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    Decontamination on the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant site

    Response to Chernobyl Disaster Wins Praise on 30th Anniversary - UN Chief

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    Thirty years after a series of explosions at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant spewed deadly radiation across northeastern Europe, the emergency response by the former Soviet republics of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine won a measure of appreciation from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday.

    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — The April 26, 1986 Chernobyl disaster is widely considered the worst nuclear accident at a civilian power plant.

    "I particularly commend the governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine for their joint work," Ban said in a statement published on the UN website.

    Ban also praised the international community for its support of efforts to mitigate the spread of radiation and subsequent cleanup efforts.

    A series of chemical explosions blew the top off the Chernobyl reactor, which had no containment structure. Today the reactor is encased in a thick concrete shell.

    An international outcry over a two-day delay before authorities publicly announced the accident is credited in part with inspiring an era of glasnost (openness) initiated by then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

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