Nuclear Nightmares: Twenty Years Since Chernobyl by Knoth and de Jong


MINSK, BELARUS: Twin brothers Michael and Vladimir Iariga, 16 years old.
Michael, with hydrocephalus, is 5 minutes older than Vladimir, who is deaf. (Photo: Robert Knoth)

The Chernobyl disaster may seem like a distant memory to you and me, but more than twenty years later, the after effects of the nuclear disaster are still felt by many people.

In their book, Nuclear Nightmares: Twenty Years Since Chernobyl, photographer Robert Knoth and reporter Antoinette de Jong documented - with harrowing photos - the suffering of victims poisoned by radioactivity:

Chernobyl was just one of the devastating nuclear debacles that have taken place in the last 45 years in the former Soviet Union, including above-ground testing to which many people were exposed without proper safeguards. These photographs by Robert Knoth, from the regions of Mayak, Semipalatinsk, Chernobyl and Tomsk-7, are testimony to the continuing medical, economic and social consequences of the thriving nuclear industry in Eastern Europe. The people who are subjects to these photographs must cope with birth defects, cancer, and other debilitating health issues due to the permeating presence of radiation. They must also face the fear that the genetic damage that they have suffered may be passed down to their offspring.

Link - Thanks Perry!

Previously on Neatorama: Chernobyl: 20 years later | Ghost Town: Chernoby Photoblog


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Two years since Blake posted nº12, however and no matter how many uninterested-in-thruth-photographers could go there "to make a name for themselves", there is something that cannot be denied, because medical research have gon well beyond any doubt: Nuclear radiation exposure causes malformations in newborns, and different grades of affections in adults as well. No matter how good or bad your healtcare is, spend 10 months in any place near a recent-meltdown power plant and you'll get the point. Those people in the pictures have a reason to look sad.
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As horrible as this shot and others are, the book nonetheless is an ill informed propaganda piece. The World Health Organization (WHO), attributed 56 direct deaths (47 accident workers, and nine children with thyroid cancer), and estimated that there may be 4,000 extra cancer cases among the approximately 600,000 most highly exposed and 5,000 among the 6 million living nearby. One death is too many, but compared to deaths caused by coal, oil and gas, even hydroelectric --this is statistically minor.

When Chernobyl happened we all heard initial estimates that hundreds of thousands would die instantly and millions more in the years to come. It is odd that after being so utterly wrong someone would still try to mine this horrible --but limited -- disaster to twist the story on nuclear power.

And in response to what I am sure will be the flames to come, I have no relation to the nuclear power industry. Yes I would prefer prefer if we found better, safer alternative energies, but for now nuclear is the best we got.
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Right because cases of hydrocephalus, congenital mental retardation and brain cancer never ever ever happen anywhere else in the world except near the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Scientifically illiterate photographers desperate to make a name for themselves seem to love flocking to this place to shamelessly parade around the most ghoulishly exploitative photos of what is vastly more indicative of a grossly incompetent health care system rather than the effects of the Chernobyl disaster. NO ONE in the developed world suffers from the effects of hydrocephalus to the degree that child in the picture is because there are highly effective treatments for it. Not to mention the fact that there has never been any study proving that that disease has anything whatsoever to do with radiation exposure or has a higher incidence around the Chernobyl area. But you know, whatever, as long as gritty B&W photos of people suffering from random horrible diseases can be spun into supporting your personal anti-nuclear ideology and it gets the magazines to fly off the shelves who really gives a shit right?
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