Yuri Kostenko holds a Ph.D from the Zaporizhia Institute of Engineering, in Ukraine. In 1989, he became one of the founders of Rukh, the Popular Movement for Independence and has been a Member of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) for three consecutive terms since 1990. From 1990 to 1994, Dr. Kostenko was Deputy Head of the Parliamentary Commission on Ecology, and wrote a study of nuclear security and ecological reform. He served as the Minister for Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety from 1992 to 1998. Since 1994, he has been a Member of the World Academy of Science and Art. In 1988, he also took an active part in the rescue operation to aid earthquake victims in Armenia.. He has written extensively on problems of energy, ecology, and national security, publishing more than 35 academic papers. He has received several national awards, both in Ukraine and abroad, for his work in addressing the consequences of the Chornobyl disaster.