The Fukushima Nuclear Plant has made itself known again. Last morning radioactive water leaked on the station, and Strontium-90 measuring 21 to 710 becquerels per liter was detected in the water, whereas the legal norm is 10 becquerels per liter. The dangerous water overflowed from the barriers of an artificial embankment which surrounds the tanks and could leak into the sea through drainage canals, operator of Fukushima-1 Nuclear Plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported. Almost three years have passed since the Japanese tragedy of March 11, 2011, and the world continues to feel the aftermaths of the accident.
Experts say that Chornobyl’s lessons have not been learned – not only by Japan, but also Ukraine, and worldwide. With Chornobyl experience before its eyes, Japan made a number of mistakes when the Fukushima accident occurred, experts emphasize. In particular, the government hid from the population necessary information, delayed iodine-based preventive measures, and provided an inefficient model of evacuation of people.
“We, the employees of the museum, started to forget about Chornobyl, too. We felt that the 25th anniversary of the tragedy would be the last. The reason is that the mass media, leaders of other countries, civic organization, including the UN, lost interest to this topic,” Anna KOROLEVSKA, deputy director general on scientific work of the National Museum Chornobyl, Merited Worker of Culture of Ukraine, told The Day, “And suddenly on March 11 there was an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster in Japan. Our museum received an avalanche of journalists from all over the world, who wanted to ask about Chornobyl. But they had not asked their questions over 27 years. And nobody has learned the lessons.”
“Let’s have a look at the general situation in the world. The world needs warmth and electricity. It is impossible to raise life standards without electric power. The situation in the world is currently developing in the way, when in spite of Chornobyl and Fukushima events, many countries keep promoting and continue rapid development of nuclear energy,” says Volodymyr KHOLOSHA, head of the State Agency of Ukraine on the Exclusion Zone Management. “Neither will Ukraine refuse from using the nuclear power, because nearly 50 percent of its entire energy is produced on nuclear power plants. As a result of corresponding moratoria in the 1990s, electricity was switched off in entire regions and we lost human lives. Now the question is not about refusal from nuclear power, but about making nuclear power safer.”
This question remains topical for Ukraine. Kholosha says, today in Ukraine four blocks are operating in Rivne Nuclear Power Plant, two blocks – in Khmelnytsky NPP, six – in Zaporizhia NPP, and three – in the Pivdennoukrainska (South Ukrainian) Nuclear Power Plant. “It is planned that two more blocks will be built at Khmelnytsky NPP. But there are no projects yet, so nothing is being constructed. Chornobyl NPP will never work again,” the expert added.
In his words, after the Fukushima accident, most of the countries held so-called stress tests, in order to find out to which extent their nuclear power plants met the world standards. Ukraine was among them. “According to the professional reports submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency, our nuclear power plants meet the standards. Life is going on, and the demands to nuclear power increase with each year passing, because the experience shows: there is a probability of accidents, it cannot be excluded,” head of the State Agency of Ukraine on Management of the Alienation Zone summed up.
The Day attended the International Seminar “Fukushima-Chornobyl: Chornobyl’s lessons for Fukushima,” held at the National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” (KPI). It was organized by the KPI jointly with the Institute of Stable Development and Japanese-Ukrainian Center. At the seminar Ukrainian and Japanese scientists shared their experience of overcoming the consequences of a nuclear power plant disasters, discussed potential joint projects and Chornobyl’s lessons, which have not been learned.
“We showed to our Japanese colleagues the Chornobyl NPP, they went to the population centers, which have restrictions for settlement. They heard extremely important information from Professor Mykola Tronko about the tragic experience of increased number people diagnosed with thyroid cancer as a result of the accident. Japanese must prepare for this and understand that such thing is possible,” Yurii Shcherbak, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine, Envoy of Peace of Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, First Ministry of Ecology of Ukraine, and head of the Vernadsky Institute of Stable Development, told to The Day.