Ukraine to import nuclear waste

Publish date: December 15, 2005

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is ready to analyze and make a political decision on burying nuclear waste from other countries in the Chernobyl zone after scientific approval and a public discussion of the matter, the RBC news agency reports.

However, he underscored at a press conference in Chernobyl, the issue should first and foremost be approved by the people. The Ukrainian leader added that the second storage area for the Chernobyl station’s nuclear waste would be put into operation in 2010.

The catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (then a part of the Soviet Union) on April 26, 1986 is widely regarded as the worst in the history of nuclear power generation. 30 people were killed immediately after the fourth reactor of the plant suffered a catastrophic steam explosion that resulted in a fire, a series of additional explosions, and a nuclear meltdown. Most of the workers who went inside the reactor after the accident had no protective equipment which led to fatal radiation burns, MosNews reported.

The explosion produced a plume of radioactive debris that drifted over parts of the western USSR, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia. Large areas of the Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian republics of the USSR were contaminated, resulting in the evacuation and resettlement of roughly 200,000 people. A concrete sarcophagus was later erected over the plant, but the area had already been severely polluted, MosNews reported.

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