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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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Thursday
Feb202014

Beyond Nuclear/PSR speaking tour across MI a big success!

Alfred Meyer, PSR board memberAlfred Meyer (photo, left), national board member of Physicians for Responsibility (PSR), spoke throughout Michigan on a tour organized by Beyond Nuclear from Feb. 12-17. His presentations of "Nuclear Power: What You Need to Know about Price, Pollution and Proliferation" were dedicated to the memory of Dr. Jeff Patterson, PSR's Past-President.

Mr. Meyer is Past-President and Secretary of the board of Friends of Chernobyl Centers U.S, which works with Chernobyl Centers for Psycho-Social Rehabilitation in five Ukrainian communities greatly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, that began on April 26, 1986.

Alfred's first stop on Feb. 12, at Grand Rapids' Fountain Street Church, drew 35 attendees, despite the wintry weather. Corinne Carey of Don't Waste MI video-recorded the talk, and will post it to cable access t.v. in the near future.

Alfred had a productive day in Kalamazoo on Feb. 13th. His presentation at Western Michigan University (WMU) was attended by over 50 people, and garnered an extended interview by Gordon Evans on WMUK Radio, as well as an article by Yvonne Zipp in the Kalamazoo Gazette. Alfred also spoke at a press conference held at WMU's impressive solar panel array, launching a campus climate campaign to divest the university from fossil fuel investments. Alfred was also interviewed by Dr. Don Cooney, WMU Social Work professor and Kalamazoo City Commissioner, and Dr. Ron Kramer, WMU criminology prof., on "Critical Issues: Alternative Views" t.v. program. The interview will be aired on Kalamazoo cable access in the near future, as well as posted to YouTube.

The tour stop in South Haven (4 miles from Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor) on Feb. 14 drew 25 attendees, despite it being Valentine's Day. Kraig Schultz of Michigan Safe Energy Future--Shoreline Chapter video-recorded the talk, and will post the recording to the MSEF YouTube channel in the near future.

Ferndale in Metro Detroit on Feb. 15 drew 75 attendees. Damon J. Hartley of the Peoples Tribune did a write up and took lots of photos.

Monroe's event (within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone from the GE BWR Mark I, Fermi 2, as well as the proposed Fermi 3) on Feb. 16, drew 30 attendees, and garnered coverage in the Monroe News (text, PDF). The Ann Arbor (home base for PSR's new MI chapter) event on Feb. 17 also drew an audience despite an impending winter storm.

Beyond Nuclear has been honored and privileged to work with the following groups to make this speaking tour a success: Michigan Physicians for Social Responsibility; Sierra Club; Fountain Street Church; WMU Lee Honors College; WMU Environmental Studies program; WMU Institute of Government and Politics; Michigan Safe Energy Future (both Kalamazoo and South Haven chapters); Don't Waste Michigan; Ferndale Public Library; Alliance to Halt Fermi 3; Ellis Library; Don't Waste Michigan; Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes; and the Ecology Center.

Thursday
Feb212013

Chernobyl roof collapse worries activists

The area in pink indicates the location of the roof collapse. It is about 50 meters (165 feet) away from the "sarcophagus," a shelter built shortly after the 1986 disaster to contain radiation emanating from the exploded reactor.A 6,500 square foot section of roof on the turbine hall at Chernobyl collapsed last week due to heavy snow. Public relations officials for the reactor called the event “unpleasant” but claimed radiation levels remained the same.  While claims of no radiation release seem to be verified by trustworthy sources, this is not the end of the concern for the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents.

In 1986, Chernobyl unit 4 failed catastrophically and released huge amounts of radiation to the surrounding environment. In an attempt to contain what radiation remained, boron and sand were dumped on the melted core and a sarcophagus was hastily constructed and installed. The turbine hall that suffered the recent collapse, served all of the Chernobyl reactors and is near, but not covered by, the current sarcophagus. Although officials claim the sarcophagus was unaffected by the roof collapse, they failed to comment on the structural integrity of the remaining structure or the nearby sarcophagus. 

The new 2 billion dollar confinement currently under construction on site will cover the aging, unstable sarcophagus. It is unclear what the roof collapse means for this partially-built structure, meant to last for just 100 years, although officials say this construction was also not affected. Greenpeace has expressed concern that the current sarcophagus could follow the turbine hall and collapse and in book "The Children of Chernobyl" by Adi Roche, she details this risk, given the deteriorating condition of the original sarcophagus. A collapse of part of the structures surrounding Chernobyl Unit 4 is a sign that the deterioration is advancing to an extremely risky condition.

Monday
Feb182013

Roof Collapse At Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Sparks Fear Of Radiation Leaks

Part of the roof has collapsed at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear plant, where an explosion and reactor meltdown occurred in 1986, but authorities claim the site remains sealed and that there have been no changes in the radiation levels.

Some 80 construction workers were present at the site at the time of the incident, but no injuries were reported.

A massive concrete sarcophagus, which was built to contain leaking radiation from the exploded nuclear reactor, was not damaged by the roof collapse. International Business Times

The area in pink indicates the location of the roof collapse. It is about 50 meters (165 feet) away from the "sarcophagus," a shelter built shortly after the 1986 disaster to contain radiation emanating from the exploded reactor.

Friday
Aug172012

"Ukrainian environmentalist brutally beaten to death"

Volodymyr GoncharenkoEJOLT (Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade) reports the horrific news that, four days after conducting a press conference to warn that 180 tons of dangerous chemical and radioactive industrial waste had arrived at the city of Kryvyi Rih (in the Dnipropetrovsk area of Ukraine), which was likely to be "recycled" into the consumer product stream, 57 year old Volodymyr Goncharenko (photo, left) was brutally beaten to death. He was the Chairman of Social Movement of Ukraine: For the Rights of Citizens to Environmental Security.

As reported by EJOLT, "According to Goncharenko, during the past several years, scavengers have removed from the Chernobyl exclusion zone 6 million metric tons of scrap metal that was subsequently smelted at metallurgical combines and reprocessed into new metal. While in theory each metallurgical combine should be equipped with radiation-monitoring equipment to check all incoming scrap, financial shortfalls have meant this was rarely the case. In 2007 Ukraine ranked eighth in global steel production and steel is Ukraine’s leading export. One can only guess how much radioactive scrap metal has ended up in exported steel."

Pavlo Khazan of the Ukrainian Green Party stated: “We collaborated with Volodymyr for 15 years in professional and public areas. The Ukrainian Green Party has no doubt that the murder was linked to his professional activities.” Although the Ukrainian police have opened an investigation into Goncharenko's murder, Khazan feels that to deliver justice in this case, international attention and pressure will be needed.

Please contact the Embassy of Ukraine, urging a thorough investigation of Goncharenko's murder, as well as for an end to the "recycling" of radioactive metals and other materials into the consumer product stream. In the U.S., the Embassy of Ukraine can be written at 3350 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, faxed at (202) 333-0817, or phoned at (202) 349-2920. Embassies and Consulates of Ukraine elsewhere in the U.S., or in other countries, can also be contacted.

Thanks to Nuclear Energy Information Service in Illinois for alerting us to this story.

Click here to learn more about anti-nuclear resistance to attempts at "radioactive recycling" in North America.

Friday
Jul132012

Fukushima vs. Chernobyl: How Have Animals Fared?

For a little bird, bee or butterfly trying to make it in the world, which is the worse place to land: Fukushima or Chernobyl? On the one hand, there’s the risk from the release of radioactive materials that occurred in Japan just over a year ago. On the other, there’s the threat of mutations from accumulated environmental contamination over the past quarter-century from the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine. New York Times

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