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.



"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.


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


Debate between Beyond Nuclear and Russian nuclear establishment proponent on Voice of Russia Radio

Last Thursday, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps debated Victor Murogov, the Head of the International Nuclear Education Center and Professor at the National Research Nuclear University in Moscow. The debate was aired on the Voice of Russia Radio. The discussion revolved around the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, which President Obama attended last week.


Chernobyl: A field trip to no man's land

" international team of a dozen researchers...are here to study the ecosystem that was left behind after the 1986 accident.

"They come here to find out what the impacts are of a nuclear accident on the life that is left behind.

"The team's latest studies on birds suggest that the contamination is linked to some unusual genetic effects.

"One member of the team, biologist Gier Rudolfsen from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, has been focusing on how the male birds' reproductive organs might be affected.

"The constant unzipping and replication of DNA required to produce millions of sperm cells each day means there are many opportunities for the biological assembly line to be broken." See BBC Nature for more detail and videos.


EU "deep geologic disposal" reprocessing loophole will likely target Russia

Reuters has reported that the European Union has set a deadline of 2015 for its 14 member states with nuclear power industries -- comprising a total of 143 atomic reactors -- to come up with plans for "deep geologic disposal" sites for burial of their high-level radioactive wastes. However, the EU admits it will take as long as 40 years to construct those repositories. Deutsche Welle also reported on this story, including on the loophole in the new EU directive that will still allow high-level radioactive waste exports to foreign countries for reprocessing, so long as those countries also have deep geologic repositories. Such shipments would likely target Russia.

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