Chernobyl anniversary marked

Kiev: The presidents of Ukraine and Belarus toured on Wednesday the site of the Chernobyl plant to mark 31 years since the “unhealing wound” of the world’s worst civil nuclear accident spewed radiation across Europe.
The station’s fourth reactor in the north of former Soviet Ukraine exploded in 1986 after a safety test went horribly wrong at 1:23 am on April 26.
Around 30 people were killed on site and several thousand more are feared to have died in the years that followed from radiation poisoning across Ukraine as well as its northern neighbour Belarus and Russia to the east.
The exact number of victims remains a subject of intense debate because the Soviet authorities kept most of the information about the disaster hidden.
Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from the area around the disaster site and an exclusion zone was set up that has now become a ghostly uninhabited region.
Ukraine placed a mammoth 2.1-billion-euro ($2.3-billion) metal dome over the remnants of the Chernobyl plant last year in a bid to stop future leaks and ensure the safety of Europeans for generations.
More than 200 tonnes of uranium remain buried inside the crippled reactor that leaked radiation across three quarters of Europe.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the explosion and its dire aftermath “an unhealing wound with which we as a people live with”. — AFP