Greenpeace radiation investigation at Chornobyl to assess accuracy of IAEA data

Chornobyl, Ukraine – WEBWIRE

Near the ruins of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, an international team of radiation experts led by Greenpeace Germany is examining abandoned Russian positions for radioactive contamination. Trenches and dugouts were built by Russian soldiers during their occupation of the Chornobyl site in March. About 600 soldiers were deployed there. The research project is being conducted with the approval of the Ukrainian government and in cooperation with scientists from the State Agency of Ukraine on the Exclusion Zone Management (SAUEZM).

For the first time since the beginning of the Russian invasion, independent measurements will be taken and the statement of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be assessed. According to the IAEA, while there was increased radiation the levels did not pose a great danger to the environment or people. The IAEA’s deputy director is Mikhail Chudakov, a long-time employee of the Russian nuclear company Rosatom.[1]

Shaun Burnie, a nuclear expert from Greenpeace Germany, on site in Chornobyl, said: 

“We want to know what really happened on the ground. The IAEA’s information so far is insufficient. The Ukrainian authorities are enabling the Greenpeace Germany research team to gather independent information about radiation safety in the region. This includes investigating the radioactive contamination that deposited in the Exclusion Zone when the Chornobyl reactor exploded in 1986. Between seven and nine tonnes of nuclear fuel were pulverized and ejected into the atmosphere in the 1986 explosion.” 

During the Russian occupation of the Chornobyl region, Greenpeace experts warned that this could lead to increased radioactive contamination. But the IAEA gave an “all-clear”. The nuclear agency has a mandate to promote nuclear power.[2]

“While the European Commission actively supports nuclear power by including it in its taxonomy. It’s more important than ever to investigate the environmental impact of Chornobyl, the world’s worst nuclear disaster,” said Burnie.

Greenpeace Germany will present the results of the Chornobyl radiation research, in English, at a press conference in Kyiv on July 20 at 9:00 am CEST (ZOOM Link:

Photo and video are available via Box. Video: Photo:

Press conference on July 20 at 9:00 am CEST via ZOOM link:




Greenpeace activists raise wind turbine at Ukraine conference in call for green reconstruction

Lugano, Switzerland – WEBWIRE

Activists from Greenpeace raised a replica wind turbine, close to the venue of the Ukraine Recovery Conference today in Lugano, in a call for recovery efforts to be based on sustainable energy systems, not nuclear or fossil fuels. As donors meet to discuss reconstruction after the Russian invasion, Greenpeace together with Ecoaction and more than 45 Ukrainian civil society organisations is calling for a green reconstruction plan.

Ukrainian non-governmental organisations have developed guiding principles to ensure that Ukraine’s green post-war reconstruction delivers sustainable economic development and is beneficial to people and nature.[1] 

Natalia Gozak, executive director of Ecoaction, based in Kyiv, said: “It is common sense that Ukraine should not rebuild its infrastructure to the old Soviet standards. As a potential EU candidate country our long-term goal must be achieving climate neutrality by 2050. This means a green and sustainable post-war reconstruction that balances economic, social and environmental health. We will need to rebuild our cities with the highest energy efficiency standards and in a climate-smart way. We can’t be dependent any more on fossil fuels. We need to restore damaged ecosystems and boost clean industry. Decades of hard work are ahead and we cannot afford to plan it wrong from the start.”

The European Centre for Economic Policy Research estimates the current cost of reconstruction in Ukraine to be around USD 500 billion and 1000 billion, rising as the war continues.[2] This amount includes investments, grants, knowledge and technology transfer, capacity building, human resources, coordination and planning as well as transparent donor-country coordination.[3]

The war in heavily industrialised parts of Ukraine has increased environmental risks. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, remains under Russian occupation and the safety of its operation under threat. Large land areas may be contaminated with hazardous chemicals. Other risks include water pollution, natural habitat destruction and greenhouse gas emissions, impacting people’s health and food supply as well as climate and biodiversity in Ukraine and beyond.

Denitza Petrova, campaigner with Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe who was part of the action today said: “The terrible destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure, economy and society by the Russian military must stop. In supporting the rebuilding of Ukraine, the European Union and international community must ensure the highest principles of sustainability are at the core of reconstruction efforts. Full participation of civil society is essential for an equitable and resilient recovery of Ukraine and protection of the environment. It’s crucial that international donors invest their money in green and sustainable recovery, not nuclear and fossil fuels.”

As major cities destroyed by Russia (like Chernihiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv) are rebuilt, reconstruction must focus on using sustainable technologies such as solar power, zero-energy buildings and urban planning that puts people and nature at the centre, say campaigners. In addition to the environmental benefits, sustainable energy supply also promotes energy independence. 

Iris Menn, executive director of Greenpeace Switzerland, said: “Switzerland and all governments involved must support an ecological, sustainable and socially equitable reconstruction of Ukraine at every opportunity. This starts today in Lugano.”





Greenpeace challenges FSC certification of Swedish forestry giant Sveaskog over violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights

Greenpeace International has filed a formal complaint to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) International against Swedish forestry giant Sveaskog for repeated breaches of the indigenous rights of the Muonio Sámi peoples.

“In support of the Indigenous rights of the Muonio Sámi we have lodged a complaint to FSC questioning their certification of Sveaskog. A core FSC principle is respect for the rights and livelihoods of Indigenous peoples such as the Sámi, yet in the last 4 years Sveaskog have repeatedly breached this principle,” said Grant Rosoman, Senior Advisor Forests Solutions for Greenpeace International.

FSC Principle 3 as well as the Swedish National Forest Stewardship Standard requires companies to “identify and uphold Indigenous Peoples’ legal and customary rights of ownership, use and management of land, territories and resources.” Greenpeace International has filed the complaint to FSC International via their complaints and appeals system.[1] This has come about after years of complaints by the Muonio Sámi community and public attention on Sveaskog not respecting their customary rights. 

“We cannot stand by and allow forestry giant Sveaskog to bully and disrespect the Muonio Sámi. As Sveaskog was one of the first companies in the world to be FSC certified in 1998, we expect them to know and uphold FSC’s principles. That Sveaskog remains certified until today despite years of complaints, means FSC International and FSC Sweden are indirectly supporting the company’s disregard of the Sámi indigenous rights. Because of the seriousness of the breach of rules and lack of any progress locally we have filed the complaint with FSC International,” said Rosoman.

Photo and Video available from the Greenpeace Media Library:


[1] Muonio Sámi complaint to FSC Sweden : 

Greenpeace report for campaign background, Destruction: Certified.

IEA says no new oil, gas or coal – Greenpeace response

The International Energy Agency has stated in their new Net Zero Roadmap released today that there is “no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net-zero pathway.” In addition, the agency has ruled out new oil and gas fields, after 2021, as well as new coal mines and mine extensions. 

Responding to the IEA’s new 1.5°C-aligned net zero scenario, Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International said:

“Finally the IEA is starting to get it: If we’re to have a fighting chance of meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the world needs to phase out fossil fuels. We can’t even burn – or afford to burn – all the reserves we’ve currently got. 

“To avert climate catastrophe and biodiversity devastation, and to maintain an ‘unwavering policy focus on climate change in the net zero pathway,’ governments and regulators have to act and that means an end to licensing for new oil and gas now. The IEA has spelled it out once and for all: if you’re in a hole, stop digging.”