Chernobyl 25 years on: Russia calls for stricter safety rules on energy
Russia's president yesterday defended nuclear energy and said that tough international guidelines could help prevent accidents like the massive Chernobyl meltdown.
Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in history, Dmitry Medvedev said he had invited world leaders to work on rules for safer nuclear energy.
His economic adviser, Arkady Dvorkovich, said he hoped Russia's safety proposals would be discussed at next month's summit in France.
"It's of utmost importance that we understand what kind of force humankind is dealing with so that our solutions ... meet the challenges of nuclear energy," Mr Medvedev said.
The Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion on April 26, 1986, released about 400 times more radiation than the US atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima.
It has left forests and farmland still contamin-ated, offering a warning to the Japanese of the poten-tial long-term effects of their own nuclear disaster.
Despite the dangers, the three most affected former Soviet countries continue to believe in nuclear energy. Vladislav Bochkov, spokesman for the Russian nuclear energy agency, said 11 reactors were now under construction in Russia. Ukraine is building two and Belarus is building one.