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International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day 2024 – April 26

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International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayThe United Nations (UN)’s International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day is annually observed across the globe on 26th April to commemorate the anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

  • The Day aims to remember the victims and survivors of the worst nuclear accident and create awareness about the long term effects of the Chernobyl disaster.

26th April 2024 marks the 38th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which took place on 26th April 1986.


i.On 8th December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/71/125 and proclaimed the 26 April of every year as International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.

ii.The 1st ever International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day was observed on 26th April 2017.

The Chernobyl Disaster:

On April 26, 1986, a routine 20-second shutdown at the Number 4 reactor at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in, Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union (now the territories of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia) resulted in a catastrophic explosion, releasing 520 radionuclides.

Extent of Contamination:

i.Approximately 8.4 million people were exposed across Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

ii.155,000 square kilometers (sq. km) of land contaminated, equivalent to half of Italy’s total territory.

iii.52,000 sq. km of agricultural land affected, larger than the size of Denmark, were contaminated with cesium-137 and strontium-90, with 30-year and 28-year half-lives respectively.

iv.The Chernobyl disaster is one of the 2 nuclear accidents graded 7 (major accident) on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES).

  • The other accident was the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan in 2011.

Note: A level 7 event is the most serious, representing a major release of radioactive material to the environment resulting in widespread environmental effects

UN’s Involvement:

i.In 1990, the Soviet Government acknowledged the need for international assistance.

ii.As a result, the UNGA adopted a resolution A/RES/45/190, calling for international cooperation to address and mitigate the consequences at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

  • An Inter-Agency Task Force was also established to coordinate the Chernobyl cooperation.

iii.In 1991 the UN created the Chernobyl Trust Fund under the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Shift in Strategy:

i.In 2002, the UN announced a strategic shift towards long-term development, focusing on sustainable recovery efforts.

ii.The UN Development Programme (UNDP) took the lead in implementing the new strategy, working closely with regional offices in the 3 affected countries.

iii.In 2009, the UN launched the International Chernobyl Research and Information Network (ICRIN), facilitating collaboration and support for sustainable development programs in the affected regions.