Full text of the address:
Today is 25 years since the Chernobyl tragedy. Quarter of a century ago the world experienced a devastating man-made disaster. Millions of people were exposed to radiation, and hundreds of thousands lost their health, their homes, and a part of their homeland. Chernobyl will forever remain a symbol of a great human tragedy.
On this day we mourn the dead and commiserate with all those affected by this tragedy. We thank all the participants in the clean-up operation following the accident. They showed courage and heroism and prevented the spread of radiation.
Chernobyl is a common tragedy for Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, and it is shared by the entire global community. We are currently raising funds to build a new sarcophagus for the stricken reactor. A donors’ assembly comprising 28 countries has already been established. Russia will also make its contribution by donating at least 45 million euros to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund and Nuclear Safety Account within two years.
The consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear accident have not been totally cleared to this day, which makes it that much more painful for us to hear the news from Japan. It also makes us more aware of the paramount importance of the nuclear facilities’ safety. We must draw lessons for the future from these tragedies.
Over the years, nuclear technology has made great progress and nuclear power stations operate successfully in virtually all regions of the world. Nuclear energy remains the most cost-effective way to generate electricity. It is also the safest way, but only if relevant rules and regulations are strictly complied with.
At the G8 Summit in May Russia will present its initiatives on enhancing the safety of nuclear power. They will stipulate an increased responsibility of countries using nuclear energy, including for taking timely and adequate response measures during emergencies. We also believe that additional safety requirements must be adopted for the construction and operation of nuclear power facilities. They must be consolidated as international legal instruments and made mandatory for all states. Authorised international organisations, first of all the IAEA, will be in charge of monitoring compliance with these regulations.
It is vitally important that new nuclear power plants are built with the highest safety barriers, and that the principles of openness and absolute transparency become the norm for all nuclear facilities in the world.