The disaster at the Chernobyl power reactor near Kiev, which began on April 26, 1986, was one of the world's worst industrial accidents. Yet the global community, usually most generous in its aid to a stricken community, has been slow to understand the scope of the disaster and reach out to the most devastated people of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. This article probes the causes of this confusion of perception and failure of response; clearly the problem is one of communication. Has the International Atomic Energy Agency betrayed the victims of the Chernobyl disaster because of its plans to promote the "peaceful atom" nuclear program in the developing world? Has the World Health Organization failed to provide clear, reliable information on the health effects resulting from the disaster? Are other historical problems or actors interfering with reasonable handling of the late effects of a nuclear disaster? Most importantly, what can be done to remedy this situation, to assist those most hurt by the late effects of Chernobyl and prevent such injustice in future? With the current promotion of nuclear energy as a "solution" to global climate change, we need to take a sober second look at the nuclear energy experiment and management of its hazards.
Genome variability and changes in immune homeostasis, induced in man in the course of long-term industrial contact with ionizing radiation (IR) sources were studied by using unique biomaterials stored in the Radiobiological Repository for Human Tissues at the Southern Urals Biophysics Institute, FMBA. The biomaterials, peripheral blood samples and blood DNA were obtained from the "Mayak" PA employers occupationally exposed to prolonged external gamma-radiation and/or internal alpha-radiation from incorporated 239Pu in a wide range of accumulated doses. A significant increase in the polymorphism of microsatellite-associated peripheral blood DNA repeats was revealed in a group of persons with accumulated doses of external gamma-radiation above 2.0 Gy, as well as in the descendants of parents with preconceptive doses of higher than 2.0 Gy. In persons whose parents had a preconceptive dose above 2.0 Gy, an increase in the gene p53 mutation rate was observed, and descendants of persons with dose of 3.0 Gy and higher showed mtDNA heteroplasmy, regardless of the sex of an exposed parent. Changes in the expression of membrane markers for the effector and regulatory T-lymphocytes depending on radiation type and dose load were determined. The growth factor level variations (TGF-beta1, EGF, HGF, FGF) in peripheral blood serum in persons exposed to radiation from gamma- or alpha-sources, allow us to consider them as biomarkers of radiation-induced disturbances in immune homeostasis. The concentration changes of TGF-beta1, apoptosis proteins (p53, TPA-cyk, sAPO-1/Fas), and the adhesion molecule sCD27 in the case of cardiovascular diseases in the serum of both irradiated and non-irradiated "Mayak" PA employers point to the information value of these immune response characteristics as specific biomarkers of cardiac disorders. It is proposed that the revealed changes in immune homeostasis and in the variability of somatic cell genome may provoke development of tumors and cardiovascular diseases in man in delayed periods after prolonged exposure to IR.
The results of the study of the interaction of genetic and radiation factors in the effects of radiation in humans exposed to external and (or) internal radiation are presented. In most cases, with relatively less radiation exposure genotypic differences in the effects of exposure were established to be absent. At high intensities of radiation exposure, however, these differences as a rule have reliable character. Interaction of genetic and radiation factors manifested in a wide range: from the mutual stimulation of primarily inactive factors to the higher than multiplicative one.
The hygienic aspects of the location of wind-mill electric generating plants become more pressing due to the intensive development of wind-power engineering. Possible risk factors from wind-mill electric generating plants that can influence the environment and the population are considered. A 400-m control area is recommended on the basis of the made calculations of an acoustic and electromagnetic pollution area, an exposure area during emergency situations, as well the field measuring data on noise from wind-mill electric generating plants with a capacity of 20 MW, by applying 100-kW wind-mill electric generating units. Further studies are proposed to improve the differentiated sizes of control areas for wind-mill electric generating plants with wind-mill electric generating units of varying capacity.