The Daily Gamecock

Russian activists discuss Chernobyl

Attendees express concerns over proposed local plants

Two Russian anti-nuclear activists spoke in the West (Green) Quad Monday on behalf of Sustainable Carolina, giving their personal accounts of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster of 25 years ago.

Natalia Manzurova and Natalia Mironova’s talk came at a time when Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster is causing the U.S. to rethink the safety of its nuclear power plants. Both explosions occurred from the same malfunction in the reactors, which caused some attendees to express concerns about the pending construction of two nuclear reactors in Jenkinsville, S.C.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., which is set to build the two reactors, has released statements that they are not the same types that were present in Fukushima and Chernobyl.

“What our scientists didn’t take into consideration is that over time, contaminated areas become more and more contaminated,” said Manzurova.

Manzurova went on to explain how in the years that followed the Chernobyl disaster, the radiation spread throughout the soil and actually increased the size of the affected areas.

The Chernobyl reactors exploded two years after the completion of the power plant’s fourth block and, as of the last estimates, the disaster has affected 100 million people. For the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia alone, the catastrophe will cost $9 trillion before it is completely resolved, Manzurova said.

Mironova, whose lecture was translated by Irina Vasilyeva, a first-year comparative literature graduate student, told a more personal story.  

“Liquidating any nuclear catastrophe is the same as going to war,” Mironova said. “In the real war we have an actual physical enemy, but in a nuclear war, the enemy is invisible and can kill you years later.”

As one of the many people involved in the liquidation and clean-up crews after the catastrophe, Mironova said she knew firsthand the effects of such an event. She said that in the case of Japan, the situation would be more complicated because radiation would get into the soil and subsequently into the plants. Because of this, profits from one of Japan’s major exports, rice, will plummet.