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Lugar Resolution Recognizes Anniversary of Chernobyl Disaster

Recognizes Courage of Ukrainian People

Senator Richard G. Lugar, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced a resolution recognizing the 25th anniversary of the disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Ukraine became the first of the former Soviet states to eliminate all their nuclear weapons under the Nunn-Lugar program: 

Whereas at 1:23 A.M. on April 26, 1986, during an experiment, a major explosion occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Unit 4, a RBMK 1000-type, graphite-moderated nuclear power reactor in Pripyat;

Whereas the initial explosion dispersed a stream of radioactive particles over nearby towns, farms, and eventually to many other countries;

Whereas 500,000 brave firefighters, engineers, technicians, and emergency workers worked for more than 6 months to minimize one of the worst civilian nuclear disasters in history;

Whereas radioactivity emanating from the Chernobyl disaster has been detected in Belarus, Poland, Russia, Scandinavia, and other areas;

Whereas since the disaster, serious health, environmental, and socioeconomic repercussions have been identified in many areas near the Chernobyl plant;

Whereas the Chernobyl Forum, an initiative by the International Atomic Energy Agency in cooperation with the World Health Organization, numerous United Nations agencies, and the governments of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, was launched in 2003 to examine the scientific evidence of human and environmental effects of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl;

Whereas the Chernobyl Forum’s examination of the catastrophe has contributed to the understanding of the effects caused by the nuclear disaster;

Whereas, the Chernobyl Forum found that more than 5,000,000 people lived in ‘‘contaminated’’ areas in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and other countries;

Whereas the lives and wellness of people in the affected areas continue to be impacted by the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear disaster;

Whereas the government of the United States, the people of the United States, and the international community have provided contributions to humanitarian organizations to address the effects of the Chernobyl disaster;

Whereas the Chernobyl Shelter Fund (CSF) was established in December 1997 by the G7, in cooperation with Ukraine;

Whereas the purpose of the CSF has been to construct a safe confinement over the damaged Chernobyl Unit 4 and to convert the site to a stable and environmentally safe condition;

Whereas the Nuclear Safety Account (NSA), supported by the United States and 16 other donors, finances the Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility that allows for the decommissioning of Chernobyl Units 1 through 3;

Whereas April 26, 2011, is the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster; and

Whereas the ongoing crisis in Japan at the Fukushima nuclear power plant serves as a reminder to the United States and the international community of the need to make strong commitments to nuclear security throughout the world: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) recognizes the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the courage of the Ukrainian people in persevering to address the consequences of the disaster;

(2) commends efforts to mitigate the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, including the assistance that the United States and the international community have given to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund and the Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility; and

(3) requests that the Secretary of the Senate transmit an enrolled copy of this resolution to the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States.