Union State continues work on overcoming consequences of Chernobyl accident

Moving to the fifth level

Union State continues work on overcoming consequences of Chernobyl accident

Overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl accident is a mutual problem and concern of the Union State. Belarus and Russia have been sol­ving this challenging task together for 20 years.

At RSPC for Radiation Medicine and Human Ecology in Gomel, doctors use the most modern equipment

This year, the fourth ‘Chernobyl’ programme is completed, with the fifth soon to launch, covering the period up to 2021. Its draft concept was considered at a session of the Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia regarding ecology, natural resource ma­nagement and rectification of the consequences of the accident. Held on June 28th, at Zhodino’s RUE ‘Research and Practical Centre of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus for Arable Farming’, it was attended by the Deputy State Secretary of the Union State, Ivan Bambiza.

Drawing conclusions regarding this year’s achievements, it was noted that not all organizations have taken a responsible approach towards carrying out of the planned tasks. Rospotrebnadzor, Minselkhoz and the Federal Medical-Biological Agency of Russia have already fully used funds allocated for the first half-year, while the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia has used 79.4% of its allocated budget. The Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus has used 72.7%. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health of Russia and Rosleskhoz are yet to implement any plans.

Mr. Bambiza has asked that the situation be brought into hand, with chiefs hindering the process admonished. He states that regulations must be ‘accurately carried out’.

The main message of the new programme was read by the Chairman of the Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly, Ale­xander Popkov, stating that public health is of paramount importance.  This year alone, 809 Russians and Belarusians exposed to radiation as a consequence of the Chernobyl NPP accident will receive medical aid, funded from the Union State budget.

In accordance with the Union programme, three institutions are hosting patients: the Nikiforov Russian Centre of Emergency and Radiation Medicine of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia in St. Petersburg; the Medical Radiological Scientific Centre named after A.F. Tsyba (a branch of the Federal Medical Research Centre named after P.A. Hertsen of the Ministry of Health of Russia in Obninsk); and the Republican Scientific and Practical Centre for Radiation Medicine and Human Ecology in Gomel.

The new programme focuses on further development of a single Chernobyl register, developing methods and criteria for identifying risk groups, and for implementing the latest specialized and high-technology medical aid. Methodological approaches to treatment and rehabilitation should be the same. It’s time to create a single list of diseases which have emerged because of radiation from the accident. The Belarusian list has 18 ailments, while the Russian has 150.

Parliamentarians have approved the idea of creating a single code of foodstuffs, paying special attention to food for children. The new programme includes measures to produce foods able to improve the health of those living with the consequences of exposure to Chernobyl radiation. Nutritional quality depends on soil fertility and the level of applied technologies, so scientists have developed 70 fertilisers, taking into account various needs. We need to accelerate their introduction, to minimise the presence of radionuclides in food.       

The new programme also stipulates development of fo­restry, to provide effective protection from forest fire, and increase the level of radiation protection for forestry workers, and the public, while using contaminated forest territories more effectively. Automated, remote controlled vehicles are one way forward.

Mr. Bambiza urges a responsible approach, saying, “We don’t need the programme for its own sake. We shall move forward.” The draft concept of the new programme will be ready by September 1st of this year.

By Natalia Tyshkevich
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