Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed a plan to tighten the safety standards in nuclear power plants of the world and sent it to world leaders on Tuesday. It will be discussed by the Group of Eight at a summit in Deauville, France, on May 26 and 27.

Mr. Medvedev was speaking at a memorial ceremony in Chernobyl to mark the 25th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear catastrophe. He was accompanied by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.

Nuclear reactor 4 in Chernobyl exploded on April 26, 1986, sending plumes of deadly radioactive debris across Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and much of western and northern Europe. More than 30 people died soon after the blast and hundreds of thousands were exposed to increased radiation levels. A 30-km exclusion zone around the plant, from where 3,50,000 were evacuated after the accident, is still closed for habitation and farming.

The Russian proposal would include greater responsibility of countries using nuclear energy, additional safety measures for nuclear reactors, a ban on the construction of reactors in quake-prone zones and expanded powers of international watchdogs to enforce the safety rules.

Memorial services were held on Tuesday in dozens of cities and towns in the former Soviet Union, which were either affected by the radiation fallout or sent teams of “liquidators” to Chernobyl. At least 6,00,000 civilians and military personnel helped clean up the nuclear plant and build a concrete shelter over the destroyed reactor.

Keywords: nuclear safety

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