April 27, 2010

Chernobyl Site Needs More Funding, Says President

On the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says that the nuclear site remains a serious threat--one that requires additional funding to deal with, according to comments he made on Monday.

"We have seen now that the funds we expected to spend are not enough. Additional needs could total about 400 million euro (5.3 million USD)," Yanukovich told Thomas Mirow, the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), according to Reuters reports.

The bulk of the problem rests with Chernobyl's fourth reactor, where work on the replacement of an aging shelter had to be delayed due to a shortage of funding, according to what Yanukovych said in a statement. The Ukraine has already received millions of dollars of aid, including $250 million from the United States, but more is apparently needed to safeguard the disaster site.

"We must of course unite our partners, donors and all our neighbors around the question because it is highly dangerous," the President said. "There are still more than two million people suffering from harmful effects of radiation exposure, of whom 498,000 are children."

According to the official World Nuclear Association (WNA) website, "The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel."

"The resulting steam explosion and fires released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere and downwind," the WNA added. "Two Chernobyl plant workers died on the night of the accident, and a further 28 people died within a few weeks as a result of acute radiation poisoning."


Image Caption: This true-color picture shows the nuclear reactor. The large body of water in the right half of the image is the north-western end of a 12-kilometer long cooling pond, and water channels run through the network of reactor-related buildings west of the pond. Reactor number four appears on the west end of a long building north-east of an L-shaped water channel. Mixing with the network of abandoned buildings, water channels, and roads, areas of green appear"”a testament to the vegetation that was growing around the site some 20 years after the accident. (August 5, 2009). Credit: Jesse Allen/NASA Earth Observatory


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