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.
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.
Over 25 years since it exploded and caught fire, the Australian television program Sixty Minutes on June 6, 2011 revisited the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine to learn the lessons about radioactivity's hazards for application in Japan, downwind and downstream of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe.
The upcoming 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster is a brutal reminder of the dangers of nuclear power, proliferation and terrorism, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev said on Tuesday. "The true scope of the tragedy still remains beyond comprehension and is a shocking reminder of the reality of the nuclear threat," Gorbachev said in an essay published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a watchdog organisation on nuclear security. Nuclear Power Daily
The 25th commemoration of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe on April 26, 2011 will be a big moment: the nuclear power establishment in industry, government, media, academia, etc. will try to downplay Chernobyl's significance, while others -- the anti-nuclear and environmental movements, survivors of the catastrophe, etc. -- will struggle to keep the truth alive. Photographers have done essential work in this struggle for the past quarter century, and still are doing so. For example, Danish photographer Mads Eskesen published Chernobyl - 20 Years, 20 Lives in 2006. (Eskesen has also shot amazing photos of the beautiful, collectively owned, 40 Megawatt-electric Middlegrunden Offshore Wind Farm near Copenhagen Harbor.)
Beyond Nuclear has partnered with social documentary photographer Gabriela Bulisova to exhibit her Chernobyl photos in Vermont and New Hampshire, at this crucial time in the campaigns to prevent license extensions at the Vermont Yankee and Seabrook nuclear power plants. Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps will speak at Bulisova's opening on Tuesday, April 26th at Dartmouth College's (Hannover, New Hampshire) Russo Gallery in Haldeman Hall in cooperation with Dartmouth's Dickey Center for International Understanding. The Director of the Dickey Center, Kenneth S. Yalowitz, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Belarus from 1994-1997, will also speak, as will Dartmouth students from Ukraine. Denis Rydjeski, Programs and Outings Chair, and the SIERRA CLUB of the Upper Valley in Springfield, VT, have made this exhibit possible with a generous donation, as well as all the ground work. Bulisova's photos can be viewed online; clicking the links to individual photos will enlarge them; some photos have captions (the remaining captions will be added in the near future). Bulisova's title, "Life on the Edge...The Half-Lives and Half-Truths of Chernobyl," and her artist's statement, provide additional insights on the work.
The Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance, which has helped lead the grassroots effort to shut down the dangerously deteriorated and leaking reactor, also have plans to exhibit Bulisova's photos in Montpelier and other places in Vermont in the coming months. Stay tuned for details!
Robert Knoth, Amsterdam based social documentary photographer, has also documented the devastation caused by Chernobyl, as well as other nuclear disasters across the former Soviet Union. These photos have been exhibited around the world -- except, that is, in the U.S.! Robert has asked Beyond Nuclear's help in getting his work exhibited here. If you are interested in bringing Robert's powerful photos to your area, please contact Kevin at Beyond Nuclear's office number, (301) 270-2209 ext. 1.
National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig is also fundraising in order to return to Chernboyl to continue his "Long Shadow of Chernobyl" project.
Nearly 25 years after the world's worst nuclear disaster, it has emerged that only half the money needed to safely secure the wreckage of the Chernobyl power plant has been raised. A new shelter is being built to seal the almost 200 tonnes of melted nuclear fuel rods within the remains of the damaged reactor. But construction may have to be halted if donor nations fail to provide funds. BBC