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Russian invasion at Chernobyl puts future research in limbo

UGA researchers, along with scores of international scientists, put studies on hold 


Russia’s occupation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine is putting research projects there in limbo, said University of Georgia scientist James Beasley. 


Russian troops moved across the Ukrainian border earlier this month, and one of their early points of entry was in the exclusion zone near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. But the invasion did more than cut off news of the defunct plant’s status—it also suspended a variety of ongoing research projects in the area. 


“At this point we have no idea how this will impact the long-term international collaborations that go on there,” said Beasley, associate professor of wildlife management and ecology at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. “There are so many people from around the world, and from those countries, who do work there.” 


The exclusion zone that surrounds the nuclear plant spans Ukraine and Belarus, and the site is home to a variety of ecological studies conducted by national and international scientists. This research has a deep, collaborative history that goes back decades. Researchers from the University of Georgia and the Savannah River Ecology Lab are also entwined in its history. 

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