Belarus Resumes Farming in Chernobyl Radiation Zone

“Mr. Lukashenko, a former collective farm boss himself, declared last year that it was time to revive the contaminated regions, outlining a vision of new homes and villages, of new industry, of rejuvenated farms. ‘Land should work for the country,’ he said.

His authoritarian decrees, on this and other topics, have prompted shock, fear and even ridicule, but a scientific study released in September by seven United Nations agencies and the World Bank more or less agreed with him.

It concluded that Chernobyl’s lasting effects on health and the environment had not proved as dire as first predicted. It recommended that the authorities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus take steps to reverse psychological trauma caused by Chernobyl, encouraging investment and redevelopment.

Lands where agriculture was banned or severely restricted can be safe for growing crops again, the report said, using techniques to minimize the absorption of radioactive particles into produce.” (New York Times )