Today the alienation zone is turning into huge wildlife sanctuary with rare species of animals: bears, Przewalski's horses, lynxes, deer...
In Belarus people gradually reclaim the alienation zone. And some days ago our government declared about similar plans. According to Prime Minister Mykola Azarov the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is considering a possibility to clean territories of Chernobyl zone, contaminated due to the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
"There are all grounds to restore and breathe life into these deserted and lifeless territories, cities and towns. This will create additional workplaces and additional income for the state budget," Azarov said.
The Premier informed that the majority cities and towns of Kyiv region, located outside the territories closely-spaced with Chernobyl nuclear power plant, no longer have exceeded level of radiation. In particular, there are only 31 out of 2.5 thousand existing residential places, which high level of radiation.
Whether it is really possible to resurrect Chernobyl zone ForUm has asked politicians and experts:
Vasyl Harahulah, director general of "Metallurgprom" union:
- New research and technological objects in Chernobyl zone can become one of those infrastructure objects, which help national economy during the crisis. Investment in construction is one of functioning methods to give a full load of work to industry and population. This recipe was successfully tested in US back in the years of Great Depression.
Take for example metallurgy. The new shelter over the fourth energy block of the NPP and storage for nuclear waste are already under construction and need 30 thousand tons of metal-rolls. Within the whole metallurgical industry it is not that much (in 2011 the country produced 19.5 mill tons), but if there are several similar objects we can talk about hundreds of thousands tons, which will help in development of domestic metallurgical market, will support construction sector and will create thousands of new jobs.
Serhiy Shaparenko, expert on ecology:
- There is a project to use the alienation zone for cultivating oil seed rape for biofuel. There is enough land for this crop. Rape is a very promising crop, and EU countries, Emirates, Turkey and Pakistan are ready to buy it. 300 kg of oil and 270 kg of bio-diesel can be produced from one ton of rape. Already n 2009 Ukraine took the first place in Europe on rape planting acreage. Unfortunately, this crop exhausts the land, and it can be planted on the same areas once in five years or on lands of not big agricultural importance. That's why it was the EU, which developed the plan of land reclamation in Chernobyl zone for cultivating rape and other technical crops.
Long-term examinations of the contaminated zone give results. The main one is the development of remediation methods for the land, which include crop planting and non-traditional fertilizing. It has been revealed that with the same level of original contamination, agricultural products from the land, which was submitted to remediation works, contain lower level of radioactive nuclide by hundred of times.
However, it is still early to speak about Chernobyl zone readiness for colonization and reclamation, even if the matter concerns relatively safe areas. Such project needs exact scientific forecast and constant control by specialists and public organizations.
Borys Dache, member of the parliamentary committee on ecology policy:
- I believe such project is quite possible, but its realization requires well thought-out state policy, proper financing mechanisms and long years of qualified works.
As a result we could bring back to life a pretty piece of Ukraine and to prove to the world we are capable to solve our problems, especially such serious and strategic one as remediation of territories, contaminated due to the accident at Chernobyl NPP.
Dmytro Bobro, deputy head of the State agency on alienation zone:
- It is necessary to distinguish the alienation zone from other contaminated territories. There are four categories of radiactivly contaminated territories in Ukraine. The first one is the alienation zone, the second one is the zone of obligatory evacuation, the third one is the zone of voluntary resettlement and the fourth one is the zone of strengthened radioecological control.
The borders of the last two zones can be reconsidered and the ban on certain activities can be lifted. In particular, with the help of investments it is possible to build new objects. There will be profit for both the state and the people. Don't forget there are millions of inhabitants on these territories.
As for the alienation zone itself, the situation is more complicated, as the territory is still gravely contaminated. But even there certain kinds of activities can be carried out, for example, construction of a complex for nuclear waste disposal.
Anna Korolevska, deputy director general on scientific research of Ukrainian national museum "Chernobyl":
- I believe that contaminated territories must be rehabilitated. There are special technologies to clean the land, and similar works are being carried out in Zhytomyr region with the help of Japanese. There are four zones of contamination. And if we speak about the fourth, the life is permissible there. People live in this zone already today.
I believe we must restore the monitoring system and follow the change of radioactive situation.
Yuri Salamatin, MP, former member of the parliamentary committee on ecology policy
- The Chernobyl alienation zone is a big territory with carious levels of contamination. Speaking about the remediation of this land, we should clearly understand which part of this land we are talking about. According to sanitary norm a part of this land can be easily used for economic activity and residence.
I believe it is expedient to start full-fledged agricultural activity, as it is already happening in the fourth zone of contamination.
Ruslan Pavlenko, independent analyst:
- The alienation zone can become a unique platform for experiments, as well as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant itself. It is possible to conduct physical, chemical and biological experiments there, to study radiation effect on environment.
Who can work there under such conditions? Many people can. In fact, the work in that region is no more dangerous than the work in mines or in metallurgy or any other sectors, potentially dangerous for life. The main point is to observe safety rules. I refer to leaderships of enterprises, which should not spare on workers' lives. But for Ukraine it is still a problem.
Anyway, don't forget that there are two zones: zone of obligatory evacuation (within a radius of about 10 km) and of voluntary resettlement (30 km). The latter includes the Chernobyl city itself. And as we know it is inhabited. Of course, there is no point to rush into contamination area without thinking, but nursing hysteria also does no good. We already have this object, and we must stop whining about its existence, but use it with maximum effectiveness.
Another question is that serious and beneficial reclamation requires hundreds of millions dollars, even billions. And if Ukraine manages to provoke interest of investors, such project is real.
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