26 April 2011

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Calls on World Community to ‘Dispel the Last Cloud of Chernobyl’,


Offer Better Future for People Who Have Lived under Its Shadow, on Anniversary


Following is the statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, 26 April:

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the worst nuclear accident in history, we remember the heroism of the fire-fighters and other emergency workers; the plight of millions of people who were uprooted from the contaminated regions and those who are still living in the affected areas of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.  Their sacrifices must never be forgotten; their suffering must never go unaddressed.

The United Nations is committed to addressing this issue in all its aspects.  We will continue to play an active role in implementing the United Nations Acton Plan on Chernobyl, in accordance of the Decade of Recovery and Sustainable Development proclaimed by the General Assembly for the years 2006-2016.  Once again, I call on the international community to support the full recovery of all communities affected by the Chernobyl disaster.  Science tells us that normal life is fully possible for most people in these areas, but investment and jobs are crucial.

During my visit to Chernobyl last week, I witnessed the devastation first-hand, 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.

As solemn and sobering as my visit was, I also saw signs of hope.  The countries that gathered at the Pledging Conference for the Chernobyl Shelter offered significant contributions.  I hope that the Government of Ukraine and the donor community can celebrate the completion of a safer and more environmentally friendly protective shell in 2015.

Moreover, I am pleased that the Kyiv Summit on Safe and Innovative Use of Nuclear Energy has successfully highlighted the importance of reassessing the need to strengthen the global nuclear safety regime.  The urgency of that work was underscored by the recent nuclear accident in the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which has put nuclear safety back at the top of the international agenda.

At a time when both the adverse effects of climate change and the demand for nuclear energy are expected to grow, serious global debate on how to ensure the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and maximum safety has assumed great significance.  In this spirit, I presented five action-oriented proposals at the Kyiv Summit to reinforce the global nuclear safety regime.

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.

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For information media • not an official record