Cojuangco repeats lie: no nuclear plant deaths outside Chernobyl

We must thank the Philippine Daily Inquirer for printing Rep. Mark Cojuangco’s article in their March 8, 2009 issue, Talk of the Town Section. In that article, Cojuangco publicly defends his position to rehabilitate the Bataan nuclear power plant (BNPP) for recommissioning.

There are many questionable claims in Cojuangco’s Inquirer article. But I will only focus on one paragraph:

In the 50-year history of the nuclear power industry in the West, including the Three Mile Island incident, not a single person has been killed or injured. The Chernobyl accident in Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union, where 60 people were reportedly killed, was indeed a tragedy.

When Cojuangco made this claim on Feb. 2, during the public hearing of the Appropriations Committee of Congress, I already corrected him. In my public testimony as a resource person during the same hearing, I addressed myself directly to him and told him he was wrong, because at least four people had died in Japan from a nuclear accident (the current count is actually six). During the Kamayan sa EDSA public forum on Feb. 20, he again made that claim. And since I was also a resource person in that forum, I again corrected him publicly. This is also described in my earlier post, “No nuclear plant deaths outside Chernobyl?“, which cited another case of four deaths in the U.S. in 1986.

Note that Cojuangco also claimed that no single nuclear plant injury has occurred outside Chernobyl. I didn’t even bother to count the injuries anymore.

Having been corrected twice for this false claim about zero deaths in the West, the least Cojuangco could have done is to double-check his facts and to refrain from mentioning it anymore.

I find it incredible that he would repeat the same lie in his March 8 Inquirer article, in public and in print.

Rep. Mark Cojuangco’s actions are truly puzzling. I don’t think he is an inveterate liar. But why would he expose himself so? He has, it seems, become so irrationally obsessed with his pet bill that he doesn’t listen to other people or to reason anymore.

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