There were 134 cases of ARS diagnosed with people exposed to high levels of radiation at Chernobyl during the accident there, of these 28 died soon afterwards. By 2001 14 more had died from causes that can't be conclusively linked to exposure to radiation.
When you look at the likely positive effects from low dose exposure to ionizing radiation then it turns conventional wisdom on it's head and makes the kind of regional, national and international reactions to events like Chernobyl and Fukushima ridiculous. It's likely the up-rooting of thousands of people around Chernobyl had far more serious negative effects than the radiation release could ever possibly have.
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safet ... -Accident/
One of the reasons that nuclear power is so expensive is this unrealistic drive to prevent any "contamination" from NPPs when people have been living for millenia in regions that far exceed any industry standards on safe levels of exposure to ionizing radiation. These include Ramsar, Iran, Kerala, India and some areas in Brazil. Not to say that important standards shouldn't be in place, but that they should reflect realistic risks, not hysteria that often can have a political or economic motivation separate from broader interests.In February 2003, the IAEA established the Chernobyl Forum, in cooperation with seven other UN organisations as well as the competent authorities of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. In April 2005, the reports prepared by two expert groups – "Environment", coordinated by the IAEA, and "Health", coordinated by WHO – were intensively discussed by the Forum and eventually approved by consensus. The conclusions of this 2005 Chernobyl Forum study (revised version published 2006i) are in line with earlier expert studies, notably the UNSCEAR 2000 reportj which said that "apart from this [thyroid cancer] increase, there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 14 years after the accident. There is no scientific evidence of increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality or in non-malignant disorders that could be related to radiation exposure." As yet there is little evidence of any increase in leukaemia, even among clean-up workers where it might be most expected. However, these workers – where high doses may have been received – remain at increased risk of cancer in the long term. Apart from these, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) says that "the great majority of the population is not likely to experience serious health consequences as a result of radiation from the Chernobyl accident. Many other health problems have been noted in the populations that are not related to radiation exposure."
The Chernobyl Forum report says that people in the area have suffered a paralysing fatalism due to myths and misperceptions about the threat of radiation, which has contributed to a culture of chronic dependency. Some "took on the role of invalids." Mental health coupled with smoking and alcohol abuse is a very much greater problem than radiation, but worst of all at the time was the underlying level of health and nutrition. Apart from the initial 116,000, relocations of people were very traumatic and did little to reduce radiation exposure, which was low anyway. Psycho-social effects among those affected by the accident are similar to those arising from other major disasters such as earthquakes, floods and fires.
People have also enjoyed the healing effects of radium and radon saturated waters in health spas since antiquity without even realizing it. Not only does nuclear power make sense from an economic and environmental standpoint, it's also the safest form of power based on the evidence, not the kind of hysteria that often occurs in opposition to plans to develop this crucial sector.