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UN Cites IAEA for Its Efforts in Chernobyl Recovery

Chernobyl

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant´s 4th block in the Ukraine. (Photo: P. Pavlicek/IAEA)

The United Nations recently praised the IAEA for the work that the Agency is doing on behalf of the countries affected by the Chernobyl accident. In a resolution passed on 20 November, the UN General Assembly commended the Agency´s efforts in remediation of agricultural and urban environments, cost-effective agricultural countermeasures and the monitoring of human exposure in areas affected by Chernobyl.

In the two decades since the disaster, the IAEA has implemented several programmes to mitigate the health and environmental consequences of the accident, investigated the site to determine the root causes of the event, and worked at preventing such an accident from occurring again.

The Agency´s work in the affected countries currently involves several different components:

  • Technical and financial contributions to improve safety at the Chernobyl site and other nuclear sites in the region;


  • Assistance to Ukraine to decommission units 1, 2 and 3 and the management of radioactive waste from unit 4 at the Chernobyl site; and


  • Proposal of an integrated approach to radioactive waste management.

In a recent report issued on 4 October, the UN also called for a change in the manner in which international organizations approach Chernobyl area recuperation. Calling the "emergency phase" of its efforts over, the UN and its bodies are now moving to a phase of rehabilitation and sustainable development for the area´s residents. Though 330,000 individuals were relocated in the accident´s wake, some 5 million remain in affected areas of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The greatest issues facing residents now are unemployment and emigration.

Background

The IAEA initiated the Chernobyl Forum, a two-year cooperative international effort that studied the social, environmental and health impacts of the accident. Created in 2003, the Forum was comprised of eight specialized UN agencies, as well as the governments of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. It concluded its work in 2005 and issued a set of authoritative reports that were released in September 2005.

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