United States And Ukrainian Governments Establish Permanent Chernobyl Laboratory

AIKEN, S.C. -- On July 22 an agreement between the United States and the government of Ukraine was signed establishing a permanent international radioecology laboratory in the city of Chernobyl near the site of the 1986 nuclear accident. The object of the five-year agreement is to establish the scope of cooperation between the two governments in the conduct of field oriented research and state-of-the-art analysis on a year-round basis at a laboratory to be called the International Radioecology Laboratory (IRL) in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. The agreement was signed during the summit meeting between U.S.-Ukraine Binational Commission headed by Vice President Gore and Ukrainian President Kuchma.

The agreement calls for cooperation between the two countries -- laboratories and contractors through exchanges of scientific and technical information; exchanges of scientists and technical experts; the conduct of joint scientific research and the widest possible dissemination of research results.

The joint project between Ukrainian and U.S. scientists is an outgrowth of research directed by Dr. Ron Chesser, a senior research scientist and genetics professor at the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) in Aiken. SREL works under a cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy on the Savannah River Site. Chesser has studied the effects of the Chernobyl accident on wildlife since 1992. Chesser says, "The unfortunate accident at Chernobyl has created one of the world's most unique and vital experimental regions. We have involved nationally and internationally renowned scientists to evaluate the environmental and genetic impacts of the chernobyl accident. Researchers from the University of Georgia, Texas Tech University, Oklahoma State University, Illinois State Museum, Texas A&M, and Colorado State as well as Ukraine and Russia have been actively involved in our research programs there. This new laborato

Contact: Rosemary Forrest
(803) 725-2473
DOE/Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

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