SLAVUTYCH – 32 years later

April 26 is the Memorial Day for the victims of radiation accidents and catastrophes. This year marks 32 years since the Chernobyl disaster – the largest one in the history of nuclear energy in the world.

On December 7, 2003, the General Assembly of the United Nations supported the decision of the CIS Council of Heads of State on the proclamation of April 26 as the International Commemoration Day for Victims of Radiological Disasters and Catastrophes, and also called upon all UN member states to celebrate this International Day and to hold appropriate events within its framework. In December 2016, the Council proclaimed April 26 the International Commemoration Day for the Chernobyl disaster.

In 1986 there was a powerful explosion on the fourth power unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which caused the destruction of the reactor unit and the engine room.

As a result of the explosion, a fire arose over the roof of the third power unit. Firefighters immediately came at the area of the accident. The fire was extinguished until 5 am. However, they managed to eliminate inside the fourth block only on May 10, when most of the graphite burned down.

After the explosion and fire, a radioactive cloud was formed that covered not only the territory of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, but also the territories of many European countries – Sweden, Austria, Norway, Germany, Finland, Greece, Romania, Slovenia, Lithuania and Latvia. According to the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), this accident was classified at the highest seventh level of danger.

The total area of radioactive contamination of the territory was ​​207.5 thousand square kilometers. The total radiation exposure of ​​Ukraine was 50 thousand square kilometers in 12 oblasts, 19 Russian regions with an area of ​​almost 60 thousand square kilometers were exposed to radiation and with a population of 2.6 million people. There were contaminated 46.5 thousand square kilometers in the territory of Belarus, where about 20% of the population of the republic lived. The ChNPP personnel, liquidators of the accident, evacuated people and the population of the affected areas became the risk group. Nearly 8.4 million people have been exposed to radiation in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and hundreds of thousands people have been evacuated from contaminated areas. As a result of this disaster, more than 5 million hectares of land were withdrawn from agricultural use.

For safety reasons, on December 15, 2000, the work of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was terminated. In 2004, a tender was submitted for the design and construction of a new "sarcophagus" – a new safe confinement. Its construction began in 2012. On November 29, 2016, the Arch of New Safe Confinement was launched on the Shelter Object. According to the design, the new facility will be a solution to the problem, at least for one hundred years, although the liquidation of the nuclear power plant is forecasted in 2065. At the moment, within the new shelter, works are under way to dismantle and dispose all components of the 4th power unit. The Chernobyl site covers 1.5 square kilometers. It has about 250 buildings, with nearly 2,300 workers.

In honor of these events in the city of Slavutych and Pripyat events were held to commemorate the Chernobyl accident and the memory of those who died, to express their solidarity and commitment in solving urgent problems related to the consequences of the disaster. Traditionally, the Green Cross attended the events, among others: The founder of Green Cross of Ukraine – Yuriy Sapiga, Regional Coordinators of Green Cross Ukraine – Elena Germanovich and Tetiana Boyko. Workers of the nuclear power plant, residents of Slavutych, schoolchildren, representatives of the administration and guests of the city laid flowers at the Chernobyl memorial.

The activities and support provided to the Green Cross in Ukraine and the SOCMED Program implementation are assured by fruitful work and close cooperation with partners from GCCH and GCI, as well as local authorities and partners in Ukraine.

Liquidators of the accident, who showed heroism and fearlessness, deserve eternal memory and our worship. We hope that such a disaster and catastrophe that occurred in Ukraine will no longer happen on the Earth.

Green Cross Ukraine

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Kyiv, Ukraine

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