Will the E40 waterway increase radiation from Chernobyl?

Initiative: Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group (UNCG)

Location: Mykolaiv

Year: 2020-2021


Article about the waterway (in English):

The Chernobyl series recalled the risks associated with radiation in the exclusion zone around the shuttered nuclear power plant. Even thirty years later, radiation from the contaminated environment is still being released to a harmful degree, and therefore, the entire area remains closed. Concerns have been raised in this context due to the intention to increase the capacity of the E40 waterway connecting the Baltic Sea with the Black Sea in a section of the Pripyat River in close proximity to the former power plant. Work on the Pripyat River poses a serious risk of disturbing radioactive bottom sediments, which would almost certainly occur if the river was modified for the purposes of E40. At the same time, the UNCG has drawn attention to the negative effects of such revitalization on the entire Chernobyl Biosphere Reserve and on the ecosystems around the Pripyat and Dnieper rivers, along which the revitalized E40 is supposed to run through the port of Kherson into the Black Sea. Since these are only intended plans that have yet to be scrutinized through the necessary public debate, the group is intensively researching and working on risk analysis on a wide range of topics, addressing relevant state actors, and establishing a dialogue on the matter. The group's efforts have been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has pushed important topics like this onto the back burner and has required moving negotiations from in-person to virtual ones.

photo: the Pripyat River in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant