FOR THE RECORD: UCCA and UACC comment on closure of Chornobyl
Below is the text of a statement issued on December 14 - the day before the closing of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant - by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council.
On December 15, a long-awaited day will arrive for Ukraine - the final closure and ceasing of operations of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. Following the devastating nuclear explosion on April 26, 1986, the Chornobyl plant has been the scene of many shutdowns due to poor Soviet-style engineering construction. The G-7 countries, along with Ukraine, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Halifax, Canada, in December 1995 to close the Chornobyl nuclear power plant as quickly as possibly with the appropriate funding coming from those industrialized nations. Ukraine will hold official closing ceremonies at the Chornobyl power station on December 15, with representatives from the G-7 countries and other nations, as well as the NGO community participating.
Here in the United States, the Ukrainian community is particularly concerned about the continuing plight of those afflicted by the world's worst nuclear disaster. Evidence of radiation and its effect on the Ukrainian population has been overwhelming.
As they seek humanitarian assistance and expertise to treat their ailing victims, hospitals inundated with children and adults battling leukemia and other types of radiation-born cancers cannot obtain the resources they need from the depressed Ukrainian economy. As to Chornobyl's effect on its environment, Ukraine's vast fertile lands will remain ruined and barren, and its underground water supplies contaminated for decades, if not centuries to come.
Furthermore, when Chornobyl's nuclear power station finally ceases to operate on December 15, thousands of its nuclear scientists, engineers and staff will be left unemployed, thus contributing to social hardships and putting an additional strain on Ukraine's economy.
The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council welcome the closing of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. However, we would also like to stress the need for continuing humanitarian assistance to those most afflicted by the consequences of this disaster - whether medical, environmental or social. In the past 10 to 15 years, the Ukrainian American continuity has contributed hundreds of hours and millions of dollars to help the victims of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster. With the closure of Chornobyl, we appeal to the Ukrainian community in the United States to actively engage in humanitarian assistance to those afflicted by the Chornobyl disaster. Your donations and efforts will be most effective if focused through existing Ukrainian American organizations already providing assistance to Ukraine.
Ukraine needs our help. The Chornobyl disaster and its consequences for Ukrainian society have been catastrophic and they are continuing. In this time of giving during the holiday season let us remember those who are less fortunate and those who seek our assistance!
Michael Sawkiw Jr.
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America
Ukrainian American Coordinating Council
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, December 24, 2000, No. 52, Vol. LXVIII
| Home Page |