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35 years of disaster - Ukraine wants UNESCO to commemorate Chernobyl

35 years of disaster – Ukraine wants UNESCO to commemorate Chernobyl

Shortly after 1 o’clock local time, on the night of April 26, 1986, that fourth reactor exploded at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on the outskirts of Pripyat. A cloud of radioactive particles spread with the winds affecting large parts of Europe.

Thirty-one firefighters and nuclear power plant workers near the accident died of radiation sickness, and thousands of people were later affected by radiation-related disease. The number of people who contracted the disease and died as a result of the disaster was discussed, and studies were conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Scientific Radiation Committee (Unscear) and Russian authorities with very mixed results.

Collapse from Above in April 1986.

Photo: AP

Also in Sweden The meltdown happened Dire consequences, thousands of reindeer and livestock have been killed – and even today high levels of the radioactive isotope cesium-137 are measured in wild boar meat, among other things.

In 2016, the new sarcophagus was completed, which will protect Europe over the next 100 years from radioactive fallout. After years of work to put the giant metal dome in place, the Ukrainian government has taken seriously the attempt to place Chernobyl on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

For many, the name Chernobyl is synonymous with disaster and destruction, but the truth is that the site of the accident in the Soviet Union at that time was in recent years, Not least after the popular TV series of 2019It has become one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country. Before the pandemic, the ghost town of Pripyat, which was home to about 50,000 people until the accident, and the nuclear power plant closed together attracted more than 120,000 visitors annually.

The country’s Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko previously said that the status of the world heritage has increased tourism and made the closed area a monument that could warn mankind of future nuclear accidents. Now, 35 years after the accident, Ukraine is submitting its proposal to UNESCO.

We believe that placing Chernobyl on the World Heritage List is a first and important step towards obtaining this wonderful place as a unique destination for humanity, says Oleksandr Tkachenko. To Reuters.

But it might take some time For Ukrainians to get an answer to a question about whether the accident site meets the criteria for it to end up on the list. The United Nations UNESCO receives nominations from member states and assesses contributions based on ten criteria, of which at least one must be met. Places must have an especially great global value and can, for example, be a unique example of human development, or show important steps in Earth’s history. The process is long and the nominations are discussed at an annual meeting, and it may take until 2023 before a decision is made on the issue.

The meaning of the Chernobyl region extends far beyond the borders of Ukraine. Oleksandr Tkachenko says that it is not only about a monument, but also about history and human rights.

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