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Ökologische Auswirkungen des Reaktorunglücks von Tschernobyl in Weißrußland

Ecological effects of the reactor disaster in Chernobyl in White Russia
[journal article]

Hartung, Arno

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Abstract The effects of the react catastrophe in Chernobyl hit White Russia to a particularly great extent. Practically one quarter of the country is regarded as being radioactively contaminated. According to estimates made by Japanese experts, the damage and the losses enforced on White Russia by Chernobyl amount to approximately 171 billion dollars. This corresponds with approximately the size of 60 annual budgets of the Republic of White Russia and constitutes a severe economic, social and ecological burden for the country - in addition to the common burdens which all Eastern European states are forced to deal with as a result of the processes of transformation. The radioactive contamination of the soil, which will hardly change in the long term, is the most severe problem regarding its economic usability and other functions (habitat for plants and animals), a filter body for ground water, etc.). Additionally, it is a continual source for the secondary transfer of radioactive substances from the soil to the other environmental media and the food-chain. The radioactive contamination of the atmosphere and the waters, in some cases even in the flora and fauna, has dropped considerably since 1986. However, in certain seasons, increases of a more or less severe nature do occur due to the secondary substance migration from the soil or from the vegetation layer closest to the soil. This leads to the transportation of the radionuclides even beyond the boundaries of the primarily contaminated areas. The areas that are affected by this catastrophe include natural regions with, in comparison to the rest of the country, good to very good ecological qualities and potential, but whose utilisation is now limited. Some of these areas were marked by considerable pollution, even before 1986. Of course, this fact only serves to make the problem even more drastic. Increasingly, in the last few years -also in the Ukraine and Russia- tendencies have become noticeable which, due to the economic situation, will lead to a revision of the agreed political guidelines and safety-orientated restrictions to the residence and economic exploitation in the radiocatively contaminated regions. In addition to the health risks facing the affected population, the re-utilisation of regions suffering from a relatively severe radioactive contaminat ion induces the danger of an increased release and regional and cycle-related migration of radionuclides. Despite a reasonable, controlled revival of the land utilisation in those areas affected to a lesser extent by the contamination, the primary alternative should be sought in the development of the future-orientated, natural potentials of other regions which were unaffected by the contamination, i.e. in the Northern regions of the country (Oblast Vitebsk), incorporated in long-term regional politics, taking into account future requirements and prognosed demographic developments in White Russia.
Keywords Belorussia; ecology; ecological consequences; radioactivity; environmental impact; nature reserve; nuclear energy; accident; disaster; consequences; Russia; Ukraine; population; relocation; land; bodies of water; air; environment
Classification Ecology, Environment; Area Development Planning, Regional Research
Document language German
Publication Year 1996
Page/Pages p. 29-37
Journal Europa Regional, 4.1996 (1996) 2
ISSN 0943-7142
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications