Source AP ©

Yushchenko: region around Chernobyl nuclear plant must be put to use again

On eve of the 21st anniversary of the World’s most nightmarish ever nuclear accident, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said that uninhabited and contaminated region around the shuttered Chernobyl nuclear power plant would be put to use again.

The April 26, 1986, explosion and fire at Chernobyl's Reactor No. 4 sent a radioactive cloud across Europe, contaminating large areas of land and prompting the Soviet government to permanently evacuate more than 300,000 people. A 30-kilometer (18 miles) zone around the plant remains closed to the public.

"I am convinced that the Chernobyl zone is coming alive ... and step by step, we will begin to develop the possibilities of this territory," Yushchenko said during a lecture at a school outside Kiev.

Projects being considered include a nature preserve that would take advantage of a wildlife resurgence in the area, which is largely bereft of humans, and using the area to produce bio-fuels, Yushchenko said. He also said he would like to see an international science center opened at the site to study the lingering effects of the 1986 accident.

"This land must be revitalized," Yushchenko said during the lecture, which was broadcast live on Ukrainian television. "We should look at it as having prospects, not with the feeling that this is a territory of Ukraine that has been erased from the map and which we must forget."

A project to build a new shelter to cover Reactor No. 4 will begin "in several months," Yushchenko said. Work on the US$1.1 billion (EUR885 million) internationally funded project has been delayed repeatedly, though the hastily built current shelter of concrete and steel is crumbling and dotted with holes.

Thirty-one people died within the first two months of the Chernobyl disaster from illnesses caused by radioactivity. There is debate over the longer-term toll. The U.N. health agency has estimated that about 9,300 people will die from cancers caused by Chernobyl's radiation. Some groups, such as Greenpeace, insist the toll could be 10 times higher.

Comments
Boris Yeltsin tried to escape to US Embassy as USSR was falling apart
Putin sets Merkel against Trump. She doesn't mind
Boris Yeltsin tried to escape to US Embassy as USSR was falling apart
Boris Yeltsin tried to escape to US Embassy as USSR was falling apart
Boris Yeltsin tried to escape to US Embassy as USSR was falling apart
Putin sets Merkel against Trump. She doesn't mind
Putin sets Merkel against Trump. She doesn't mind
Ukraine dreams of what it can do to Crimea after winning war with Russia
US-Russian confrontation: War is peace, freedom is slavery
Default more likely to hit American, rather than Russian economy
Russia refuses to build helicopter carriers, but considers aircraft carriers
Pilot shares his impressions after flying Su-57 fifth-generation fighter
Turkey desperately tries to rescue its national currency as it falls to all-time lows
Boris Yeltsin tried to escape to US Embassy as USSR was falling apart
Terrorists attack police officers in Chechnya in a series of poorly prepared acts
Russia Must Die - The Deep State has Spoken
Oil prices may fall as USA saves record oil reserves
Putin sets Merkel against Trump. She doesn't mind
US-Russian confrontation: War is peace, freedom is slavery
Boris Yeltsin tried to escape to US Embassy as USSR was falling apart
Israel makes final warning to Iran