File photo of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant following the explosion in April 1986. (AP)
Columbia, SC (WLTX/AP) - Utilities in North and South Carolina are adding to the list of states in the U.S. reporting trace amounts of radiation from a nuclear reactor in Japan that was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami, proof that the effects of radiation reaches far and wide.
But will the disaster in Japan turn into another Chernobyl?
On April 26th, 1986 a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant ruptured, causing widespread devastation in what is now Ukraine.
This disaster was the worst nuclear power accident in history, and the effects of the radioactive contamination remain, especially in the 1,100-square-mile "exclusion zone" and areas downwind, through Germany to Sweden and Norway.
On Monday, two women who were near the plant when the reactor exploded spoke to a group at the University of South Carolina. They are Natalia Manzurova, one of the few survivors involved directly in the "liquidation" process for five years. She now advocates for the rights of victims of radiation exposure internationally. Dr. Natalia Mironova was also on hand and is one of the most prominent leaders in the anti-nuclear movement in Russia. Both Mironova and Manzurova spoke about lessons learned from Chernobyl and how we can apply them to environmental, human rights, and peace advocacy today.
Dr. Mironova said that the situation in Japan may top what happened in Chernobyl.
"Three reactors is exploded," said Mironova, "not one like in Chernobyl. The second is this is an over populated region, so a big number of people live in a very small land. And third is there was some delay in giving the information to the people. We need to use energy supplies which have absolutely no potential to life or harm of the human population. I would like to say, if you ignore Chernobyl lesson please, learn from Fukushima."
Dr. Mironova and Natalia Manzurova are currently traveling the United States speaking out against nuclear energy.