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Global Hibakusha

Global Hibakusha
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant AccidentGediminas Rimdeika
Director, Sapiega Hospital/Chernobyl Medical Centre
2000 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

Chernobyl and Lithuania

Four years after the Chernobyl nuclear powerplant accident, in 1990 the Chernobyl Medical Centre was opened in Lithuania.  The centre started to collect information about almost 7,000 clean-up workers.  Their registry was constructed, and the system of medical care in Lithuania was created; also prophylactic and medical care programs were started.  At present the experience of ten years, concentrated in Chernobyl Medical Centre, allows us to make some conclusions from these observations.The annual conference "Chernobyl and Lithuania" was organised by Chernobyl Medical Centre of Sapiega Hospital and Centre of Radiation Security on 26 April 2000.  The material of the conference was published in the magazine Environment of Health, supplement to No.3.  It is well known that the Ignalina Nuclear Plant is operating in Lithuania.  The plant question and the gradual closing of its first and second blocks became especially urgent when Lithuania started negotiations with the Europe Union.  This and this year?s conference with its large number of participants and their reports has shown the topicality of radiation and the radiation security problem in Lithuania.The reports of the representatives from the Physics, Biology, Biography, and Botany institutes; Vilnius University; Ministry of Environment Protection; Department of Civil Security; Centre of Radiation Security and Chernobyl Medical Centre were read out at the conference.  Speakers investigated radioactive contamination of food, surface water, the Baltic Sea, plants and soil and also analysed the control of extreme situations in regard to civil security.  A special session was devoted to the investigation of Chernobyl clean-up workers' medical problems.According to the data of the psychiatry department of Sapiega Hospital one fifth of almost 300 deceased committed suicide.  To compare the number of suicides of non exposed Lithuanian male population with that of the Chernobyl clean-up workers: the latter was 3 times higher in 1988 and 2.4 times higher in 1990. It is important to notice that since 1994 the suicides have been decreasing and presently the number is lower among the clean-up workers than that of the Lithuanian male population.  This decrease could be accounted for by improved medical and also psychiatric/psychological care in Lithuania.This cohort of patients has other peculiarities.  While in the in-patient department, they are apt to stand out from the rest, and communicate only among themselves.  It is always the case with them that they are inclined to relate their somatic and mental health problems, also their social and marital problems as well, with the clean-up work at Chernobyl.  Most of them claim that they had not had such problems before the work at Chernobyl and think themselves to be "the condemned" because they have been affected by the radiation.  All these facts show that taking part in the clean-up activities at Chernobyl has assumed a very meaningful place in the life and mind of these people.In their anamnesis most of them, especially those who worked during 1986-1987, stress compulsion of military structures on them.  Clean-up workers used to be given imprecise and misleading information.  They were instructed that alcohol reduced the effect of radiation, and they would feel weakness, headache and dizziness from ionizing radiation.  Therefore these complaints occurred in such neurotic surroundings and the clean-up workers were imbued with the thought that they had been affected by radiation and it damaged their state of health.Therefore each fourth clean-up worker is diagnosed with permanent personality disorder after clean-up activities at Chernobyl and each eighth with post-trauma stress disorder.  It should be born in mind that post-trauma stress disorders after clean-up operations occurred among most of the clean-up workers, but they were compensated later for the above-mentioned ratio.The investigation of clean-up workers, using psychological tests, identifies them as having serious emotional problems; as well as difficulties in interpersonal relations, which could explain why they tend to gather into groups.As the investigation in our hospital shows, and research from other countries confirms, the effect of the Chernobyl catastrophe on mental health is identified in almost all Chernobyl clean-up workers.  Therefore they need psychological/psychiatric help and assessing their specific health problems, it is expedient to provide this help in specialized medical centres.As these diseases are the majority in morbidity of the clean-up workers this review started with psychic disorders.In second place, according to morbidity frequency, are somatic-internal diseases: that is cardiovascular diseases, digestive disorders and respiratory diseases.  Primary arterial hypertension is predominant in this group of diseases.  One of the factors that might cause primary arterial hypertension is acute and chronic stress, which is so characteristic of Chernobyl clean-up workers.  Prolonged anxiety and stress have an influence on heart activity and as a result it develops disorders of heart activity and coronal artery function, and in some time these functional disorders might turn into injuries of organs.Disorders of the digestive system in the group of somatic diseases take the second place. These are ulcers with localization in the stomach and duodenum.  Treatment did not cause bigger problems but a complex approach and help of psychiatrists was needed also.In third place according to frequency are diseases of the respiratory system.  After the Chernobyl NPP accident rapidly-decaying iodine131 radionuclides escaped into the atmosphere.Since iodine is necessary for normal thyroid gland activity and after the accident the concentration of iodine131 in the environment had grown considerably, then the possibility arose for it to get into the human organism. The thyroid gland is not capable of separating residual iodine from radioactive iodine; therefore radioactive iodine accumulating in the thyroid gland irradiates the whole organism, but especially the thyroid gland itself.  Even a small dose of thyroid irradiation (0.1 cGy) increases the risk of getting ill with thyroid nodularity diseases.  Large doses cause thyroid follicular edema, vasculitis, necrosis and might cause radiation thyroiditis.That is why such considerable attention is being paid to this group of diseases in investigations into the health of Chernobyl clean-up workers.  Our observations assert that each fourth clean-up worker has diffusive struma, each tenth nodosa struma.  Thyroid cancer (4 cases) permits us to say that the risk of thyroid cancer is still high, though it might partly be explained as a consequence of the improvement of diagnostic and medical control.Estimating thyroid diseases it is necessary to continue actively the observation of patients, and the dynamics of their illnesses.
According to the data of the Lithuanian Oncology Centre, 131 clean-up workers had oncological diseases.  Of these, 74 cases were malignant tumors.  However, the authors noted that their cause was related to smoking and alcohol use (lung cancer, mouth cavity, pancreas cancer, etc.).  The authors note during 1990-1999 the risk of cancer has a tendency to decrease but it is necessary to carry on these observations.The Republican Expert Commission functioning at Chernobyl Medical Centre deals with medical-social problems ?They established the connection between clean-up workers' death, the cause and acute condition of diseases and the workers? participation in the clean-up activities at Chernobyl.  If the commission establishes this connection, a clean-up worker gets a special allowance.1872 cases have been presented, 1663 (88.8%) of which were related to the participation in Chernobyl clean-up operations.  According to the data of the commission, most of the related cases were psychic and mental disorders (17.%), hypertension diseases (15.3%), nodosa struma (13.1%), autonomous solar system diseases (12.2%), etc.Estimating the factor of age, it must be noted that most sufferers are young people.  82.7% of related diseases were in the group of age 25-44.  Psychic and mental disorders are predominant in the group of age 25-34, while hypertension diseases are predominant in the group of age 35-44.  Therefore the analysis has shown that those who suffered (around 40% of the total), irrespective of their age, worked at Chernobyl in 1986.Our experience permits us to make some conclusions: that it is difficult to separate the influence of ionisation from the influence of mental trauma on the health of Chernobyl clean-up workers; therefore the information to society about the influence of radiation must be provided in a reliable way and based on scientific research.
Estimating that the morbidity of Chernobyl clean-up workers after 14 years from the accident is slightly different from that of the similar Lithuanian population, it is necessary to continue the investigation on the state of health of this contingent and fix it.Since Chernobyl clean-up workers have specific health problems, it is expedient to provide health care for them in specialised medical centres.  Certainly more considerable attention from the government and Chernobyl public organisations is necessary for solving social security problems of clean-up workers.

Global Hibakusha
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant AccidentGediminas Rimdeika
Director, Sapiega Hospital/Chernobyl Medical Centre
1998 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima


The reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) exploded in Ukraine on 26 April 1986.  It was the worst catastrophe both in human history and in the history of nuclear power of the world.  Today the word ''Chernobyl'', associated with the dangers of nuclear power, is said to be known to almost everyone.  The word ''radiation'' itself is related with the unknown, anxiety, fear and menace to health and life.  The full extent of effects of ionising radiation on human health, especially those which occur later after several decades, are still not clearly known by scientists to allow proper analysis.  Controversial opinions and conclusions are presented but it is unanimously agreed that further investigations are necessary to eliminate a number of obscurities.  Moreover, there is insufficiency of literature dealing with the effects of ionising radiation and such catastrophes on human health and explaining the psychological effects.  This could be accounted for by the fact that in estimating the consequences not only the effect of ionising radiation and the catastrophe should be taken into consideration but a number of other factors as well, such as psychological, economic, social, somatic health state and others.  The material for this survey has been prepared by Mindaugas Rusteika, head of the psychosomatic department of the Sapiega Hospital. It is based on the statistic data and observation from the treatment provided for Chernobyl clean-up workers from Lithuania.  Since 1993 a psychiatrist and a psychologist have been working in the out-patient department at  the Sapiega Hospital which was founded in 1991.  Since 1996 an in - patient department has been in operation.  At first the department had 12 beds, and in 1997 it was expanded to contain 20 beds.Over 7000 men from Lithuania took part in the decontamination and clean - up operations at Chernobyl during 1986-1989.  Most of them mainly cover the birth years 1945-1958, i.e. They were from 18 to 40 years of age at that time.  5709 of them are registered at the Sapiega Hospital today, i.e. 79.8% of all Chernobyl clean - up workers.During 1992-1998 the State Chernobyl Expert Commission has been presented with a list of 1569 cases of diseases, 390 of which were psychic disorders related with the participation in Chernobyl clean - up operations.  The data have been confirmed and it holds 24.9% of all cases of diseases related with the clean-up work at Chernobyl.259 out of the 5709 registered Chernobyl clean- up workers have died (4.5%). The information about the cause of death is known in 224 cases.  48 of them committed suicide, that is 21.4% of all known causes of death.  To compare the number of suicides of now exposed Lithuanian  male population with that of  the Chernobyl clean -up workers, the latter is 3 times higher in 1988, 2.4 times higher in 1990 and it is likely to have been decreasing since 1992.  It is important to notice that since 1994 the number of suicides is lower among the clean - up workers than that of Lithuanian male population.The data in the table below show the dynamics and decreasing tendency of suicides among Chernobyl clean-up workers :

The number of suicides among Chernobyl clean-up workers
The number of suicides among Chernobyl clean-up workers per 100 thousand denizens
The number of suicides per 100 thousand of Lithuanian male population
The difference in suicide frequency

The data clearly show the decreasing number of suicides among Chernobyl clean-up workers in the previous years.  This can be accounted for by the improved medicine care, especially psychiatric - psychological, however, it needs more thorough  and deeper study.  Nevertheless, suicides among Chernobyl clean-up workers were more frequent in 1989-1993 than those among Lithuanian male population.During 1996-1998 (July), diagnosis and treatment by the psychosomatic department of the Sapiega Hospital were provided for 112 men who had taken part in the clean-up operations at Chernobyl.  Their age varied from 29 to 65.  The average age of the patients was 43.  All of the patients had no higher than secondary education. According to the social status, 30 of them (26.8%) had a job, 30 (26.8%) were invalids and even 52 were unemployed (46.4%).  Their marital status was correspondingly: married - 55 (49.1%), divorces - 44 (39.3%), single - 13 (11.6%).The diagnosed psychic disorders are shown in the table below:

Diagnosed psychic disorders
Total number of patients for whom treatment was provided
 1. Organic psychic disorders
 2. Schizophrenia
 3. Neurotic disorders
 of which:
 - neurasthenia
 - post-trauma stress disorders 8 7.1
 - anxiety disorders
 4.Affective disorders (depressions)
 5. Personality and behaviour disorders
 of which:  
 Permanent personality change due to the catastrophic experience (work in the decontamination at Chernobyl NPP)

It is seen from the table above that neurotic and personality disorders were prevalent (44.6% and 31.3% respectively).  Attention should be paid to the fact that permanent personality disorders after clean-up operations at Chernobyl were diagnosed even in  26.8% cases and post-trauma stress disorders in 71%.  It should be borne in mind that post-trauma stress disorders after clean-up activities occurred among most of the clean-up workers but they were compensated later.We would like to present our opinion about the peculiarities of patients for whom treatment was provided in the psychosomatic department.The Chernobyl clean-up workers call themselves ''Chernobyl Hibakusha''.  This name is accepted by the society as well.  The name itself, which literally should mean ''Chernobyl denizens?, distinguishes the group of these people.While in  the department, these patients are apt to stand out of the rest, to communicate only among themselves and gather into group.  It is always the case with them that they are inclined to relate their health problems, both somatic and mental and their social and marital problems as well, with the clean-up work at Chernobyl.  As proof, they claim that they have not had such problems before the work at Chernobyl  and that they occurred after that.  While providing treatment for them, one feels that they think themselves to be ?the condemned? because they have been affected by the radiation.  All these facts show that taking part in the clean-up activities at Chernobyl has assumed a very meaningful place in the life and mind of these people.In analysing the psychogenic causes and consequences of psychic disorders among Chernobyl clean-up workers, the causes and consequences can be divided into informational, social-economic and medical ones.In their amanuensis most of Chernobyl clean-up workers, especially those who worked during 1986-1987, stress compulsion.  As  military reservists they were sent to ''military training'' which was the pretext for drafting them to Chernobyl without informing them about the real situation.  While working there only a few of them had individual dosimeters and in most cases only approximate group measurements were practised.  It should be emphasized that more severe psychological consequences occurred  among those clean-up works who worked near the reactor itself or on top of it only for a few or a few times of minutes a day. Actually, post-trauma stress disorder and permanent personality disorder were diagnosed in those patients after postcatastrophic experiences.  Military officers used to give unprecise and misleading information to the clean-up workers.  According to ''Chernobyl Hibakusha'' words, they were instructed, especially in 1986, that alcohol reduced the effect and risk of radiation. They were also told that they would feel weakness, headache and dizziness as an affect of ionising radiation.  Therefore these non-specific complaints occurred in such neurotic surroundings and in such a way the clean-up workers were imbued with the thought that they had been affected by radiation.Military officers argued that after the work at Chernobyl their children might be born having mental deficiency, thus the workers were recommended not to have children for 5 years.  However, when back from Chernobyl, young men married and had them. That's why they react painfully to the diseases  of their children and they cannot lose the sense of guilt.Most of the Chernobyl clean-up workers complain of their sexual problems, namely sexual impotence.  But the investigations revealed sexual disorders of neurotic character.  In most cases age-related decrease in sexual capacity was accounted for as a ?consequence of Chernobyl?.  It often appeared  that even psychics of somatic sphere confirmed patients?  misgivings, thus  having iafrogenia.  The later problems and those of social adaptation can be proved by the fact that 51 % are single.  It is also important that even 46.4 % of patients had no job.  Most of them explained that it was not only difficult to get employed but also that employers do not want to have ?Chernobyl Hibakusha? employees.  This is a consequence of a  widely - spread prejudice that Chernobyl clean-up workers are of poor health and often fall ill, therefore they are bad workers.Psychological investigations of Chernobyl clean-up workers identify them as having serious emotional problems indeed, as well as difficulties in interpersonal relations which could be explained why they tend to gather into groups.We could enumerate more instances of psychological stress factors but, as a general note, we can affirm that there is a link between Chernobyl clean-up workers? neurotization, as well as difficulties in social adaptation and clean up activities at Chernobyl after the catastrophe.We would like to adduce generalisations and conclusions drawn from our experience:
 1. The effect of the Chernobyl catastrophe on mental health is identified in almost all Chernobyl clean-up workers.
 2. It is really difficult to separate the influence of ionising radiation from that of psychological stress factors on human health.
 3. Chernobyl clean-up workers have specific health problems, therefore it is essential and expedient to concentrate and provide medical care in a specialised medical centre.
 4. Psychological-psychiatric help is necessary for people, affected by radiation of catastrophic character.
 5. Information about the effect of  radiation, especially at the time of a catastrophe, should be provided to the public well-grounded and based on scientific data.
 6. Despite the general opinion, nuclear explosions are being carried out in the world (India, Pakistan), bringing not only physical but psychological harm as well, especially for those who have faced the effect of ionising radiation before.

Global Hibakusha
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant AccidentGediminas Rimdeika
Director, Sapiega Hospital/Chernobyl Medical Centre
Chernobyl Medical Council
1997 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

Lithuania 11 Years After Chernobyl Accident

Lithuanian Chernobyl Medical Centre (LCMC) researches the state of health of Lithuanian people, who were sent to the 30 km zone in 1986-1990 to eliminate the consequences of the explosion.  From 1991 all clean-up workers are requested to undergo the annual health examination.  The list of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) clean-up workers was made up using data of Lithuanian Register of Chernobyl.     1. The Lithuanian Register of Chernobyl was established in 1991 and used such sources as:
     1.1 Former USSR Military Commissariat's registers.
     1.2. Ministry of Internal Affairs registers.
     1.3. Ministry of Construction and Urban Development register.
     1.4. Ministry of Transport register.
     1.5. Register of Ignalina NPP workers.
     1.6. Former USSR register cards of Chernobyl clean-up workers.
     1.7. Supplementary lists to the registers of a local (Lithuanian territorial) healthcare
         institutions and Lithuanian Social Movement "Chernobyl".
     1.8. Other sources.The Chernobyl Medical Centre, in addition of establishing the Registry, provides:
     2. Primary health care for CNPP clean-up workers, who live in the city of Vilnius and
        in it's regions.
     3. Consultative help for CNPP clean-up workers, who live in other cities and regions
       of Lithuania, that carries out the examination by specialists, analysis, and
       in-patient medical treatment.
     4. Arranges medical rehabilitation in health-resorts of Lithuania.
     5. Directs patients to Republican Expert Commission in order to establish the
        connection between their illnesses and their participation in the clean-up works at
        Chernobyl accident location.
     6. Carries out the scientific research, that allows to gain better understanding about
        the processes, that are going on in human body, affected by small ionising
        radiation doses:
     6.1. Analyses condition of their immune system.
     6.2. Risk of obtaining cancer.
     6.3. Thyroid examinations.
     6.4. Determination of chromosome aberration in peripheral blood lymphocytes.
     6.5. Analyses the causes of mortality.
     6.6. The retrospective dosimetry and etc.Presently Lithuanian Register of Chernobyl covers 5626 people.The presumption is that more than 7000 people have participated in elimination of consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl NPP.  Approximately 1700 clean-up workers did not appeal to LCMC, and it is uncertainty that they will.  Some of them did not appeal, because they wish to forget Chernobyl forever, others try to dissolve their problems individually.Chernobyl affected one in a hundred Lithuanian males, most of them were borne between 1945 and 1958, and who were 18-40 years old at the time of the accident.  So far 264 people died, and in many cases the cause of their deaths was due to accidents and traumas.Exposure to radiation is an important aspect of clean-up workers' lives.  According to the data of Chernobyl Medical Centre, radiation doses are known only in 69 percent of clean-up workers.  The average dose of external radiation was 114 mSv.  Not many of clean-up workers had individual dosimeters, and in many cases the dose measurements were from dosimeters of working people groups.  Clean-up workers in 1986 on the average received 200 mSv, and in 1987 - approximately 100 mSv.  The majority of clean-up workers received doses of around 90 mSv.  Not so many people received more than 200 mSv, which would be more risky for their health.As it mentioned, only 70 percent cases of radiation doses were recorded in documents. What are the possibilities to reconstruct physical doses?  The concrete answer could only be established through complex studies.  The genetic blood tests of clean-up workers were carried out in Vilnius and Pittsburgh Universities. The results produced a satisfactory concurrence of physical and biological doses. Only a few cases showed inconsistency in these results.  Similar results were received carrying out the blood tests of clean-up workers from Latvia and Estonia.Taking into account the doses received (approximately 114 mSv), clean-up workers could be referred to as people, who have received relatively small doses of radiation, and their health indicators should be estimated in accordance with this category.  The higher radiation effects were not studied well enough and practically were ignored in 1986 and also later.Observation of the state of health of clean-up workers and analysis of their death causes showed, that accident's consequences have had noticeable effect on people's health. Diagnosis showed greater frequency of disorders such as cardiovascular, digestive and the nervous system disorders.  Analysing causes of deaths, there were noticed rather frequent cases of traumas and accidents.Deaths from traumas and accidents have a tendency to decrease, and malignant tumours and other illnesses - to increase.Are the traumas and suicides of clean-up workers more frequent than in population in general?  Trying to answer this question objectively, there were comprehensively analysed causes of deaths of Lithuanian people.  Peculiarities and regularities of deaths by age were determinated comparing deaths from traumas, malignant tumours and diseases of blood circulation system.  The main causes of deaths in age up to 40 are traumas and accidents, and in older age dominates diseases of blood circulation system and malignant tumours.Knowing these mortality by age regularities, it was likely to expect, that deaths of clean-up workers from traumas and accidents will be relatively high because of their comparatively young age - the average age reached 34 years at the time of the accident of Chernobyl.  The most frequent causes of death are traumas and accidents, and it is very important to study thoroughly this death structure.Trying to get an objective estimation of clean-up workers? deaths, there were calculated standardised indicators.  The certain Lithuanian male population was used as a standard. Death of clean-up workers from many causes is more frequent than of general male population, especially it becomes clear comparing groups of young age individuals to older age.  Suicides are distinguished most of all: in the group of clean-up workers it is 1.37 times more frequent than in population, and among those who was borne in between 1940 and 1954 ? 1.8 times.  Death from alcohol-poisoning also is more frequent of older age clean-up workers.  An important aspect is mortality from cancer - it is more frequent than in population, meanwhile morbidity for cancer among clean-up workers slightly different from general male population.  It should be noted that in many studies, analysing radiation effects, the analogical phenomenon was observed.The Chernobyl accident cost the life and damaged the health of clean-up workers - all that can not be buried in oblivion.  On 25 of June 1997 granite monument was put up in the memory of Chernobyl victims in the Sapiega Hospital's territory.  It is the date of death of the first Lithuanian Chernobyl clean-up worker 11 years ago.  The monument on a piled up hill represents a women's figure, covering her face with her hands and trying to push away a horror.A place of the monument is symbolic, because the clean-up workers of Chernobyl accident are treated here. The clean-up workers say, that the hill in Sapiega Hospital park from now will be the place where one can come, to stand for a while, to bring flowers.  The Hospital became their second home.Every tragedy, among them the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should never be forgotten.  It has to remain in people's memory and should never happen again.

Global Hibakusha
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant AccidentGediminas Rimdeika
Director, Sapiega Hospital/Chernobyl Medical Centre, Lithuania
International Symposium; “Fifty Years since the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”, August 1995, HiroshimaJournalists have often asked Rutherford if someone in the future could manage to use atomic energy.  In 1937 before his death Rutherford declared: "This time may never come.  The man, who proposes this idea is a dreamer, living on the moon."  But his skepticism was erroneous and very disastrous. In less than 10 years the splitting go of the atom brought the biggest tragedy the world has known - the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Today we are remembering the 50th anniversary of this sad event.  We also remember those who died in that hell which was deliberately instigated by the hand of man. That was the hand of violence!  That was the atom of war! But this genie of energy is always the same when it gets out of the control.  I refer to Chernobyl in 1986, which caused great suffering for our small country - Lithuania, which is located near Baltic sea.  The people of our country suffered twice from the accident in Chernobyl:  The territory of Lithuania was contaminated with radionuclides and at that time the Soviet Union forced 7500 young, able-bodied men to go to Chernobyl to work in decontamination.  It was clear to everyone that this bleeding wound which was contaminating the world had to be controlled as soon as possible. However, this was done in a most brutal manner.  People were sent to this nuclear fire without special preparation, protective equipment and dosimetric control.  These people were told that they had received radiation no higher than the maximal allowable dose.The Lithuanian Chernobyl Medical Center of which I am director ascertained that some of these people had health problems during the time of decontamination such as: vomiting, fever, and nervous reactions.  People with such complaints were hospitalized in local medical-sanitary centers with diagnoses such as "acute respiratory syndrome" and "food contamination."  After some days of hospitalization they were discharged and sent home. Bearing this in mind we can consider that so called diagnoses of "acute respiratory syndrome" and "food contamination" truly were the initial stage of acute radiation illness.  In 1995 Russian radiation medicine specialists such as academician V. Charcev, professor G. Zubovskij and candidate of medicine N.Cholodova wrote that people who had participated in the decontamination work of the Chernobyl accident in 1986 - 1987 were irradiated with doses of approximately 100 Bg.  Such dose may cause the initial stage of acute radiation sickness.  After coming back home these clean-up workers soon sought medical help because of prolonged ailments. Until the Soviet Union fell apart, the diagnoses of radiation sickness for those who decontaminated the consequences of the Chernobyl accident were categorically denied.  The truth was hidden behind the Soviet system, with its iron curtain where everything had to be acceptable to world opinion.There are 5447 persons in the national register of Lithuanian Chernobyl Medical Center.  156 of them are young men, who became disabled, and 192 persons died.  From this count 53 patients died because of direct "Chernobyl illness."  1008 children were born in families, whose members had taken part in the decontamination of the Chernobyl accident.  80% of those children are disabled.  54.6% of Chernobyl clean-up workers who came to the Lithuanian Chernobyl Medical Center had various complaints.  The relation of these complaints with the participation in the Chernobyl accident clean-up has already been established for 708 patients.Our Chernobyl Medical Center hasn't enough experience in radiation medicine.  Now we are accumulating it.  Today from this honorable podium, I would like to thank the scientists of Japan, U.S.A. and other countries who help us to understand and in a sense to control the situation, to accumulate the experience not only for the welfare of Lithuania, but for the welfare of humanity.  We are especially concerned about this matter, because we have in Lithuania Ignalina AE, which is a nuclear power plant of the same type as the Chernobyl AE.  Ignalina AE is the most powerful nuclear plant in the existing list of 17 most dangerous AE.  We are hearing the ringing of the danger bell!  We aren't safe!While we are commemorating this sad anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we can't forget that next year we'll observe another sad commemoration - 10 years after the Chernobyl accident.  So we think that now more than ever before the words of Albert Schweitzer of 1959 are valid for the whole world.  He said:  "Mankind is condemned if it once again makes experiments with A and H bombs."  We would like to add: "and is not sufficiently careful in its activities with nuclear energy."  Now there is no doubt that the atomic nucleus could be the source of the most powerful and destroying energy.  In the hands of irresponsible politicians it can be a horrible and very aggressive weapon.  This energy has to be controlled by good people and only then it will serve the course of Humanity.In conclusion, I would like to wish for people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima that the rose of world memory will bloom for every Japanese who was killed by atomic bomb.  These roses like drops of blood would remind everyone of us about the greatest tragedy of Japan and the shame of the rest of the world, because this tragedy wasn't stopped.

Solidarity with Hibakusha

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