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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

Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the clubs website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBAs and Capital Legal Services event Arctic Expedition this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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