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The Chornobyl Center for Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste and RadioecologyOn April 26, 1996, the tenth anniversary of the Chornobyl accident, Ukrainian President Kuchma formally established the Chornobyl Center for Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste and Radioecology in the town of Slavutych. The U.S. Department of Energy supports the Chornobyl Center as a focal point for international cooperation in addressing the environmental, health, and safety issues created by the Chornobyl accident. The Center also aims to provide Ukraine with an indigenous, institutional capability to provide technical support to its nuclear power industry, the academic community, and nuclear regulators.
Through cooperation with the international community, the Chornobyl Center will facilitate the use and dissemination of internationally accepted nuclear safety practices within Ukraine. International participants at the Center will address issues related to decontamination and decommissioning, spent fuel, and radioactive waste management at Chornobyl and elsewhere in Ukraine. For example, France and Germany are developing a more comprehensive database on the shelter and the 30-kilometer exclusion zone, as well as the ecological effects of radioactive contamination around the plant and in other areas affected by the accident. This study also will examine the health effects of the accident on cleanup workers and the general public, and will include participation from Russia and Belarus. Italy has announced a commitment to provide financial support to new projects at the Center. Potential collaboration with the United Kingdom and Japan is being explored, and many other countries have expressed interest in participating in future projects.
The United States is supporting several activities at the Chornobyl Center. An analysis is under way to characterize the hazards posed by the Unit 4 shelter to the still-operating Chornobyl Unit 3 reactor. In addition, assessments are being conducted concerning Ukraine's spent fuel management needs; the need for three-dimensional modeling at the shelter; requirements for deactivation, decontamination, and decommissioning of Chornobyl reactor Units 1, 2, and 3; and the need for robotics technologies in shelter cleanup activities. Computer programs and equipment also have been provided so that the Chornobyl staff can access and process specific nuclear data that are available electronically outside Ukraine. These data will be used in safety and radiological assessments at Chornobyl and at other Ukrainian nuclear power plants.
To facilitate communications,
the U.S. Department of Energy has worked with Ukraine to establish a
reliable, high-speed satellite link that enables transmission and
reception of voice, facsimile, and electronic data. Video transmission
capabilities will be available in the near future.
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