Belarus to see if lands polluted by Chernobyl accident could be reused

MINSK, August 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Belarus will make an inventory of lands in the vicinity of the ill-famed Chernobyl nuclear plant with an eye to put them back to use, a top-ranking official from the country’s emergencies ministry said on Wednesday.

“We are to decide whether some 10,000 to 15,000 hectares of lands can be used again,” Vladimir Chernikov, director of the ministry’s department for liquidation of the Chernobyl aftermath”, told journalists. “Over the 25 years that have passed since the disaster, such elements as caesium and strontium, the key pollutants of the territories, have already half disintegrated. That is why the issue of the reuse of such lands is coming to the fore.”

According to Chernikov, specialists believe that some of these lands might be used for “planting trees, grass, probably not for growing food crops but rather for seed growing or for growing technical cultures.”

He also said that some of the polluted territories, such as the Polessky radiation reserves, have been put out of use for centuries. Other lands will be assessed to experts within two months.

More than a fourth of Belarus’ territory was polluted by radiation after the Chernobyl accident. A total of 460 settlements ceased to exist, and about 264,000 of lands were put out of use. The total damage of the Chernobyl accident is estimated at 235 billion U.S. dollars.

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