Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Nuclear Issues: Chernobyl 25th Anniversary Conference to Explore European Stereotypes

On April 26, 2011, Ukraine observes the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that remains the worst nuclear catastrophe in contemporary history, which affected the very attitude to the nuclear power worldwide. The consequences of this accident are still fresh in the memory of the European population according to the survey conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group conjointly with First International Resources on Feb. 21 through March 14 in France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, UK and Ukraine.

The Chernobyl disaster has become a sad symbol of Ukraine, widely associated with nuclear security problems, which affected millions of people. According to the survey, aimed to assess the public opinion on Chernobyl's influence on a number of important social issues, the vast majority of European population (86-89%) believe, that Chernobyl catastrophe has "somewhat" or "very much" affected their health. At the same time, 71% of French population is still concerned that the Chornobyl consequence continues to affect their health. Almost all Ukrainian respondents (about 98%) indicated that the 1986 accident "badly affected" their health and more than half or the respondents (55%) believe that their health continues to be "very much" affected by the accident.

Nevertheless, the survey shows, that Ukrainian respondents positively assess the perspectives of national nuclear sector development. Currently, nuclear energy is of utmost importance for the country's economy, since half of Ukraine's electric energy is produced atthe NPPs.

The International Conference, "Chernobyl , 25 Years. Safety for the Future", will be held in Kyiv on April 20-22, 2011, and provide discussion forum on the issues of nuclear safety; radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned NPPs; development of technological disaster prevention systems; management of the Chernobyl accident consequences.

The research revealed that an overwhelming majority of European citizens consider their country's representation at the International conference very important. Among the surveyed citizens, 93% of French, 90% of Polish, 85% of British and Swedish, 83% of Hungarian and 82% of German respondents voted for their country participation in the conference.

The survey represents the plus or minus 4% margin error at a 95% confidence level among adult respondents (over 18) in Ukraine (1021), France (502), and 500 in each of the following countries: Germany, Hungary, Poland, Sweden and Great Britain.

Source: Worldwide News Ukraine