Chernobyl Today

Page - April 20, 2006
In March 2011, a Greenpeace research team visited several places in Rivnenska and Zhytomyrska Oblast, Ukraine, to collect samples of food products produced in those areas and which comprise a significant component of the local diet.

Download the findings of the investigation.

Download the factsheets: Chernobyl, 25 years later.

The problem we call Chernobyl is not a thing of the past. Plans are now being made to export large amounts of highly radioactive waste to sites of nuclear accidents like Mayak, Semipalatinsk and even to Chernobyl. These plans are supported by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency.

This is the way the nuclear industry acknowledges these people's suffering - by calling their homes and livelihoods a "sacrifice zone." Instead of supporting these communities with their significant medical, economic, ecological and social problems, Western companies continue to negotiate business deals to export more and more poisonous waste to be dumped and forgotten.

The western European utilities and nuclear industry would never dare to think of dumping radioactive waste in the outskirts of Paris or the suburbs of Helsinki. The fact that such practices are tolerated in the 21st century is appalling; the international community has simply failed to protect innocent people.

Since the days of the 1950s when nuclear-powered electricity was hailed as the answer to the world's energy problems, nuclear power has remained only a marginal energy source, supplying only two percent of the global primary energy demand. Even that tiny proportion wouldn't have been possible without  huge public subsidies.

Nuclear energy is the most expensive electricity source available, taking into account the cost of building, running and decommissioning the power stations. But an economic analysis alone cannot calculate the costs due to the damage done to the gene pool, the very web of life affected by radiation. There are many other costs to take into consideration such as insurance and the cost of potential accidents, the long-term disposal of waste, which is impossible to calculate when no reliable solution has yet been found. Nuclear power is actually not a solution for climate change. The massive subsidies needed to keep the nuclear industry alive, are slowing and undermine the renewable energy revolution that is the real solution to climate change.

Fifty years on from the birth of the nuclear power industry, the true price of nuclear is being paid by those with the least money - the poor and the sick who live with the debilitating effects of radiation.

Take a look at the images of those living with the worst aspects of the nuclear industry for a glimpse of that deadly legacy. The four regions portrayed are just a sample of what could happen in any part of the world at any time. The destructive and polluting power of nuclear is a global risk; nuclear waste respects no national boundaries. The insidious traces of what happened in Chernobyl can still be found today in Northern Ireland, Sweden and even Saudi Arabia - and they will persist for thousands of years to come.