Target: Vince Novak, Director of Nuclear Safety, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Goal: Keep construction workers safe from radioactive hazards on a nuclear site
Although the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred back in 1986, Chernobyl is still an exceptionally hazardous zone with high levels of radiation close to the reactor. Civil engineers have been working to develop and implement a €1.5 billion Shelter Implantation Plan (SIP) since 1998; however, the New Safe Confinement (NSC) project has lagged behind and gone way over budget. The NSC is a steel arch designed to protect the hastily-built current containment structure, allow engineers to safety clean up the nuclear site, and last for at least 100 years.
Given the dangerous levels of radiation in the area, the safety of the engineers and construction workers is an enormous concern. In fact, Ukrainian authorities have stated that the 30 kilometer zone around Chernobyl won’t be safe for another 20,000 years. In the early stages of the project, engineers and construction workers primarily worked 600 meters away from the damaged reactor where ground-level radiation levels were deemed safe enough to justify 40-hour work weeks. However, extra bio-medical measures are necessary to construct Chernobyl’s technical building, because it is in a far more contaminated area than the arch.
Sign the below petition to urge the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which coordinates financing from over 40 donor countries from around the world, to budget for adequate worker safety measures as construction moves forward.
Dear Mr. Novak,
I understand that the construction companies collaborating on the New Safe Confinement at Chernobyl have endured great challenges over the past decade, yet worker safety must remain a priority. In this project, workers face conditions unlike any construction site on Earth. The radioactive hazard is undeniably tremendous, and even the simplest tasks require stringent safety standards to protect workers from fatal consequences.
I am urging you to strengthen inspections in Chernobyl’s most hazardous zones and provide funding for adequate worker training programs to ensure that everyone on site understands the life-saving safety procedures. Closely monitor the workers’ levels of exposure and enforce rules to remove workers from the site if radiation levels exceed approved limits. As workers begin construction on Chernobyl’s technical building, located in a highly radioactive location, these safeguards are more important than ever before. Please work with donor countries to secure adequate funding to meet the safety specifications for every worker at Chernobyl.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tim Porter via WikiMedia Commons