Beck Dismisses Cancer Deaths From Chernobyl

Glenn Beck accused the “I hate nukes” people at the United Nations of distorting the number of deaths resulting from the Chernobyl disaster. In fact, the UN's estimated death toll of 4,000 includes fatalities connected to increased exposure to radiation, and that figure is far lower than estimates by other reputable scientists.

Beck Disappears Thousands Of Cancer Deaths Linked To Chernobyl

Beck: The “I Hate Nukes” People At The UN “Adjusted” The Number Of Deaths. From the March 15 edition of The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN BECK: The UN says the worst nuclear disaster in human history is Chernobyl. The UN says 4,000 people died because of that. That's the “I hate nukes” people that have adjusted that number. Stu, what are the confirmed dead in -- from Chernobyl? Was it 40?

STU BURGUIERE: Uh, I believe it was - estimates ranged between about 55 and 70.

BECK: Okay. Many of those were in the stage that, God forbid, we now start to head towards in Japan. Those were the people that went in and did the work on the containment facility.

BURGUIERE: Yeah, the vast majority. There were some, children, unfortunately afterwards who drank contaminated milk and passed away. You've got to believe that Japan is not treating their citizens like the Soviet Union did, and feeding children contaminated milk.

BECK: Correct.

BURGUIERE: So hopefully we can avoid a lot of that. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 3/15/11]

Beck's Figure Doesn't Include Later Deaths Related To Radiation Exposure

UN Estimated That Chernobyl Could Lead To 4,000 Deaths Tied To Increased Exposure To Radiation. From The Chernobyl Forum report, which is based on the views of over 100 experts:

The international expert group predicts that among the 600 000 persons receiving more significant exposures (liquidators working in 1986-1987, evacuees, and residents of the most 'contaminated' areas), the possible increase in cancer mortality due to this radiation exposure might be up to a few per cent. This might eventually represent up to four thousand fatal cancers in addition to the approximately 100 000 fatal cancers to be expected due to all other causes in this population. Among the 5 million persons residing in other 'contaminated' areas, the doses are much lower and any projected increases are more speculative, but are expected to make a difference of less than one per cent in cancer mortality.


Some radiation-induced increases in fatal leukaemia, solid cancers and circulatory system diseases have been reported in Russian emergency and recovery operation workers. According to data from the Russian Registry, in 1991-1998, in the cohort of 61000 Russian workers exposed to an average dose of 107 mSv about 5% of all fatalities that occurred may have been due to radiation exposure. These findings, however, should be considered as preliminary and need confirmation in better-designed studies with careful individual dose reconstruction. [Chernobyl Forum, 2003-2005]

UN Estimated Around 56 Direct Deaths But Attributed Thousands More To Lingering Radiation. From The Daily Telegraph:

On April 26, 1986, an explosion and fire in a reactor at the country's Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant resulted in the world's worst nuclear accident in history. Reports prepared by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization attributed 56 direct deaths to the accident and estimated there may have been 4,000 extra cancer deaths. [The Daily Telegraph, 12/11/10, accessed via Nexis]

UN's Estimate Was Lower Than Other Estimates From Reputable Scientists

Guardian: UN Estimate Is Lower Than Those Of “Other Reputable Scientists.” From The Guardian:

The UN's World Health Organisation and the International Atomic Energy Agency claim that only 56 people have died as a direct result of the radiation released at Chernobyl and that about 4,000 will die from it eventually.

They also say that only a few children have died of cancers since the accident and, that most of the illnesses usually linked to Chernobyl are due to psychological distress, radiophobia or poverty and unhealthy living.

But other reputable scientists researching the most radiation-contaminated areas of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are not convinced. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, another UN agency, predicts 16,000 deaths from Chernobyl; an assessment by the Russian academy of sciences says there have been 60,000 deaths so far in Russia and an estimated 140,000 in Ukraine and Belarus.

Meanwhile, the Belarus national academy of sciences estimates 93,000 deaths so far and 270,000 cancers, and the Ukrainian national commission for radiation protection calculates 500,000 deaths so far.

The mismatches in figures arise because there have been no comprehensive, co-ordinated studies of the health consequences of the accident. This is in contrast to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where official research showed that the main rise in most types of cancer and non-cancer diseases only became apparent years after the atomic bombs fell.

With Chernobyl there have been difficulties in gathering reliable data from areas left in administrative chaos after the accident. Hundreds of thousands of people were moved away from the affected areas, and the break-up of the Soviet Union led to records being lost.

Controversy rages over the agendas of the IAEA, which has promoted civil nuclear power over the past 30 years, and the WHO. The UN accepts only peer-reviewed scientific studies written in certain journals in English, a rule said to exclude dozens of other studies. [The Guardian, 1/10/10, via Nexis, emphasis added]