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Published: September 18th 2008
ME AND CRAIG IN FRONT OF MONUMENT AND REACTOR #4
So on a cloudy, cold day in Kiev we make our way to the street the travel agent told us to meet up with her and she will make sure we get on the van for the trip for Chernobyl, this trip was not very easy for us to organize, we were supposed to go a week earlier but last minute screw up by another travel agent, sent us waiting it out in Kiev, they need passport details etc, and apparently paperwork takes a couple of days for permit to be issued to enter the Chernoobyl site, and it does not run everyday, only on specific dates so time it perfectly.quite costly for us both but we want to do it.
We stood for 25 minutes in the cold then the agent came and we were ushered to their office until the driver shows up with the car. We were introduced to 2 other people going with us, a Japanese and i think a German. Off we go, through Kiev traffic, about 2 1/2 hours on the road we stopped and picked up our English speaking guide Dennis, gave us a briefing on what to expect, could not understand him
CRAIG ON THE GIANT GEIGER COUNTER
well, he speaks good English but he seems to have a short tongue, like Barbara Walters!!! sometimes it sounds gibberish to me. First stop point, Dennis presented the documents to the guard, he comes to the van and checked our passports then off we go again to this building where there are photos of the accident and maps and he gave us some hostiry of the event, here also we have to sign our life away, a document explaining the what nots to do whilst in the site. I felt a bit intimidated, is contamination still high, why do they do tours then???
We drove through Chernobyl town, we can see a few elderly people walking about, they returned after the accident years later because this is home for them, about 300 people says Dennis but he says in 5 or so years time the town will be empty as these folks would have died by then of old age(i hope). We stopped for a few photo ops, the contaminated river, some of the reactors, then when we crossed a bridge no photos for security reason, then we stopped at the site of the disaster, nuclear reactor #4, this
we can take photos of. From what i understand from him they built this sarcophagus concrete slabs to contain the radiation, something to do with plutonium's 20,000 years half life, blah, blah, i was just too engrossed at the site most facts escaped me at that time. He took out his geiger counter and it started reading, going up and up, i panicked but he said dangerous levels start at about 5.000 millimole(?), as you can see in the photo it was just 0.400 something. He said at times it goes up to 0.700. and that this is a good time for a visit as dust doeas not fly about in the air, he really is not helping our confidence of not picking up radiation in our bodies at this time and i was thinking what the f..k am I doing here!!!
On we go though and we drove to the town of Pripyat to the abandoned ghost town, to the city centere first, where there was a restaurant, hotel and a government building, quite spooky walking around, very grim and gray and I fell like anytime a zombie will come out and eat me and Craig, and the
SIGN ON ENTRANCE TO TOWN
Japanese... then a visit to the old playground, where we found Craig's radioactive apple on the tree! we hoped there was more...
Next stop is an old abandoned school where he let us wander around from floor to floor, i found the site quite fascinating, trash, books things littered everywhere, school lessons on the floor, you can see the communist propaganda things everywhere, it was still Soviet Union at that time so...
Drove back to the building where we had a briefing, we stood in this apparatus(geiger maybe?) and it measured our radiation levels, all of us were fine, dennis said in a big group once in a while one will get a high level and have to be decontaminated!! Anyway then a good big lunch!! 7 course meals if i counted it right!! We were assured they were not grown or caught(fish) in these areas.. god we hope so as me and Craig stuffed our bellies away, we haven't eaten this well in weeks, backpackers, small budgets, remember...On the way out of town we visited this church which was quite impressive from the outside, it was closed when we got there.. driving through the town I loved
the old wooden houses , they remind me of houses I saw in Siberia. Left Kiev at 9amish finished and started driving back around 4pmish. Before exiting the 10km zone, we were checked again for radiation for the last time, this apparatus is huge and we all tested negative thank god. left the site,we dropped off the guide somewhere then off to the city of Kiev. This visit was an ace, quite freaked out but a must do I think when in Ukraine, you have to see what happened here and hopefully will not see another like this.
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear reactor accident in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union. It was the worst nuclear power plant accident in history and the only instance so far of level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, resulting in a severe release of radioactivity into the environment following a massive power excursion which destroyed the reactor. Two people died in the initial steam explosion, but most deaths from the accident were attributed to fallout.
On 26 April 1986 at 01:23:44 a.m. (UTC+3) reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant,
near Pripyat in the Ukrainian SSR, exploded. Further explosions and the resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area. Four hundred times more fallout was released than had been by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
The plume drifted over extensive parts of the western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Northern Europe, and eastern North America. Large areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were badly contaminated, resulting in the evacuation and resettlement of over 336,000 people. According to official post-Soviet data,about 60% of the radioactive fallout landed in Belarus.
The accident raised concerns about the safety of the Soviet nuclear power industry, slowing its expansion for a number of years, while forcing the Soviet government to become less secretive. The now-independent countries of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus have been burdened with the continuing and substantial decontamination and health care costs of the Chernobyl accident. It is difficult to accurately tell the number of deaths caused by the events at Chernobyl, as the Soviet-era cover-up made it difficult to track down victims. Lists were incomplete, and Soviet authorities later forbade doctors to cite "radiation" on death certificates.
DOCUMENTS TO SIGN OUR LIFE AWAY BEFORE VISIT TO THE SITE
2005 report prepared by the Chernobyl Forum, led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Health Organization (WHO), attributed 56 direct deaths (47 accident workers, and nine children with thyroid cancer), and estimated that there may be 4,000 extra cancer deaths among the approximately 600,000 most highly exposed people. Although the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and certain limited areas will remain off limits, the majority of affected areas are now considered safe for settlement and economic activity.
The Chernobyl station (51°23′14″N 30°06′41″E / 51.38722, 30.11139) is located near the town of Pripyat, Ukraine, 18 km (11 mi) northwest of the city of Chernobyl, 16 km (10 mi) from the border of Ukraine and Belarus, and about 110 km (68 mi) north of Kiev. The station consisted of four reactors of type RBMK-1000, each capable of producing 1 gigawatt (GW) of electric power, and the four together produced about 10%!o(MISSING)f Ukraine's electricity at the time of the accident. Construction of the plant began in the 1970s, with reactor no. 1 commissioned in 1977, followed by no. 2 (1978), no. 3 (1981), and no. 4 (1983). Two more reactors, no. 5 and 6, capable of producing 1 GW
MONUMENT TO THE 1ST 30 PEOPLE WHO FOUGHT THE FIRE ON REACTOR 4
each, were under construction at the time of the accident.
SPREAD OF RADIOACTIVITY:
Moscow's Mitino cemetery Chernobyl monumentThe nuclear meltdown provoked a radioactive cloud that floated not over just the modern states of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, but also Turkish Thrace, Southern coast of Black Sea, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, The Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, France (including Corsica[) the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man.
The initial evidence that a major exhaust of radioactive material was affecting other countries came not from Soviet sources, but from Sweden, where on 27 April workers at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant (approximately 1,100 km (680 mi) from the Chernobyl site) were found to have radioactive particles on their clothes.It was Sweden's search for the source of radioactivity, after they had determined there was no leak at the Swedish plant, which led to the first hint of a serious nuclear problem in the western Soviet Union. The rise of radiation levels had at that time already been measured in Finland, but a civil service strike delayed
BURIED HOUSES, ALL YOU SEE IS GRASS AND RADIOACTIVE SIGN
the response and publication.
Contamination from the Chernobyl accident was scattered irregularly depending on weather conditions. Reports from Soviet and Western scientists indicate that Belarus received about 60% of the contamination that fell on the former Soviet Union. However, the 2006 TORCH report stated that half of the volatile particles had landed outside Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. A large area in Russia south of Bryansk was also contaminated, as were parts of northwestern Ukraine. Studies in countries around the area say that over one million people could have been affected by radiation.
In Western Europe, measures were taken including seemingly arbitrary regulations pertaining to the legality of importation of certain foods but not others. In France some officials stated that the Chernobyl accident had no adverse effects.
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