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    16,000 Chernobyl Veterans Awarded Increased Compensation

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    Chernobyl nuclear disaster veterans in Moscow will receive additional compensation in April, and many more people will be designated as veterans following a decision by Russia's Constitutional Court.

    MOSCOW, April 1 (RIA Novosti) - Chernobyl nuclear disaster veterans in Moscow will receive additional compensation in April, and many more people will be designated as veterans following a decision by Russia's Constitutional Court.

    Over 16,000 people who suffered during the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986 will be paid up to $100 this month, the Moscow Department for Social Security said Tuesday. And 300,000 World War II veterans will receive up to $150 for the 69th anniversary of victory in the war.

    In the meantime, Russia's Constitutional Court has ruled to award students involved in the cleanup of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster with the special legal status of "liquidator." In 1986 several branches of the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, called the Komsomol, sent students to help clean up the disaster area, but only a subset - those sent by executive bodes - were awarded the liquidator status.

    Over 500,000 people were involved in the cleanup of the Chernobyl disaster, the worst nuclear power plant accident in history.

    No comprehensive and undisputed statistics on their health problems and mortality rates are available, but the liquidators often voice concerns in the media that they have been neglected by state officials. Now their rights have been reconsidered as well as their financial compensation.

    The catastrophe happened nearly 30 years ago, but only 200 residents of the area have so far returned to their homes. While in Japan, residents of Miyakoji - 20 kilometers away from the Fukushima nuclear station - have been allowed to return to their homes, just three years after the Fukushima plant's triple meltdown.

    Over 160,000 people were evacuated from towns near the Fukushima plant following an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, but Japan's $30 billion cleanup of radioactive fallout is behind schedule and not expected to achieve its annual radiation reduction goal.

    The Japanese government will pay a $900 allowance to each member of the families returning to their homes in the exclusion zone, while utility company TEPCO - the operator of the crippled Fukushima plant - has cancelled  compensation payments of $1,000.

     

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