Chernobyl,

The Commons,

Thurles, Co Tipperary.