美國極為暢銷的科學雜誌 [科學美國] (Scientific American) 今年七月有一篇關於新疆慘絕人環的報導。
雜誌標題是「來自過去的爆炸」(Blast from the Past)。
網路標題是「中國核彈試驗是否殺害幾千人並毀滅未來的世代」(Did China’s Nuclear Tests Kill Thousands and Doom Future Generations?)。
我花了一些時間翻譯這篇。就以這一點微薄的努力 : 1. 咀咒中國的建國六十年。2. 為新疆人致哀。3. 向女英雄 熱比婭 致敬。
Did China’s Nuclear Tests Kill Thousands and Doom Future Generations?
Enver Tohti remembers the week that it rained dust. That summer of 1973 he was in elementary school in Xinjiang Province, China’s westernmost region, which is inhabited mostly by Uygurs, one of the country’s minority ethnic groups. “There were three days that earth fell from the sky, without wind or any sort of storm. The sky was deadly silent—no sun, no moon,” he recalls. When the kids asked what was happening, the teacher told them that there was a storm on Saturn (its Chinese name translates into “soil planet”). Tohti believed her. It was only years later that he realized it was radioactive dust raised by the test detonation of a nuclear bomb within the province.
Three decades on, Tohti, now a medical doctor, is launching an investigation into the toll still being taken—and one that the Chinese government steadfastly refuses to acknowledge. A few hundred thousand people may have died as a result of radiation from at least 40 nuclear explosions carried out between 1964 and 1996 at the Lop Nur site in Xinjiang, which lies on the Silk Road. Almost 20 million people reside in Xinjiang, and Tohti believes that they offer unique insight into the long-term impact of radiation, including the relatively little studied genetic effects that may be handed down over generations. He is establishing the Lop Nur project at Sapporo Medical University in Japan with physicist Jun Takada to evaluate these consequences.
安德斯‧蒂默勒指出﹕「這是一個悲哀的機會，但它仍然是一個機會，既學到新的東西，也複製我們認為我們在別的地方所看到的情形。」蒂默勒是車諾比研究計劃（Chernobyl Research Initiative，CRI）的位於巴黎的國家科學研究中心共同主持人。
“It is a sad opportunity, but it is an opportunity nonetheless to both learn something new and replicate what we think we are seeing elsewhere,” observes Anders Møller, who co-directs the Chernobyl Research Initiative (CRI) and is based at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris.
高田計算過，在新疆輻射的最高劑量，超過一九八六年車諾比原子爐的屋頂熔化後所測量到的劑量。新疆當地大部分損害來自於一九六零和一九七零年代的爆炸。高田在他發表的書「中國核試驗」 （China Nuclear Tests, Iryokagakusha，2009）中提出他的發現指出，這些爆炸將放射性物質以及周圍沙漠的沙混合起來像雨一般地降下。其中有些是三百萬噸的爆炸，它們超過投到廣島的原子彈兩百倍以上。
Takada has calculated that the peak radiation dose in Xinjiang exceeded that measured on the roof of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor after it melted down in 1986. Most damage to Xinjiang locals came from detonations during the 1960s and 1970s, which rained down a mixture of radioactive material and sand from the surrounding desert. Some were three-megaton explosions, 200 times larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, says Takada, who published his findings in a book, Chinese Nuclear Tests (Iryokagakusha, 2009).
高田曾經在1990年代初期就美國、前蘇聯和法國的測試進行過輻射效應研究。他被接壤於新疆的哈薩克斯坦科學家所邀請，評估中國核彈測試的風險。高田被禁止進入中國，所以他研究一九九五年至二零零二年在蘇聯所紀錄的爆炸規模和風速、哈薩克斯坦所量到輻射強度，進而設計出電腦模型。他再將這個模型延申並使用新疆人口的密度來估計， 194,000 人會死於急性輻射照射。然後，大約一百二十萬人所受到的輻射劑量會高到足以誘發白血病、嚴重的癌症和胎兒損害。 「這個只是一個保守、最小數字的估計」，高田說。
He devised a computer model to estimate fallout patterns using Soviet records of detonation size and wind velocity as well as radiation levels measured in Kazakhstan from 1995 to 2002. Takada was not allowed into China, so he extrapolated his model and used information about the population density in Xinjiang to estimate that 194,000 people would have died as a result of acute radiation exposure. Around 1.2 million received doses high enough to induce leukemia, solid cancers and fetal damage. “My estimate is a conservative minimum,” Takada says.
The figures came as little surprise to Tohti. Ironically, as a teenager, he was proud that his province was chosen for tests marking China’s technological and military progress. His view changed when he became a physician and saw a disproportionate number of malignant lymphomas, lung cancers, leukemia cases, degenerative disorders and babies born with deformities. “Many doctors suspected this was connected to the tests, but we couldn’t say anything,” Tohti recalls. “We were warned away from researching by our superiors.”
Tohti was only able to speak out in 1998, when he moved to Turkey, ostensibly as part of his medical training. There he joined forces with a team of British documentary filmmakers whom he smuggled back into Xinjiang as tourists. Together they uncovered medical records showing that cancer rates were 30 to 35 percent higher in the province than the national average.
Tohti and Tanaka’s Lop Nur project could fill in many gaps left open by analyses of other mass radiation poisonings. In studying the Chernobyl aftermath, Møller and his colleagues found that animal populations in the area still show a significant decline in numbers and an increase in genetic mutations, in contrast to earlier reports of recovering wildlife.
But pinning down generational effects in humans has proved difficult, because relatively little time has passed since the disaster and a small number of people were affected, explains Timothy Mousseau, a CRI co-director based at the University of South Carolina. Still, accumulating data suggest “that there is serious genetic damage in people living in these contaminated areas,” he says. For this reason, Mousseau is optimistic that the Lop Nur project will build up a dossier of genetic evidence. The difficulty, Møller and Tanaka agree, will be deciphering whether effects on second and third generations are inherited genetic mutations or are caused by exposure to contaminated water and soil.
對於托提來說，他的最優先是在幫助病人。今年三月，法國政府宣布，它將賠償在波利尼西亞進行核子試驗下的受害民眾。 二零零八年，中國國家通訊社新華社報導，中國政府將以不公佈的金額補貼參加核子測試的軍事人員。托提希望中國的這個援助能夠擴展到受影響的平民，他說這些平民有百分之八十的人沒有健康保 健。 「現在，他們無力支付醫療費。」他說。「因此，所有他們能做的，就是等待死亡。」
For Tohti, the priority is helping the sick. In March the French government announced that it would compensate civilian victims of its nuclear tests, which were conducted in Polynesia. In 2008 the Chinese state news service Xinhua reported that its government is paying undisclosed subsidies to military personnel involved in the tests. Tohti wants aid extended to affected civilians, adding that 80 percent do not have health care. “Right now, they can’t afford treatment,” he says. “So all they can do is wait to die.”
The Lop Nur project is just the tip of an international iceberg, remarks Abel Gonzalez of the Argentine Nuclear Regulatory Authority in Buenos Aires. Radiation researchers have had easy access to only three sites where nuclear blasts occurred—the U.S.’s site Bikini Atoll, the Soviet Union’s Semipalatinsk site in Kazakhstan and France’s site in Polynesia—and these areas represent just a small fraction of the approximately 500 atmospheric tests the world has seen. “We have a moral responsibility to investigate all nuclear test sites,” Gonzalez says. Certainly for the Xinjiang people affected by the Lop Nur tests, truer words have never been spoken.
反覆暴露於輻射影響的精子細胞是不是受到的影響，導致突變一代又一代地傳下玄呢？這是我們希望通過羅布泊計劃能夠得到的答案。另外兩個造成眾多人口暴露於核能輻射的主要事件是丟在廣島和長崎的原子彈。輻射影響研究基金會的會長羅伊‧休爾（Roy Shore）指出，關於這兩個事件，它們對於倖存者的下一代沒有產生影響。但他補充說，曝露於幅射的形態並不相同。 「原子彈是一個幾乎是瞬間的曝光，」休爾解釋。 「我們仍然需要受到幅射一次又一次感染的可靠數據。長期來說，這個可能有不同的影響。」
When Population Bombs Go Nuclear
Does repeated exposure to radiation affect germ-line cells such that the same mutations get passed on, generation after generation? That is one question the Lop Nur project hopes to answer. The other two major instances of a large population exposure to radiation—the atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki—have produced no generational effects in survivors, points out Roy Shore, chief of research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima. But he adds that the exposure patterns vary. “The atomic bomb was an almost instantaneous exposure,” Shore explains. “We still need good data on radiation that has been delivered time and time again, over a long period—there may be different effects.”