Ukraine May Shrink the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry suggests exclusion zone around Chernobyl be reduced from 30 to 10 kilometres

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UKRAINE, May 11, (Interfax) - The Ukrainian Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry suggests that the country's president reduce the Chornobyl exclusion zone to a range of ten kilometers and create a biosphere reserve on the remaining two-thirds of the zone, Ukrainian Ecology and Natural Resources Minister Ihor Shevchenko said.

"I have signed a document on the creation of the Chornobyl biosphere reserve, i.e., the nearest zone, some ten kilometers around the plant, will stay an exclusion zone, and the rest of the territory will be turned into the Chornobyl biosphere reserve," the minister told a briefing in Kyiv on May 8, adding that economic activities will be allowed and people will be allowed to live on some territories of the biosphere reserve.

"The radiation levels are safe there and economic activities can be conducted there," Shevchenko said, adding that the relevant documents have been approved by all public agencies and have been submitted to the Justice Ministry and will later be submitted to the president, who will issue a relevant decree.

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