Remembering Chernobyl

OECD Observer

The Chernobyl accident was the worst in the history of commercial nuclear power and contaminated large territories in the former Soviet Union and Europe. Twenty years later, its consequences still affect the daily lives of many people.

The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is marking the anniversary of the disaster with two new publications. Stakeholders and Radiological Protection: Lessons from Chernobyl Twenty Years After demonstrates the importance of local involvement in addressing the needs of affected populations to reduce their radiation dose. It highlights the importance of involving local stakeholders in the long-term, post-recovery phase. The active engagement of radiation protection professionals has helped to improve living conditions in the contaminated territories. The experience could help in planning the response to other large-scale disasters, whether an industrial accident, a natural catastrophe or a deliberate terrorist act.

The second publication, International Nuclear Law in the Post-Chernobyl Period, jointly published with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is a compendium of articles on international nuclear law initiatives since Chernobyl. Within six months of the catastrophe, two conventions on early notification and assistance in the event of a nuclear accident had been adopted by nearly 100 countries. In 1994, a convention on nuclear safety worldwide was adopted, and a convention on the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management followed in 1997. The existing international regimes governing the liability and compensation for nuclear damage were reinforced and a new global regime created.

Both publications are part of the NEA’s engagement to address the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, which include: nuclear safety; emergency preparedness and crisis management; and long-term rehabilitation activities.

©OECD Observer No 255, May 2006

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