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Remembering Chernobyl: 30 years on

By Sergey Kezin, OE Programme Manager, Moscow Centre

Sergey Kezin, Operating Experience Programme Manager, looks back on the events in April 1986, and the progress that the industry has made in the thirty years since the accident:

The series of events that happened in the early morning hours of April 26, 1986 forever changed the world. The entire planet quickly recognised the tragic consequences of the catastrophic events in Chernobyl.

Soon after, questions were asked: what could be done to reestablish confidence in nuclear energy? The only way forward would be to reduce the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, whatever it took to do so.   

As soon as it was apparent that there had been an accident, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant operators had demonstrated their readiness to fight that invisible and hazardous danger. Operators from all former Soviet NPPs were ready and were voluntarily involved in the accident mitigation process. We know their names and we are indebted to them.

The world's nuclear industry has taken unprecedented steps to improve all weaknesses in design, engineering, and operational areas, and move to the highest standards of operation in nuclear facilities worldwide.

One of the findings during and after the Chernobyl accident was a lack of communication within the nuclear industry; significant efforts have been put into improving and overcoming that challenge. WANO is now better-equipped than ever before to be communicative and effective in normal, abnormal and even in emergency situations.

Prior and during the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident there were several conferences and meetings organised by different organisations in different countries to commemorate the accident; WANO Moscow Centre staff actively participated in several meetings devoted to that date and demonstrated WANO's commitment to safety.

The most important conclusion from these forums was this: we have to continue learning lessons from Chernobyl to ensure the world will never again face such a catastrophe.