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Ukraine: Chornobyl Cleanup May Be Spreading Contamination

Kyiv, 17 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Ukraine's prosecutor-general said today there are fears the clean-up effort at the Chornobyl nuclear-power plant may actually be spreading contamination. Svyatoslav Pyskun said in a statement that workers involved in the cleanup were taking radioactive metals to clean areas to dump. Pyskun said that "under the guise of improving the area...the workers have taken 315 tons of copper, nickel, and steel pipes with radioactivity into clean areas."

The statement said the prosecutor's office has already found evidence of workers ignoring rules. Pyskun called on the government to discipline workers who are not fulfilling their duties according to the country's rules and regulations.

Chornobyl's No.4 nuclear reactor exploded in 1986, causing the worst civilian nuclear disaster in history. Thousands of deaths from cancer have since been blamed on the contamination spread by the explosion.