EINNEWS, November 12—Would it be a crime or a brilliant idea to turn land near the Chernobyl nuclear plant into an agricultural site?

That’s the stark question posed as Ukrainian officials are seriously studying whether to plant rapeseed, which distills into canola oil, in 30 kilometers surrounding the site of the world’s greatest nuclear plant disaster.

In 1986 the plant exploded, sending radioactive ash over a wide expanse of Europe and Central Asia. Particularly hard hit were the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Nearly a quarter of a million people had to be relocated after the disaster and the extent of related health problems has been vast and still not entirely clear.

Since then a 30 kilometer area surrounding the plant has remained idle. Now a number of Ukrainian agencies are studying whether that land can be established for agriculture.

The European Union is said to be promoting the idea of planting rapeseed on the acreage and to use the product to produce biodiesel.

This idea has many experts aghast, fearing that dangerous isotopes remaining in the soil could be released back into the air and water if the soil is disturbed.

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