September 30, 2023


Today marks 36 years since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in present-day Ukraine. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that the explosion resulted from improperly conducted tests which led to a loss of control. Today EU High Representative Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson marked the occasion by remembering the incident and calling on the international community to continue to work toward increased nuclear safety, particularly in times of war.

“This long-lasting tragedy has had widespread consequences in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and in other parts of Europe, …with social and economic consequences that continue to this day,” the joint statement reads. “We call on the international community and all relevant actors to immediately start a reflection on how to improve existing international instruments to protect nuclear sites in the context of war.”

The site is among a number of Ukrainian power plants which were targeted and occupied by Russian troops. Borrell and Simson called for Russian troops to relinquish control of the Zaporizhzhia power plant to nuclear authorities after growing concerns of instability near other formerly-occupied sites. 

The EU has put a lot of money and effort into helping the region recover and to prevent another accident like the one which took dozens of lives. The EU reports that it has provided over 1 billion in financial assistance and loans to the region through various international aid programs. The EU, along with its individual member countries, continues to participate in conferences addressing nuclear safety concerns and updates its own regulations to keep EU citizens living near active nuclear power plants safe.


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