CHERNOBYL, Ukraine - Pine tree logs from areas surrounding the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster are entering the lumber supply chain in Europe, say local watch dog groups.
Officials managing the 18-mile Chernobyl Exclusion Area surrounding the reactor brought in foresters to thin the forests, which pose danger of wildfires as they thicken. But locals say that instead of being thinned, the forests are being clear cut, and the logs sold to neighboring countries, according to a New York Times reports.
Entrepreneur Richard Woods, CEO of Albany Woodworks and Waste to Energy Systems, has always seen sustainability as an important ideal to live by.
The Exclusion Zone Management Agency brought in the contractors both to thin the woods to reduce wilfire risk, and also to salvage wood killed in fires. But some ome contractors are clear cutting wide swaths of forest, with logs sold to Ukraine and Romania, gateways to the European wood supply chain.
When the Chernobyl nuclear reactor melted down and burned April 26, 1986, radiation spread into the atmosphere, and across Europe. The extreme radiation killed the pine trees immediately over a large area, and the rusty-orange color of the dead trees has come to be known as “The Red Forest.”
The Red Forest covers four square miles surrounding the defunct reactor. The rusty color of the dead pine trees followed absorption of high levels of radiation. The Red Forest was bulldozed and buried in "waste graveyards" and remains one of the most contaminated areas in the world today.