Monday, January 23, 2006

Chernobyl - adding insult to misery

We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the world's worst nuclear accident.

Tomorrow, the Low Carbon Kid will post details of how you can order his book based on the disaster, The Chernobyl Effect, published first 18 years ago.

Today though, a reminder of how the disaster is still fresh in the lives of thousands of people who live in the area.

Last month, President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko said he believes "it is important to draw people’s attention to problems of the Chernobyl zone and to formulate a complex plan of its re-cultivation". He criticized former governments for their indifference to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

“There is still no complex plan to solve problems of the Chernobyl zone. We remember about it once a year – on April 26. But that does not help us solve social problems of Slavutych, aid more than three hundred self-settlers, or cope with the problem of re-cultivation,” he said.

Seem like a good move? Re-cultivation - growing food for poor local people afflicted by mutated and diseased children? Beware - never take these nuclear cowboys at face value. Peer under the carpet or in the cupboard looking for skeletons and ulterior motives - lies and smoke. For here's what he said later:

The Ukrainian Head of State said the country should construct a modern and environmentally safe plant in the Chernobyl zone to store and process nuclear waste from Ukraine’s nuclear power plants.

Ah, so money is the real motive. Ukraine pays Russia $60-80m a year to store its nuclear waste, which it regards as a drain.

The "reviving" of Chernobyl blatantly disregards the report of the National Academy of Science which states that even low doses of radiation can cause cell defects. Ukraine's president is placing short-term profits over long-term risks from radioactive releases due to accidents, transport vulnerabilities, terrorist attack, geological events.

The world's largest radioactive waste dump just might be enticing in a area of the world that has historically been politically and economically unstable.

The Organization Committee on the Twentieth Anniversary of the Chernobyl Accident is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Stanislav Stashevsky.

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