Ian Fairlie: April 26, 2021 marks the 35th anniversary of the world’s largest nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. Several days later, clouds containing the radioactive caesium-137 released by the reactor passed over Scotland about 1,400 miles or 2,500 kilometres away. Although we got off lightly in comparison to nearer neighbors, rain brought radioactivity to the ground contaminating parts of southern and central Scotland. Understandings of the impact of radioactivity on human health are constantly being revised but scientists generally agree that any additional radiation over natural levels in the environment can have negative effects particularly on women and children. Even here, it is likely that some cancers will have been caused by Chernobyl.
SCND 23rd April 2021 read more »
Fact check: 5 myths about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. If the term nuclear disaster is not only used to describe events, or accidents, in nuclear reactors but also radioactive emissions caused by humans then there are many occasions when human-caused nuclear contamination has been greater than that of the Chernobyl disaster, explained Kate Brown, professor of science, technology and society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Let’s take the production of plutonium,” she told DW, referring to the American and Soviet plants that produced plutonium at the center of a nuclear bomb. “Those plants each issued as part of the normal working everyday order at least 350 million curies into the surrounding environment. And that was not an accident. “Chernobyl issued 45 million curies of radioactive iodine. The Soviets and the Americans issued not 45 million curies, but 20 billion curies of radioactive iodine,” she said. And these tests, she added, were by design — not due to an accident or human error. Reports entitled “Life Flourishing Around Chernobyl” and photo series suggesting that the exclusion zone has become a “natural paradise” might give the impression that nature has recovered from the nuclear disaster. But Brown, who has been researching Chernobyl for 25 years, is adamant that this is “not true.”
Deutsche Welle 25th April 2021 read more »
University of Sheffield scientists to help clean up waste from ‘world’s worst’ nuclear accident. On the 35th anniversary of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters, new Yorkshire-led research has been published that could help to clean up the most dangerous radioactive materials that still remain at the site in Chernobyl. Scientists say the revealing findings – which are the most “detailed results” into the chemical makeup of the radioactive materials inside the plant’s melted core to date – could “pave the way” to safely remove hazardous waste from the site and help prevent future nuclear disasters. Dr Claire Corkhill, the project lead, from the University of Sheffield, stressed the urgency to the research as until now only a very limited number of samples have been analysed by scientists round the world. This is because the most dangerous materials that remain inside Chernobyl are so hazardous, hampering efforts to safely contain or remove the materials from the disaster zone. Dr Corkhill, told The Yorkshire Post: “This is such a big breakthrough because it opens up a world of possibilities to develop a deeper understanding of some of the most dangerous materials that still remain in Chernobyl.
Yorkshire Post 26th April 2021 read more »
Chernobyl nuclear disaster: ‘Three-day evacuation lasted 35 years’. Thirty-five years ago an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine released lethal radiation into the atmosphere. The nearest city, Pripyat, home to around 50,000 people, was evacuated along with other communities in a 4,000 sq km zone. Lyudmila Honchar was four years old at the time and lived in Pripyat with her parents. We joined her as she returned to try and find her family home, 35 years on.
BBC 26th April 2021 read more »
The vast and empty Chernobyl Exclusion Zone around the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident is a baleful monument to human mistakes. Yet 35 years after a power plant reactor exploded, Ukrainians also look to it for inspiration, solace and income.
Bellingham Herald 25th April 2021 read more »
A mothballed nuclear power station surrounded by wasteland, rubble and abandoned buildings is not what most people associate with a UNESCO World Heritage site. But that is what Ukraine has in mind for Chernobyl. Hoping that such an assignation could draw funding and more tourists, the government has begun a process that could eventually allow it to apply to the UN’s cultural, scientific and education body for protection.
Guardian 26th April 2021 read more »