Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

April 25, 2009 13:17 ET

Moving Visit by the Governor General to the Chernobyl Museum on the Eve of the 23rd Anniversary of the Tragedy

KYIV, UKRAINE --(Marketwire - April 25, 2009) - Before leaving Kyiv, Their Excellencies the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and Mr. Jean-Daniel Lafond visited the Chernobyl Museum this morning.

The Governor General met with Canadians and Ukrainians who were instrumental in organizing and implementing relief efforts following the disaster. On the eve of the 23rd anniversary of this catastrophe, Her Excellency laid a commemorative wreath at the monument erected on this site. In a brief statement to the press, the Governor General conveyed how deeply moved she was by the experience:

"I have to say that it is quite troubling to remember what happened in Chernobyl," she said. "I would like to praise the work of those responsible for this museum, as they are ensuring that the memory is alive and that the human aspect of this event remains at the very core of our preoccupations and of our society. I would also like to mention the extent to which Canada is participating in the research to enclose the radiation, once and for all, with the construction of a new containment vessel, as well as in the thought process that is necessary to design a safer alternative."

This visit to Chernobyl marks the end of a three-day visit to Kyiv. The Governor General is now on her way to Lviv to continue her State visit to Ukraine, which will run until April 26, 2009.

About the Chornobyl tragedy

A power surge triggered the destruction of a nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, on April 26, 1986. The explosion caused a massive release of radioactivity into the environment.

The speeches, photos and videos from the State visits to Ukraine and the Kingdom of Norway will be available daily at www.gg.ca. Blogs written by Their Excellencies and the delegates will be posted on www.citizenvoices.gg.ca.

Media also have access to high-resolution images and video at ftp://rideauhall.ca (username: media; password: osgg).

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