News of the WeekEcology

U.S., Ukraine Launch New Chernobyl Lab

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Science  31 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5377, pp. 623-624
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5377.623b

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Last week, U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma unveiled plans for an International Radioecology Laboratory at Chernobyl, funded jointly by the U.S. and Ukrainian governments, which will study everything from genetic mutations in local wildlife to radionuclide movement and cleanup technologies and should be up and running by next summer. The new lab will be able to tackle many problems, including contaminated groundwater and wind-borne radioactive dust, that the Ukrainian government has not been able to address because what little it is able to spend on research goes mostly to study hazards from the nuclear fuel remaining in the burned-out reactor core and the weakening sarcophagus that covers it.