Information for Press Release
on the Occasion of the 15th Anniversary of Chornobyl Catastrophe
On April 26, 2001, 15 years after the Chornobyl catastrophe, which entered the history of civilization as a tragic date related to the scientific and technical progress, are running out. Mankind had never come across such a man-made disaster. Our long-suffering Ukrainian land became the epicenter of the nuclear accident.
As a result of the nuclear emission, 53 454 km2 of Ukrainian territory, 2 293 settlements with population of 2 326 000 people (including more than 610 000 children) were exposed to radiation. On one third of Ukrainian territory the radiological background considerably exceeded natural background. Territories in 74 regions of 12 counties of Ukraine were contaminated with Ce137 more than 37 K-becquerel per m2 (1 curie per m2). This makes 7% of Ukrainian territory, 15% of forests, 5% of agricultural land.
Companies, organizations and people of the former Soviet Union took part in emergency response of the first and second stage. A significant part of scientific, industrial and economic potential of the country was involved in elimination of the consequences of the accident.
During the last 10 years Ukraine is financing the expenditures for elimination of the consequences of the accident itself. This makes 5-7% of the Overall State Budget of Ukraine. Only in the period of 1991-2000 the expenditures for elimination of the consequences of the accident mount up to almost 6 billion US Dollars.
The following problems are the most acute today:
In order to solve problems ensuring the current safety and developing strategy for turning the “Shelter” into a safe system, the Commission of the EU, Ukraine, the USA and groups of international experts have elaborated a “Shelter Implementation Plan”(SIP), and a Chornobyl “Shelter” Fund has been established. According to SIP, the total cost of assessment of “Shelter” status and its stabilization, turning it into environmentally safe system, is 768 million US Dollars. Ukrainian contribution is 50 million.
The top priority in terms of recovery activity is remaining to be a person, and all the recovery actions are targeted at the protection of people.
The number of the affected people in Ukraine is 3 331 176 persons. Among them 88 931 have been ascribed to category 1, 304 699 – to category 2, 550 836 – to category 3, 1 140 813 – to category 4, 2 946 – to category G – 2 946, and children – 1 242 951 persons.
Protection of the population from the consequences of Chornobyl catastrophe has three mainstreams: anti-radiological, social and medical.
Anti-radiological protection is based on measuring the levels of radioactive contamination and defining dose limits, implementation of various counter measures oriented at irradiation mitigation. Medical protection is based on annual physical examinations, treatment, rehabilitation, analysis and evaluation of health of the affected population. Social protection – on establishing and accordance of social benefits and compensations.
Today, the population living on the contaminated territories receives the main dose load (from 70 to 95% of the absorbed dose) as a result of inner irradiation – local food products consumption, especially private sector dairy and meat products.
Social protection of the affected population is a key direction and a field of state consideration in the whole complex of issues related to elimination of the consequences of Chornobyl accident. Evacuation and re-settlement of people from contaminated areas have created a number of problems related to the adaptation difficulties of the resettled population.
In the previous years, almost 163 000 people have been resettled from about 120 settlements: 200 settlements for “compact living” of the evacuated and resettled population have been constructed. In the time length of 1986-2000, 28 692 country houses and apartments of more than 2 million m2 of total area have been built. Including 17 737houses and apartments of more than 1 400 000 m2 of total area built in the period from 1991 to 2000. Dwelling has been provided or improved for 5 842 families of Chornobyl invalids.
A special attention is paid to medical and sanitary treatment and rehabilitation of the affected population.
In 2000, 367 664 people, including 345 361 children received medical treatment. In 2001, it is planned to create a database on all the categories of the population affected as a consequence of Chornobyl catastrophe.
Due to the decommissioning of Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP) there occurred certain problems with social protection of the affected population.
The overall number of ChNPP employees that will be leaving the service during 2001-2008 is 5 093 people. The peak of employment discharging is in 2001 and makes 2 914 people.
According to the estimation of the Ministry of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine, the total expenditures on welfare for former ChNPP employees and Slavutich population will make 3.4 billion HRN, including 50.32 million HRN for the year of 2001.
The example of western assistance in settling the problems of social protection of the population of the city of Slavutich is the establishment of EBRD branch in the city, with the aim of providing loans to local companies. It is worth hoping that this initiative will develop in the future.
According to the draft of the “National Program of Mitigation of the Consequences of Chornobyl Catastrophe for 2001-2005 and up to 2010, the priority fields in this regard are:
Chornobyl Catastrophe, for the first time in the history of humankind, has shown in contrast the illusiveness of borders and political systems in regard to people`s protection, as well as vulnerability and exposure of their lives. Modern understanding of the role of man-made accidents for the mankind and every person is a crucial, and maybe the most important lesson of Chornobyl.