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Russia/Ukraine/ex-USSR

The former Soviet Union was rocked by one of the world's worst environmental disasters on April 26, 1986, when Unit 4 at the Chernobyl reactor site exploded, sending a radioactive plume across the world. The former Soviet Union is still also the site of some of the world's worst radioactive contamination from its nuclear weapons program.

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Wednesday
Feb132019

HBO Miniseries ‘Chernobyl’ Is As “Close To Reality” As Possible Within Five Hours – TCA

As reported by Deadline.

HBO features not only nuclear-themed historical dramas, but also documentaries, such as "Atomic Homefront" about radioactive waste crises in St. Louis, MO, and "Indian Point: Imaging the Unimaginable," about reactor security risks very near New York City.

Thursday
Feb072019

God's River, by filmmakers Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac

GOD’S RIVER is a short documentary film created by Mark Isaac and Gabriela Bulisova as part of their work in Ukraine supported by a Fulbright grant. Energy producers and environmentalists agree that climate change has significantly reduced the flow of the Southern Bug River, the longest river entirely within Ukraine. But the two camps differ dramatically on how to respond. The state-operated nuclear conglomerate, EnergoAtom, proposes to raise water levels behind Alexandrivsky Dam, flooding a portion of Buszky Gard National Park. But a unique coalition of veterans, academics, environmentalists and Ukrainian nationalists opposes the plan because it will threaten endangered plants and animals, submerge archaeological digs, and destroy Gardove Island, a place that is sacred to Cossack heritage. While some urge compromise, others claim concessions could permanently kill the river. Returning soldiers from the Donbas region forthrightly embrace the struggle as an extension of the war effort. If the Ukrainian Parliament approves the plan, they have pledged — along with their allies — to occupy Gardove Island, where a Cossack church once stood, and protect it “by all means necessary, including radical ones.”

Wednesday
Nov302016

New Chernobyl Arch at long last installed

The new Chernobyl Arch, shown here under construction a number of years ago. The old Chernobyl Sarcophagus is shown in the background.As reported by the London Guardian, the largest movable structure in human history has finally been installed at Chernobyl. The Arch, as it is called, was decades in the planning, and many years under construction (see photo, left). It had to be built some distance from the radioactive remains of Chernobyl Unit 4, which exploded and burned beginning on April 26, 1986. There even had to be radiation shielding in between what's left of Unit 4, and the new Arch construction site, to protect the workers. This is because Unit 4 is still dangerously radioactive, even though it is within a hastily built containment structure, called the Sarcophagus.

The new Arch has cost a whopping $1.6 billion. The air-tight Arch is intended to suppress radioactive dust, as the old Sarcophagus, at risk of collapse, is dismantled within, by remote control cranes and other high-tech equipment. In that sense, the Arch represents a $1.6 billion, high-tech dust cover, or tarp!

The Arch is only intended to last for a century. It could well need replacement at that point, in order to continue to contain the radioactive hazards within, which will persist for a million years or more into the future.

Given the old Sarcophagus, the new Arch, and the likely need for a replacement high-tech, astronomically expensive dust cover in the year 2116, this situation can be likened to Russian dolls, with a monster-load of hazardous radioactivity that must be contained within.

Tuesday
May032016

Experts present startling findings around Fukushima and Chernobyl at commemorative event

Beyond Nuclear held a stimulating afternoon and evening of presentations, panel discussions and short films to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the 5th anniversary of the still on-going Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.  The event took place on May 3rd at the Goethe-Institut in Washington DC and was also supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America.  Beyond Nuclear is also very grateful to our member cosponsors: James Cromwell, Alice and Lincoln Day, Dr. Ian Fairlie, Judi and Lou Friedman, Jay Hormel, Redwood Alliance, and Carolyn and Roy Treadway. Learn more.

Wednesday
Apr272016

TRT World's The Newsmakers: 30 Years Since Chernobyl

As featured on TRT World's "The Newsmakers": Thirty years since the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, The Newsmakers asks Kevin Kamps [of Beyond Nuclear in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.] and Jonathan Cobb [of the World Nuclear Association in London, U.K.] what lessons have been learnt from the world's worst civil nuclear disaster. [Watch the segment, from the beginning of the recording to the 14 minute 12 second mark.]

Kevin cited Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education's clever line, as reported at Forbes:

“We all know that the wind doesn’t blow consistently and the sun doesn’t shine every day,” he said, “but the nuclear industry would have you believe that humankind is smart enough to develop techniques to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, but at the same time human kind is so dumb we can’t figure out a way to store solar electricity overnight. To me that doesn’t make sense.”

Trying to downplay nuclear power risks, as compared to other electricity generation risks, Cobb cited a hydro-dam break in China that killed a large number of people by drowning, and then disease.

But Cobb failed to mention the risks of a dam breach at the Oconee nuclear power plant in Seneca, SC. As reported by Tom Zeller, Jr., in the Huffington Post, two U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission whistleblowers have revealed, if the upstream dam fails, whether due to an earthquake, terrorist attack, etc., three reactors could be submerged under 16 feet of water, plunging Oconee into a Fukushima-like catastrophe.

Gundersen warned about such "inland tsunami" risks at Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska, during historic flooding on the Missouri River in 2011.