[April 28 2011]
25 years on, the Chernobyl nuclear accident remains the world’s worst nuclear accident. With the Fukushima nuclear crisis being rated at the same level of gravity as Chernobyl, it is for a call to a ‘nuclear-free society’ that 87 non-governmental organisations staged a protest in Japan on Sunday, to close all nuclear power plants in Japan. Meanwhile, anti-nuclear demonstrations are taking place across Europe and actions planned in the USA. Whilst the situation and future at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant remains unpredictable, Ukrainian President Viktor Ianoukovitch and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev met on location to commemorate this day and speak of improving security measures for the future. It was in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union), on 26 April 1986 at 0123 that the reactor number 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded during a security test and errors of manipulation, provoking the extreme release of radioactive elements contaminating large parts of Europe. The Chernobyl power plant was only closed in December 2000; the accidented reactor remains insufficiently isolated.
Photo of a protest outside Tokyo Electric Power’s headquarters building in Tokyo, Reuters.