Chernobyl Liquidators Day in Ukraine Date in the current year: December 14, 2024

Chernobyl Liquidators Day in Ukraine Chernobyl Liquidators Day is officially observed in Ukraine every December 14. It was established to honor the military and civil personnel who risked their lives to deal with the devastating consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred at the number 4 reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Kyiv Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. An unexpected drop of the power output during a safety test resulted in an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction, a core meltdown, and a series of explosions followed by a massive fire that released radioactive contamination.

Hundreds of thousands of people took part in dealing with the consequences of the accident. They are referred to as Chernobyl liquidators because the Soviet government described their activities as “liquidation of the consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident”.

The civil and military personnel that was involved in disaster management at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant included the plant’s operational personnel, firefighters, civil defense troops, the Internal Troops, the police force (militsiya), sanitation and medical personnel, civil aviation and Air Force units, various civilian workers, engineers and scientists, and media professionals who documented the disaster.

Over 500,000 recovery workers participated in mitigating the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster between 1986 and 1992; 240,000 of them were called upon in 1986 and 1987. All Chernobyl liquidators were exposed to radiation, and most of them suffered health consequences.

Many liquidators were immediately praised, but some struggled for years to have their participation recognized. This recognition is important for them because surviving Chernobyl liquidators have a veteran status that qualifies them for social benefits such as healthcare, retirement, monetary compensation, additional vacation days, etc.

The observance of Chernobyl Liquidators Day was initiated by Ukrainian NGOs and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of Ukraine. It was officially established by President Viktor Yushchenko in 2006. The date of Chernobyl Liquidators Day, December 14, was chosen to commemorate the commissioning of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sarcophagus covering the remains of the number 4 reactor unit on this day in 1986.

According to the presidential decree establishing Chernobyl Liquidators Day, its main goal is to celebrate the courage, dedication and high professionalism of the people who risked their lives to mitigate both immediate and long-term consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It is marked by various events held by government agencies and non-government organizations.

Chernobyl Liquidators Day should not be confused with International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day observed on April 26. The latter honors the memory of those who died as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, both during the disaster or immediately after and months or even years later due to radiation exposure.

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