Belorussia: The Belrad Institute threatened

chernobyl.jpgWe got an urgent appeal from Aleksander Nikitin 

To the international community, scholars and politicians

Dear Friends and Collegues,

In June this year, the presidential administration of Belorussia initiated a case against the Radiation Safety Institute “Belrad” and its leadership.

The founder and permanent member of this Institute is the distinguished scholar V.B.Nesterenko, an atomic scientist and former associate of the late academician A.D. Saharov. Professor Nesterenko was a Chernobyl liquidator and has commited his life and work to saving the children of Belorussia from the aftermath of Chernobyl.   

The Belrad Institute was founded in 1997 on the initiative of A. Adamovic, A. Saharov and A. Karpov. The Institute in its early days organised the release of up-to-date dosimeters, issuing more than a thousand radiation detectors RUG-92-M1 for measuring the Cesium-137 levels in food products. It also established 370 local centers to measure the radiation levels in  food products and to inform the population about radiation protection measures. The Belrad Institute constructed seven mobile laboratories with modern radiation spectrometers that could be fitted into minibuses, thus allowing for the examination of more than 320 000 children living in remote villages of the Chernobyl area of Belorussia and the identification of the groups that had been exposed to the largest amounts of radiation. The Belrad Institute initiated the use of the pectin product “Vitapect” to remove radionuclides from the bodies of people living in the Chernobyl region.   

On June 25th this year, the Belorussian president Alexander Lukashenko issued an order to “…take measures to bring to justice the private unitarian enterprise Radiation Safety Institute “Belrad” and its officials…”.

The order was triggered by a report from the Belorussian presidential administration, where the Institute and its leadership are accused of damaging the public image of the country by “…creating and spreading a myth about the radiation-exposed children of Belorussia…”

Dear friends, we remember how the Belorussian authorities cruelly punished professor Yury Bandazhevsky. We cannot allow something similar to happen to professor V.B. Nesterenko.

We see the attempt of the Belorussian authorities to close their eyes to the aftermath of Chernobyl. They are trying to silence the people who are addressing these problems.   

We call on you to support the Radiation Safety Institute “Beldar” and its leadership and not let them fall victim to the authorities’ self-rule. 

We believe that an open letter to the Belorussian president and international publicity around this case could stop the legal lynching of professor Nesterenko. We ask you to sign the enclosed letter addressed to president Lukashenko and to publish information on the case in the press. 

———————–

The Presidential Residence
Karl Marx St. 38
220016 Minsk  
The Republic of Belorussia

                                                                                   

To the President of the Republic of Belorussia, Alexander Lukashenko

 

Dear President Lukashenko,                       

We turn to You with an appeal to resolve the complicated situation that has formed around the activities of the Radiation Safety Institute ‘Belrad’.

During its sixteen years of existence, the Belrad Institute has contributed greatly to solving the problems caused by the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster not only in Belorussia, but also in Russia and the Ukraine.        

The founder and permanent member of this Institute is the distinguished scholar V.B. Nesterenko, an atomic scientist and former associate of the late academician A.D. Saharov. After Chernobyl, Professor Nesterenko has committed his life to helping the children of Belorussia.  

The work of the Belrad Institute to protect the people of Belorussia from the radiation caused by the Chernobyl disaster is known all over the world. In an effort to collect funds, the Institute in its early days organised the domestic production of more than 300 000 up-to-date dosimeters, and issued more than a thousand radiation detectors for measuring the contamination levels in food products. In cooperation with the Belorussian emergency rescue services, the Institute also established hundreds of local centers for measuring the radiation levels in food products and for informing the population on radiation protection measures.

The Belrad Institute constructed seven mobile laboratories equipped with modern radiation spectrometers, allowing for the examination of more than 320 000 children living in remote villages, and the identification of the groups that were exposed to the largest amounts of radiation.

Acting on the recommendations of the Belorussian Ministry of Health, the Belrad Institute initiated the use of pectin products to remove radionuclides from the bodies of people living in the Chernobyl region. Since the year 2000, the domestic product ‘Vitapect’ has been used for this treatment.       

To properly address the problems caused by the Chernobyl disaster, we need to involve all parts of society. It is vital to get more qualified information on the issues of radiation safety and to involve more specialists in the work to solve the problems brought about by this disaster. For example, the influence of small radiation doses (including doses of 30-50 Bq/kg) is currently being underestimated, having dire consequences on the health of the Belorussian people.     

It is easy to imagine the unease caused by the activities of the Belrad Institute in some parts of the official administration. But we cannot understand how it is possible – instead of expressing gratitude and support for the work of Professor Nesterenko – to attempt to bring the leadership of the Institute to justice.

We ask for Your help in resolving this situation, to reconsider the issue of the Belrad Institute, and if necessary – to consult independent experts from Russia and the Ukraine. We are hopeful that a favourable decision can be reached.

July 12, 2007

Chair Person of the Radiology Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 

First Deputy Director of the Emmanuel Institute of Biochemical Physics, 

Professor E.B. Burlakova

Head of the Department of Biology of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences,

Professor D.M. Grodzinksky

Advisor of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Advisor of the IUCN

Professor A.B. Jablokov

Annex

References

Professor Vasily Borisovic Nesterenko is a Doctor of technical sciences, a Corresponding Member of the Belorussian National Academy of Sciences, Director of the non-governmental Radiation Safety Institute ‘Belrad’, which was founded on the initiative of A. Saharov, A. Karpov and A. Adamovic. 

Director of the Institute of Atomic Energy of the Republic of Belorussia in the USSR and principal designer of the mobile nuclear power plant ‘Pamir’ (1971-1987)

Professor Nesterenko was the first to measure the radiation intensity on the roof of the exploded fourth reactor of the Chernobyl NPP.  

Author of more than 350 books and articles on atomic energy and radiation safety.

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