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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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Sunday
Jul122009

Remembering Chernobyl 23 years on 

Twenty three years after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in his country, Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko, has announced an ambitious program to dismantle the Chernobyl nuclear complex. Unit 4 of the former Soviet nuclear power station exploded on April 26, 1986 and burned for days, lofting radioactivity around the world in what has been called the world's worst industrial accident. It will take close to $700 million in joint Ukrainian and U.S. financing to start the massive decommissioning project which Yuschenko says can be completed in 55 years including the complete dismantlement of all four reactor units. However, such predictions are likely optimistic given the nuclear industry's track record of performing chronically behind schedule and over budget.

Sunday
Jul122009

Animals in the Chernobyl "dead zone" not doing well 

The first published study to focus on the abundance of animal populations within the 36-mile diameter “dead zone” contradicts some earlier science-light research largely promoted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that suggested wildlife populations were dramatically rebounding and that the radioactive abandoned landscape is actually a “nature reserve” for wolves, bison and bears. The more recent study by Moller and Mousseau published findings that the radioactive fallout has significantly depleted biological species including birds and insects. Moller and Mousseau also found “a high incidence” of deformed animal species.

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