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Page Updated: 16-Sep-2007
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Risk Assessment of Chernobyl Accident Consequences:
Lessons Learned for the Future


Pilot Study: Risk Assessment of Chernobyl Accident Consequences

Outline of the project

The Chernobyl accident triggered a considerable improvement of national and international procedures for nuclear emergency management and preparedness, especially in the areas of international communication and information exchange. However, there still remains room for improvement, for example in the field of coordinating the response to nuclear accidents, as well as in the area of decision making in the initial and later phases after an accident.

The purpose of this study group is to focus on lessons learned from the Chernobyl accident. In order to extract lessons learned, we must first review the current state of knowledge regarding the Chernobyl accident. We will then coalesce this information into recommendations for further research and for improving decision making while responding to future accidents. Specific issues to be reviewed are:

The Chernobyl accident resulted in widespread radioactive contamination on the territories of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The main radionuclides were 137Cs and 131I. We will review current knowledge of the doses received by populations in the affected countries. Particular attention will be also given to the most critical exposure patterns, that may be assumed to be responsible of the most serious health effects, with the purpose of obtaining information suitable for effective prevention strategies in similar conditions.

Effects on Children
The Chernobyl accident resulted in a significant increase in the number of thyroid cancers in children. Thyroid cancers were most prevalent in children aged 0 to 5 years at the time of the accident, and in areas assessed to be the more heavily contaminated with 131I. We will review the current knowledge on this issue.

Other Carcinogenic Effects
The existing epidemiological studies and evaluations relative to cancer effects, other than children thyroid cancer, have provided not fully consistent results. It seems important to further investigate these aspects, in order to carry out a comprehensive carcinogenic risk evaluation, also considering the still existing uncertainties. The information on the effects identified in other radiation exposed populations could also provide an appropriate framework for this task.

Non-Cancer Endpoints
A number of radiation related non-cancer endpoints are of concern following the Chernobyl accident. We will review the current knowledge on the issue.

Psychological Effects
A number of non-radiation related health effects have appeared in affected populations as a result of the social, cultural and psychological stress caused by the accident the Chernobyl accident. We will review the current status of research on this issue.