You are on page 1of 2

Ukrainians remember Chernobyl disaster

Reuters - Ukraine held memorial services on Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary
of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster which poisoned huge areas of eastern Europe and
contributed to the crisis of the Soviet system. In the early hours of April 26, 1986, a
test at the nuclear plant in Soviet Ukraine triggered a meltdown that sent deadly
clouds of atomic material into the atmosphere. The Chernobyl plant today sits in the
middle of an uninhabitable zone - with villages, forests and marshlands - the size of
Luxembourg.
More than half a million civilian and military personnel were sent in from the Soviet
Union as so-called liquidators to clean-up the nuclear pollution, according to the
World Health Organization. Thirty-one plant workers and firemen died in the
immediate aftermath of the accident, most of them from acute radiation sickness. The
total number of deaths and long-term health effects remain a subject of intense
debate.
The disaster and the Soviet government's reaction highlighted the weakness of the
communist system with its unreliable bureaucrats and culture of secrecy. For
example, the evacuation order only came 36 hours after the accident. Former Soviet
leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said he considers Chernobyl one of the main nails in
the coffin of the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991.

Ukrainians remember Chernobyl disaster


Reuters - Ukraine held memorial services on Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary
of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster which poisoned huge areas of eastern Europe and
contributed to the crisis of the Soviet system. In the early hours of April 26, 1986, a
test at the nuclear plant in Soviet Ukraine triggered a meltdown that sent deadly
clouds of atomic material into the atmosphere. The Chernobyl plant today sits in the
middle of an uninhabitable zone - with villages, forests and marshlands - the size of
Luxembourg.
More than half a million civilian and military personnel were sent in from the Soviet
Union as so-called liquidators to clean-up the nuclear pollution, according to the
World Health Organization. Thirty-one plant workers and firemen died in the
immediate aftermath of the accident, most of them from acute radiation sickness. The
total number of deaths and long-term health effects remain a subject of intense
debate.

The disaster and the Soviet government's reaction highlighted the weakness of the
communist system with its unreliable bureaucrats and culture of secrecy. For
example, the evacuation order only came 36 hours after the accident. Former Soviet
leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said he considers Chernobyl one of the main nails in
the coffin of the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991.