The first annual International Youth Ecological Forum was held in Slavutych, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine on April 5-7, 2006, according to The Action Ukraine Report.

Slavutych is the new city of around 30,000 people built quickly by the Soviet Union after the Chornobyl nuclear disaster to take the place of Prypjat. The new city of Prypjat was built very close to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power station during the construction of the facility but had to be closed soon immediately after the disaster.

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The Forum was held as a commemoration plan of the 20th anniversary of the Chornobyl tragedy and to allow young Ukrainian students who are involved in community development and social action programs to exchange ideas and to visit the Chornobyl Nuclear Power station, the `dead` city of Pripyat and the village of Chornobyl. 

I was invited to represent the United States and Ukrainian business community at the Forum by the US-Ukraine Foundation (USUF) who was one of the sponsors of the event. This was my first opportunity to see the Chornobyl Power Station and the surrounding area. 

The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF) has been working closely with  the city of Slavutych for almost 10 years. Slavutych is a participant in the CPP/Community Partnerships Project developed and managed by USUF and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  USUF brought young people to the Forum from all of the Ukrainian cities that participate in the CPP. 

Ludmyla Dudnyk and Christina Redko, special project coordinators in the USUF Kyiv office played a key role in the Forum and were responsible for bringing the twenty young people sponsored by USUF  who attended the Forum.

During the Forum there were several speakers who presented up-to-day  information about the issues and problems presented today by the Chornobyl tragedy. "Radioecological problems of the exclusion zone" was the topic of a presentation by Yuriy Oleksandrovych Ivanov - Ph.D. in biology, Chief Expert, International Radiological Laboratory of the Chornobyl Center for Nuclear Safety, Radiation and Radiology.

The subject of the "Medical aspects of the Chornobyl catastrophe" was handled by Volodymyr Hryhorovych Bebeshko, Ph.D. in medicine, professor, General Director of the Research Center for Radiological Medicine, member and correspondent for the Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine

Oleksandr Yevhenovych Novikov - Deputy Technical Director for Nuclear Safety at the Chornobyl Power Station, spoke about the " Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station - trial years." "Rehabilitation of radioactive territories"was the title of a presentation by Anatoliy Volodymyrovych Nosovsky, Ph.D. in technical sciences, professor, Director of the Slavutych Training Center at the Chernihiv State Institute for Economics and Management, Director of the Slavutych branch of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute

"Techno-eco-polis Slavutych - effective socioeconomic rehabilitation," wasthe title of a very interesting presentation by Volodymyr Petrovych Udovychenko, Ph.D. in economics, winner of the State Prize of Ukraine in Science and Technology, member of the Ukrainian Ecological Academy of Science, member of the Congress of Local and Regional Governments of Europe. 

The Forum broke up into seven round-table discussion groups after the major topics were covered by the speakers.

On Thursday the Forum attendees boarded a train in Slavutych which went through Belarus on the way to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station.The group then went to the dead city of Prypjat, then through the so-called 30-km zone on the way the city of Chornobyl where they had a late lunch.The train, on the way back to Slavutych, was filled to capacity, as the firstgroup of workers at the Station had just completed their seven hour day. 

There are still around 3,000 people employed at the Power Station which is a huge maintenance cost considering all the nuclear reactors at the Station are shut done.  There does not seem to be any end to the huge economic cost of this accident.

At the time of the disaster on April 26, 1986 four nuclear reactors were fullyoperating, one more was 60% built, the sixth one was around 25% completed and five more where being planned for future construction.  The goal of the Soviet Union was to build at Chornobyl the world`s largest nuclear powerstation.  All construction at Chornobyl was stopped as a result of thenuclear disaster. All of the remaining nuclear reactors at Chornobyl were finally shut down in the year 2000.


The news was monitored by The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service, Morgan Williams, Editor.