Chornobyl Zone: exclusion or rehabilitation?

The Chornobyl Exclusion Zone covers 2600 square kilometers… For the last 20 years the levels of radioactive contamination in this territory have been significantly reduced as a result of natural decay of radionuclides. The measures aimed at the elimination of exposure doses and creation of relatively safe conditions for the people living in the contaminated areas are permanently conducted. However, the Exclusion Zone will still be the source of contamination of practically all environmental components for a long time. This fact determines its potential hazard both for the population living in its territory and for the inhabitants of the adjacent areas. And as a result of increasing risk of terroristic threat it can be a “supplier” of radioactive materials for “dirty bombs”. Thus, the further comprehensive study of the processes that take place within the Exclusion Zone, development of protective measures, usage of the Chornobyl experience for emergency teams training are very important tasks for the future.

Will the territories of the Chornobyl Zone be suitable for economic use in the near future? Is it possible to implement any other rehabilitation projects? What is going on with the territories, waters, flora and fauna of the Exclusion Zone? How will radioactive waste disposed in the Exclusion Zone be treated? Will it become a mortuary for new RAW? Many scientists and experts that have been studying the life and changes within the Chornobyl Zone for many years try to find the answers to these questions. Once again, on September 27-29, 2006 they gathered in the International Radioecology Laboratory in Slavutich to share the experience of their research, work out practical recommendations, and outline the directions for further research.

The workshop gathered about 100 representatives from 9 countries of the world. Traditionally the participants of the workshop were greeted by Yevgeniy Garin, Coordinating Director of the Chornobyl Center, Vladimir Udovichenko, Mayor of Slavutich, Mr. Riaz Awan, Energy Attaché of the Embassy of the United States of America in Ukraine. About 60 plenary, sectional and poster reports will be discussed during two working days.

The organizer of the third workshop devoted to this issue was the Chornobyl Center for Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste and Radioecology under support of the US Department of Energy (US DOE), International Union of Radioecologists, State Department – Administration of the Exclusion Zone and Zone of Absolute Resettlement of the Ministry of Emergencies of Ukraine.