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Nuclear Textbook Provokes Debate

Published: April 18, 2006 (Issue # 1162)


As the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster approaches on April 26, a group of Russian environmentalists has published a school textbook about the accident and begun nationwide distribution.

Titled Chernobyl Lessons, the book, put together by experts from Ecodefense, Greenpeace Russia and Bellona, describes the disaster and its consequences in great detail, explaining the dangers of radiation, analyzing the mistakes that were made and suggesting protection strategies for similar situations.

The lectures give a critical assessment of nuclear industry in general, and offer a comparative study of the risks and benefits of nuclear industry versus renewable energy, such as, for instance, wind energy. The book is intended to be used during lessons on biology, physics, sociology and personal safety.

One of the sections contains the testimonies of Chernobyl survivors.

Local teachers have been keen to acquire the book, Rashid Alimov, editor of environmental portal Bellona.ru, told The St. Petersburg Times on Friday.

We received orders for over two hundred copies after just the first two presentations, and the interest is growing, Alimov said.

In Alimovs opinion, the book should be of special use in St. Petersburg. The Leningrad Nuclear Power Station still exploits the Chernobyl-type reactors, and the plant is close to the city, he said. People need to read it, if only for safety awareness, and because nobody else seems to be willing to educate them about it.

Andrei Ozharovsky, one of the books authors and a leading expert with Moscow-based environmental organization Ecodefence, said the general syllabus in high schools in Russia gives a light-weight superficial coverage of the worlds largest-ever nuclear catastrophe.

The teachers, if they touch on the topic at all, tend to present the Chernobyl disaster as some kind of technical malfunction, without putting the accident in context with the risks that nuclear industry presents as such, Ozharovsky said during the books presentation at the Regional Press Institute on Friday.

The book quotes Lyudmila Ignatenko, the widow of a man who survived the initial blast. As a firefighter, he was sent to the scene of the accident without any special protective gear. He was wearing a shirt, and all his colleagues were too, Ignatenko said.

They hadnt been warned about the radiation, they were told it was an ordinary fire.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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