CHERNOBYL, UKRAINE – Ukrainians held candlelit vigils Tuesday to mark 30 years since the world’s worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl spewed radiation across Europe and left several thousand people dead or dying.
Church bells rang and mourners laid flowers at Chernobyl’s memorial square as the clock turned 1:23 a.m. — the moment the plant’s reactor number four exploded and changed the fate of a generation living across the former Soviet Union.
“There was crying and screaming,” local pensioner Maria Urupa told AFP as she recalled the terror that struck locals as they watched poisonous clouds of radiation waft in from the plant.
At least 30 people were killed on site and several thousand more are feared to have died from radiation in what Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said appears to have been the world’s largest man-made catastrophe.
The exact number of dead remains a subject of intense debate because the Soviet authorities kept most of the information about the disaster hidden.
More than 200 tons of uranium remain inside the crippled reactor that spattered radiation across three quarters of Europe after a botched safety test.
Lingering fears of new leaks occurring should the aging structure covering the toxins crack have prompted a global push to fund the construction of a giant new arch that should keep the site safe for generations.
The U.N. watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency used the anniversary to warn against “complacency” in nuclear safety.
The “key lesson” from both Chernobyl and the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011 was that “safety can never be taken for granted,” IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said.
But Poroshenko said his country “will not be able to stop using atomic power” as it tries to wean itself off its energy dependence on its former master Russia.
Poroshenko also warned that Russia’s alleged support for a pro-Moscow insurgency in the east was threatening a repeat of the Chernobyl catastrophe — because Ukraine has its largest nuclear plant on the very edge of the war zone.
NC consults experts on govt’s policies and programs
KATHMANDU — The main opposition party, Nepali Congress, has taken suggestions from experts regarding the government’s policies and programs.
A meeting of the Nepali Congress parliamentary party convened at the parliamentary party’s office in Singha Durbar today consulted with the economists and former bureaucrats on the policies and programs of the government.
The government presented its policies and programs for the fiscal year 2018/19 in the Federal Parliament on Monday.
Deliberations will be held on the policies and programs in the House of Representatives and the National Assembly from Wednesday.
NC leader Dilendra Prasad Badoo, talking to the National News Agency, RSS, said that the meeting reviewed the government’s policies and programs and also discussed on issues the party would speak on in parliament.
Before this, the Nepali Congress had decided to put its views in parliament by forming thematic committees.Follow @gorkhapost