Friday, April 28, 2006

Remembering Chernobyl

Flowers, Tears in Memory of Chernobyl
April 27, 2006

This week, Ukraine memorialized the victims of the 20-year-old Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. The destruction of reactor Chernobyl-4 released 400 times more radiation than the Hiroshima atomic bomb, caused approximately 56 direct deaths, and forced the evacuation and resettlement of over 336,000 people. The reactor's explosion even registered as a weak seismic event in Ukraine.

Since the disaster, Ukraine has received almost $1 billion USD in Chernobyl-related aid. Currently, a $768 USD tomb to encapsulate and secure the remaining radiation is being constructed.

The anniversary sparks renewed debate about sustainable energy, the ability of aid programs to respond to disasters, and the prevention of such disasters through incentivizing alternative energy production means.

- UNICEF criticized the Chernobyl responders for not encouraging increased iodine intake for children to prevent thyroid cancer.
- Greenpeace urged relief organizations to admit that the human impact is broader than reported and to acknowledge the potential health-cost crisis.
- Belarussian protesters urged their government to more closely regulate food production to avoid contamination by Chernobyl-effected soil.

For a summary and links to relevant NGO reports, visit Wikipedia's Chernobyl website.

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