26 April 2011

Greenpeace speaks out for Chernobyl anniversary

Today, April 26, 2011, is the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.

Greenpeace representatives just completed a mission there, supported by 70 journalists from 18 countries. According to Greenpeace, "These seasoned journalists asked critical and insightful questions, none of them easily moved. But many of them were deeply disturbed by what they saw and heard – often by the mundane details that were mentioned matter-of-factly by the interviewees."

According to a Greenpeace blog post about the trip, the Ukrainian people continue to experience serious physical and economic consequences of that incident of 25 years ago.

For example:
...[T]ens of thousands of Ukrainian children need to be sent away every year to uncontaminated areas for at least a month, in order to allow the body to get rid of some of the Cesium-137 accumulated through eating everyday food like milk, mushrooms, berry jam, and meat.

...[R]adioactive waste containment and management had become an important sector of the economy, because of the Chernobyl disaster. The original sarcophagus, hastily built in the months after the accident, is meant to only last 25-30 years and now at risk of collapse. Underneath, the destroyed reactor is still on site and cannot be dismantled because of its extreme radioactivity.

... [I]t is considered impolite to ask workers building the new sarcophagus about their personal radiation dose. If it reaches the limit then they cannot work, which means they lose their job.
>> Read the full Greenpeace blog post: Chernobyl: distorted reality and unanswered questions

So how long will they be dealing with the aftermath of this year's nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan?

And why do so many people want to continue to build more nuclear plants where these things could happen?

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