WORLD REMEMBERS 30th ANNIVERSARY OF CHERNOBYL DISASTER
Today, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 30th Anniversary Day of Chernobyl Disaster, I join families of all victims in Ukraine and Belarus to show my respect to those killed due to Chernobyl Disaster. The cleaning work and decommissioning of remaining nuclear reactors still continues in Chernobyl. Nuclear Waste has to be stored in containers and monitored for hundreds of years and mankind has to constantly remind itself of challenges and risks posed by Nuclear Energy. Chernobyl Nuclear Accident changed the lives of people in Ukraine and Belarus ( please view photo images ) and World cannot afford to forget lessons learned.
I arrived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA during July 1986 after witnessing consequences of Chernobyl Nuclear Accident while I lived in Sultanate of Oman where several European farm products are used on a regular basis. I had to change my shopping habits to avoid consuming food or food products exposed to radioactive fallout. This Nuclear Accident forced me to review my opinion of Nuclear Industry. I am not surprised to find that I worked for Greenpeace USA for ten years (1986 to 1996) to promote alternatives to Nuclear Energy as it poses significant risks to our planet and to all forms of life that depend on planet Earth as their home.
ON 30th ANNIVERSARY OF CHERNOBYL DISASTER, UKRAINE REMEMBERS ITS VICTIMS
Ukraine held memorial services on Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which permanently poisoned swathes of eastern Europe and highlighted the shortcomings of the secretive Soviet system. In the early hours of April 26, 1986, a botched test at the nuclear plant in then-Soviet Ukraine triggered a meltdown that spewed deadly clouds of atomic material into the atmosphere, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes. Relatives of those who died as a result of the world’s worst nuclear accident attended a candle-lit vigil in a Kiev church, built-in their memory.
“We did not think that this accident would change all our lives, dividing them into ‘before the war’ and ‘after the war’ as we called it. It was silent nuclear war for us,” said Lyudmila Kamkina, a former worker at the plant.
More than half a million civilian and military personnel were drafted in from across the former Soviet Union as so-called liquidators to clean-up and contain the nuclear fallout, according to the World Health Organization.
Thirty-one plant workers and firemen died in the immediate aftermath of the accident, most from acute radiation sickness. Over the past three decades, thousands more have succumbed to radiation-related illnesses such as cancer, although the total death toll and long-term health effects remain a subject of intense debate.
Nikolay Chernyavskiy, 65, who worked at Chernobyl and later volunteered as a liquidator, recalls climbing to the roof of his apartment block in the nearby town of Pripyat to get a look at the plant after the accident. “My son said ‘Papa, Papa, I want to look too’. He’s got to wear glasses now and I feel like it’s my fault for letting him look,” Chernyavskiy said.
Still Cleaning Up: 30 Years After the Chernobyl Disaster The anniversary has garnered extra attention due to the imminent completion of a giant 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) steel-clad arch that will enclose the stricken reactor site and prevent further leaks for the next 100 years. The project was funded with donations from more than 40 governments. Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said lessons learned from Chernobyl should be heeded all over the world.
Even with the new structure, the surrounding exclusion zone – 2,600 square km (1,000 square miles) of forest and marshland on the border of Ukraine and Belarus – will remain uninhabitable and closed to unsanctioned visitors.
The disaster and the government’s reaction highlighted the flaws of the Soviet system with its unaccountable bureaucrats and entrenched culture of secrecy. For example, the evacuation order only came 36 hours after the accident.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said he considers Chernobyl one of the main nails in the coffin of the Soviet Union, which eventually collapsed in 1991. (Reporting by Alessandra Prentice, Margaryta Chornokondratenko, Sergei Karazy and Andriy Perun; Editing by Tom Heneghan, Robert Birsel) Chernobyl wilderness regained. Please view the photo images.