BONN — Another Chernobyl-type nuclear disaster is unavoidable while present technology is operated by human beings, a U.S. scientist specializing in the aftereffects of nuclear accidents said Friday.
Dr. Robert P. Gale, who coordinated treatment of Chernobyl victims with the Soviet authorities after the Ukraine accident in April, 1986, told a news conference that over the next 50 years, there will be up to 60,000 additional cancer-related deaths, 1,000 incidents of birth defects and 5,000 cases of severe genetic abnormalities such as mental retardation as a result of Chernobyl.
He said plants must be designed to work without humans.
"Nuclear energy is not inherently good or inherently bad," Gale declared. "It's how civilization uses it. In the long term, we have to develop reactors which are inherently safe and which do not depend on human beings for their safety."
Such reactors, based on thermonuclear fusion, exist in prototypes.
But Gale warned: "The likelihood of another major accident somewhere in the world in the next 10 years is not less than 25%. Or that in the United States the probability of a core meltdown within the next 20 years is about 50%."