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Ukraine Marks Chernobyl Anniversary
International

Ukraine Marks Chernobyl Anniversary

Ukraine is commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Global donors have used the occasion to pledge additional funds to help keep the area safe for generations to come.

The European Union was among the global donors that promised an additional $99 million to help secure the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, as the Ukrainian government began marking 30 years since the disaster, AFP reported.

The money will go toward the construction of a new spent nuclear waste storage facility, adding to the €2 billion already donated to helping clean up and secure the site. Ukraine still needs €15 million more to be able to safely store hazardous materials underground.

“It’s an important project for the world as well as, of course, for Ukraine and Ukrainians,” said Suma Chakrabarti, chief of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the organization in charge of the project.

The announcement comes as Kyiv began commemorations on Tuesday with a ceremony at the nuclear power plant, which was the site of the worst nuclear accident in history when, on April 26, 1986, a nuclear meltdown sent atomic radiation billowing into the atmosphere.

The number of casualties caused by the disaster is still debated, but a UN report published in 2005 put the number at around 4,000.

The environmental activist organization Greenpeace criticized the report, saying it underestimated the number of deaths.

“Trying to deal with the Chernobyl disaster is like the labor of Sisyphus. It has to be done, but will not be finished for hundreds of years, if ever,” a Greenpeace expert said in a statement, according to DPA news agency.

CAPTION:

The 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine was marked on April 26, 2016.

In the early hours of April 26, 1986, a botched test at the nuclear plant in then-Soviet Ukraine triggered a meltdown that spewed deadly clouds of atomic material into the atmosphere, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes.

 

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