Adi Roche: ‘I’m asking world leaders to help removing and storing Chernobyl’s radioactive material’ There may be an impression that 31 years on Chernobyl is something which happened a very long time ago and no longer poses a threat to the world. But the reality of the situation is very, very different. The impact of that single shocking nuclear accident can never be undone. Its radioactive footprint is embedded in our world until the end of time and countless millions of people are still being affected by its deadly legacy on a daily basis. We may never know the full extent of that contamination, we may never be able to prove it, but the tragedy that is Chernobyl is very, very real. A new sarcophagus was moved into place over the exploded reactor in November, however we still do not have the science or technology to progress with the next phase. I respectfully ask that world leaders urgently use their power and influence to propel forward the vital work that needs to be carried out at the exploded No 4 Reactor and move swiftly to the next phase of dismantling and safely removing and storing hundreds of tons of radioactive material. This is a project never done before and requiring new thinking and new expertise. This project requires international guidance and we, as citizens of the world, must be vigilant that the safe disposal of this waste is the highest priority. Let’s show the people of Chernobyl that they are not forgotten, that they are not alone, that they are among friends and neighbours who care and who want to share in their plight and despair. Not just with fine words but with positive and life changing initiatives of action.
The Journal 26th April 2017 read more »
[Machine Translation] On 26 April 1986, reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl power plant exploded, causing the most serious catastrophe in the history of the civil atom. Thirty-one years later, the nuclear risk in Ukraine remains “very worrying”, says Michel Chouha, specialist of Eastern Europe at the Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), the French public institution in charge Research and expertise in this area. The installation, at the end of 2016, of a giant arch on the accident reactor, destined to ensure its confinement for a hundred years, was widely publicized. Is the situation now secure? The ultimate goal is the transformation of the Chernobyl site, eventually, into a safe “ecological” site. Now, without the dismantling of the old sarcophagus and the removal of all the radioactive materials it still contains, this result can never be reached and the ark will not have fulfilled its mission. It is a major step, but the most important one still has to be done and must start as soon as possible. The ark is designed to last a hundred years, but this does not mean that one can wait a hundred years. The state of the old sarcophagus does not allow to wait. We must act before it is too late.
Le Monde 25th April 2017 read more »
This year, April 26, the 31st anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, will mark the first year the United Nations observes the date as an International Day of Remembrance. The commemoration is bold, wedging the catastrophe’s place among some of humanity’s deepest scars. Other days of remembrance observed by the UN are reserved for the Holocaust, victims of the transatlantic slave trade, and the Rwandan Genocide, putting the 1986 Soviet nuclear plant disaster in dark and troubled company. Like these other human calamities, Chernobyl still casts more shadows than light, continues to beg confounding questions, and will press the limits of understanding for decades to come. The tragedy was one of the Soviet Union’s last grisly secrets, and five years after the toxic explosion, its empire collapsed with the reactor’s rubble. What impact the radiation had, and how many early deaths it brought about remains disputed. A UN report from 2005 suggested 4,000 long-term cancer deaths would result among those who received the highest radiation doses. In the following year, Belarus, probably hardest hit by the radioactive fallout, challenged that, and produced data saying the country alone would see 93,000 cancer deaths stemming from the disaster. Other reports forecast 60,000 deaths in Russia, and a combined death toll in Belarus and Ukraine reaching 140,000. A clear list of obituaries may never emerge. The massive resettlement means that many who left when Pripyat and surrounding country was evacuated may have already died. Even with new shelter is in place, the surrounding exclusion zone of around 2,600 square kilometers will remain uninhabitable, and it will take another 20,000 years before people can live near the plant again.
Bellona 25th April 2017 read more »