Ukrainians observed the silver anniversary of the Soviet-era Chernobyl nuclear power plant Tuesday with candles and a bell that rang 25 times since the disaster erupted on 26 April 1986—what the world considers as the worst nuclear accident on record.
"The world had not known a catastrophe in peaceful times that could be compared to what happened in Chernobyl," said Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.
The religious leader led the memorial services near a monument to firefighters and nuclear workers who later died from the acute affects of radiation exposure, the AP said.
The nuclear accident that resulted in 6,000 thyroid malignancy in Europe among people who were children and adolescents during the fallout did not become public until after 72 hours because the Soviet Union did not release information.
Several widows joined the commemoration to pay respects to their departed loved ones.
Larisa Demchenko, 64, worked with her deceased husband in the plant, said, "Our lives turned around 360 degrees. This was a wonderful town, a wonderful job, wonderful people. It was our youth. Then it all collapsed."
Her husband died nine years ago from a Chernobyl-related cancer.
It is unfortunate that Belarus, Russia and Ukraine have stopped the benefit pay out for the diseases caused by the Chernobyl meltdown. Many of them complained to Russian President when he gave awards in a ceremony in Moscow on Monday.
A worker in the plant told the president that a local cancer hospital in Bryansk—a region in Russia most contaminated by the accident—have not made the much-needed repairs.
Leonid Kletsov said, "It's the only place of rest for us. Officials promised to renovate it, but these promises are still promises."
Ukraine’s nuclear fallout—a disaster that released 400 times more radioactive materials than the US atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima—came in to focus since Japan's Fukushima accident in March.
The attached YouTube video shows an expert saying that the Chernobyl was caused by human error and was aggravated by technology. The Fukushima disaster, however, was due to natural causes. The consequences of the two nuclear disasters cannot simply be compared.
In an earlier report, a Kiev conference raised $788 million to build a temporary seal before the damaged plant can be disposed. However, skeptics say that the materials that will be used to build the encasement are too light and fragile, and will not solve the main problem.
UN Secretary-General visited the former plant Tuesday said, "It was a moving experience which provided an opportunity to reflect upon the impact of the disaster, the lives lost or changed forever, and to face the harsh reality of illness and environmental damage for generations of the past and future.
"On this important anniversary, let us resolve to dispel the last cloud of Chernobyl and offer a better future for the people who have lived too long under its shadow. We must continue to build an enduring legacy of safety for the future," reported by Xinhua News.
Meanwhile, thousands of Germans protested on Monday near several nuclear power plants demanding an end to atomic energy. The German government suspended the operation of its aging plants, froze the plans to extend their operations, and is planning to switch to renewable sources of energy following Japan's nuclear crisis.
Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann is calling for a nuclear-free Europe.
Tokyo residents have marched against the further use of nuclear reactors in the recent weeks.
Details of this story here.