Germany still paying for Chernobyl fallout
More than 24 years after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in Ukraine, the German government continues to spend large sums on fixing environmental damage, a media report said on Thursday.
Berlin has paid out some €238 million since the power plant disaster on April 26, 1986, daily Hamburger Abendblatt reported.
Citing answers to a parliamentary inquiry by the Green party, the paper said that just last year hunters had been paid some €424,650 in damages for game found to have high levels of radiation exposure. These payments are increasing, too, up from €104,000 in 2007 and just 10,000 Deutsche Marks in 1998, the paper said.
The Environment Ministry said in the report that the number of tests for contamination by the reactive element Caesium in wild game had risen steadily in recent years. In Germany it is forbidden to sell food with more than 600 Becquerels of Caesium per kilogramme.
The most damage from the accident in what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic remains in southern Germany, the ministry said. There, wild mushrooms and wild game continue to register higher levels of radioactive substances than in products produced agriculturally.
The Chernobyl accident resulted in the deaths of some 50 people, but the World Health Organisation estimates that an additional 4,000 people may have developed cancer due to radioactive exposure.