Azerbaijani MFA makes statement on anniversary of Chernobyl tragedy (UPDATE)

Politics Materials 26 April 2021 13:23 (UTC +04:00)

Details added: first version posted on 10:23

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Apr.26


Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has issued a statement in connection with April 26, the International Day of Remembrance of the Chernobyl Disaster which took place in 1986, Trend reports referring to a source in the ministry.

"In connection with the 35th anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the International Day of Remembrance of the Chernobyl disaster, we express our solidarity with all countries and people affected by this tragedy," said the ministry. “The nuclear accident in Chernobyl in the northern part of Ukraine in 1986 was a humanitarian tragedy on an enormous scale. The explosion released large quantities of radioactive materials into the atmosphere causing contamination of varying degrees in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.”

“It was one of the most serious nuclear accidents, exposing several hundreds of thousands of people to radiation and forcing about 350,000 to leave their homes from contaminated areas. Thirty one people perished immediately and between 4,000 and 27,000 people died as a result of radiation exposure,” the ministry further noted.

According to the ministry, Azerbaijan sent more than 7,000 people to liquidate the accident aftermaths.

“Azerbaijan temporarily hosted about 7,000 people affected by the accident and provided them with essential rehabilitation and treatment. Approximately 5,000 persons are currently suffering from the consequences of the Chernobyl accident in Azerbaijan and 2,000 citizens affected by the Chernobyl accident have since passed away,” stressed the ministry.

In this context, the ministry called on international organizations to mobilize efforts to close the Armenian Metsamor nuclear power plant.

“Risks associated with the Metsamor (NPP) in Armenia need to be thoroughly addressed by the international community. This NPP was built in 1976-1980 with similar technology used in Chernobyl and is located in an active seismic zone,” the ministry emphasized. “The outdated technology and location place Metsamor among the most dangerous nuclear plants in the world.”

“Despite continuous warnings by various international organizations calling the facility “a danger to the entire region,” Armenia still continues to exploit Metsamor NPP beyond its operational life span,” noted the ministry. “In 2020 the European Union once again urged Armenia to close the plant, it said the plant “cannot be upgraded to fully meet internationally accepted nuclear safety standards, and therefore requires an early closure and safe decommissioning”. Using out-of-date technology and not following safety instructions during the operation of the Metsamor pose serious environmental problems for the region.”

The ministry called upon all relevant international organizations, civil society institutions active in nuclear safety and environmental issues, as well as regional countries to raise public awareness of preventing a potential disaster and to mobilize their efforts in advocating for the suspension of Metsamor NPP.