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BY DAN CORNFIELD
ANCHOR JENNIFER MECKLES
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It has been twenty-five years since the tragedy at Chernobyl Nuclear power plant. Scientists, world leaders, and some witnesses of the chaos look back and ahead on the 25th Anniversary.
NPR’s David Greene spoke with one man who was part of the emergency crew that fought the fire in Chernobyl in 1986.
"A quarter-century later, no one knows what their heroism cost. Of the 20 men in Kotlyar's fire brigade, four have died. One man had a brain tumor, another leukemia. And Kotlyar is convinced at least that those two died because of radiation."
Memorials were held Tuesday across Eastern Europe for those who died. But in the wake of the recent nuclear crisis in Japan, Aljazeera reports the issues reach further than the medical risks of radiation. The report reflects the delayed alarms following the original explosion and the controversial care given to those affected ever since.
"It cast a dark shadow over humanity, one unseen since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. But, unlike Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis, Chernobyl's real lesson is not about nuclear-plant safety. It is about official arrogance and indifference to suffering, and a cult of secrecy that allows information to be shared only among a narrow elite obsessed with stability.”
Russian President Dimitry Medvedev announced his plan to increase security of nuclear power stations at the G8 summit this May. The sentiment reflects the hopes of Ukrainian leaders to continue to use nuclear power safely.
“Ukrainian authorities are optimistic about the future of nuclear energy. Four plants with 15 reactors produce nearly half the country’s electricity. Controversially, the plan is to build a dozen more in the next 20 years.”
But while some look forward, PBS’s Miles O’Brien points out the Chernobyl cleanup is far from over.
"Ukraine is asking the west for $800 million to pay for a new shelter over the old sarcophagus that would last 100 years. Beneath it is all is a molten witch's brew of radioactive isotopes, including plutonium, with a half-life of 24,000 years..
Do you think human beings are capable of keeping this thing safe for tens of thousands of years?"
Gennadi Milinevsky: "If he covers it, will try to keep it safe. But this place, this area will be still not good for life."
Miles O'Brien: "Forever?"
Gennadi Milinevsky: "Yes. Forever, yes."
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Join the Space Frontier Foundation in honoring the winners of the NewSpace Awards at the NewSpace 2010 Awards Gala. This star-studded event will feature steely-eyed rocket men, futuristic thinkers, and space enthusiasts from all over the world.
The NewSpace Awards aim to recognize outstanding achievements toward advancing NewSpace and opening the space frontier. The awards are voted on by the Space Frontier Foundation Board and presented at the annual NewSpace Conference Gala.
President and CEO, Masten Aerospace
NASCAR meets Star Wars in a cross between high octane sports, rocket powered aircraft, and some virtual reality to make it blow your mind. This is the Rocket Racing League - RRL
Read the transcript: *******to.pbs****/enCpW3
NewsHour Science correspondent Miles O'Brien goes head-to-circuit board with IBM's computer Watson on the game show "Jeopardy!" to explore the limits of language and artificial intelligence for machines.