Anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster: 32 facts about the tragedy

Chernobyl, Pripyat

Today Ukraine marks the 32d anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, near the capital of the country Kyiv. It takes thousands of years to purify the environment, and the tapestry of the Zone hangs in the UN hall in New York.

The Chernobyl accident occurred on April 26, 1986. The total release of radioactive materials is 50 million curies. We are talking about the equivalent to 500 atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima during World War II.

Accident changed the eye color

After the emergency, a column of smoke from the combustion products reached tens of meters in height, and 90% of the nuclear fuel of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was in the Earth’s atmosphere. The level of radiation contamination around the station in the first days of the accident was so high that the eye color of the Soviet firefighter Volodymyr Pravyk’s (he was among the first liquidators who arrived at accident place) changed from brown to blue.

The radioactive cloud flew to America

The radioactive cloud formed after the accident covered most of Europe and reached the eastern coast of the United States. The first who raised the alarm was at the Swedish nuclear power plant staff. On April 27, they found finding radioactive particles on the clothes of employees who worked 1100 km from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Moreover, in early May 1986 the Chernobyl disaster, radioactive rains passed in Ireland.

Red Forest

The pine forest adjacent to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant took on the largest dose of radiation – the trees died and became brownish-red in half an hour after the explosion.

Radiation mutants

After the disaster at Chernobyl, people heard stories about mutations caused by radiation: animals with extra heads, snouts and paws. According to scientists, the number of mutations really increased, but not that much.

Belarus got the blow

About 70% of the radiation pollution of Chernobyl NPP was in Belarus, which lost because of this the majority of farmland and suffered more than $ 200 billion in losses.

Chernobyl zone hot spots

The conteminates territory of Chernobyl and other towns and villages will not return to its original state for the next 48 thousand years. In some places, the level of radiation is not so high, but there are still “hot spots” with a high concentration of radioactive substances. They are, basically, toxic compounds of cesium and strontium. They can penetrate the bones, teeth and tissues of humans and animals, seriously damaging health.

Chernobyl disater main facts

200 thousand in evacuation

Because of the accident at the Chernobyl NPP, the authorities conducted one of the largest evacuations of the population in peacetime. Only 36 hours after the emergency began the resettlement of residents of the city of Pripyat, located 3 km from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The total number of evacuated people was 200 thousand. The list of settlements that were subject to compulsory resettlement, contained more than 70 towns and villages.

600,000 liquidators

In the first two years after the disaster at the Chernobyl NPP, 240 thousand people participated in the liquidation of its consequences. Moreover, for all time – about 600 thousand.

The second fire

A month after the explosion of the reactor, on May 23, 1986, a fire broke out at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. To eliminate the fire, it took up to 8 hours, 268 firefighters took part in the fire extinguishing. Some firefighters received significant radiation doses. The fire was strictly classified by the order of Mikhail Gorbachev and became known to the broad masses only after the collapse of the USSR.

Lead and Uranium

According to various estimates, in addition to radioactive substances near Chernobyl NPP, as a result of the explosion, 250,000 tons of heavy metal, lead, toxic to living organisms, fell into the environment. In addition, before the accident in the reactor was about 180 tons of nuclear fuel (uranium dioxide), of which the atmosphere, according to various estimates, got up to 30%.

Zone for three Kyiv

The area of the exclusion zone in the epicenter of Chernobyl NPP is 2,600 square km (1,000 square miles) in the Kyiv and Zhytomyr refions. Three big cities such as a capital of Ukraine (or 3 New York, or 24 Paris) can fit in this area.

Four or two hundred?

No one knows the exact number of victims of the Chernobyl disaster. In the early days of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion, 38 people died, most from acute radiation sickness. According to World Health Organization data, the number of deaths from cancer caused by the disaster ranges from four thousand to nine thousand people. The international organization “Greenpeace” believes these data are understated at times and brings its figure – up to 200 thousand deaths.

Tame fox Semyon

In Pripyat, near Chernobyl, lives a tame fox called Semyon, who the tourists feed. Thanks to his communication skills, Semyon is a star of social networks.

Tried to return

In 2012, 35 former residents of Chernobyl appealed to the authorities with an open letter to allow them to return to their homes, for which they have ownership. The officials didn’t want to take the responsability answered that the law forbids even former residents to return to the contaminated territories, and refused the request.

131 fearless

In the exclusion zone near Chernobyl, as of today, there are still 131 residents. Tourists from all over the world come to visit them.

Arch lowered the radiation background

The level of radiation near the Arch, which was built in 2017 and, covered the reactor that exploded in 1986, fell by more than 10 times. In general, in the exclusion zone, the radiation background decreased by 2-3 times and amounted to 7-15 milliroentgens per hour. Before it was 20-40 (at the rate of 20). Complete elimination of the zone will take 24,000 years.

Rich flora and fauna

Thanks to the photo-traps, the researchers of Chernobyl recorded the appearance of lynxes, bears, bisons and other rare animals in the local forests.

Shelter-record holder

“Shelter-2”, or Arch, covering the old sarcophagus of the fourth reactor, is the world’s largest mobile structure. Construction cost 2 billion euros.

Night in the zone costs $ 8

In June last year, ukrainian businessmen opened a hostel for tourists exactly in the center of Chernobyl. It is situated in the premises of the former hostel “Polesie”. There are 100 beds. A day’s stay costs 200 UAH (nearly $ 8), and you need to order the number through the State Agency for the management of the exclusion zone. The rooms have televisions, shower and even Wi-Fi.

More and more tourists

The Chernobyl zone is very popular among tourists. Only last year there were 3520 delegations, or 49 758 people, which is 35% more than in 2016. The share of foreign tourists is 70%, and the geography of guests covers 114 countries. Most often they come from the US, Britain, Germany and Poland to look at the consequences of the enormous accident. However, there are tourists even from Japan and Australia.

Chernobyl Lenin

One of the last monuments of Lenin in Ukraine still stands directly in Chernobyl. The dwellers ask the authorities not to demolish it.

Dangerous metal

The equipment that remained after the accident in Chernobyl was partially cut to scrap metal, and therefore after decontamination, the metal was taken to a clean area outside the zone. While there were cases when cars export metal without the necessary documents and radiation control. Much as there were also attempts to take out dangerous timber to sell it to private sawmills.

The zone was shot in a musical video

The exclusion zone of Chernobyl has become popular in recent years to shoot musical video. The real sensation produced a clip of the legendary British band Pink Floyd on the instrumental composition Marooned, shot in abandoned Pripyat. Consequently, for the first three days, the video was watched by more than 500 thousand people, and the video has more than 20 million views.

Energy of sun

In January 2018, construction of a small solar power station with a capacity of 1 megawatt was completed near Chernobyl. It consists of 3,800 photovoltaic panels installed on an area of 1.6 hectares (4 acres), just one hundred meters (300 feet) from the former reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The station is capable of providing electricity to 2 thousand city apartments.

The Chernobyl NPP in video games

The series of video games “Stalker” made Chernobyl and the events around it famous for the whole world and became as a result a huge cult. According to various estimates, it was sold from four to eight million copies of the game.

Accident and creativity

A great variety of musicians has used the theme of Chernobyl in their creation because it remains topic #1 in the whole world. “Scriabin”, famous Ukrainian group, recorded the track “Chernobyl Forever” in 2000. The famous Italian singer Adriano Celentano sang the song “Dreams in Chernobyl” 10 years ago. The Ukrainian band “Onuka” also recorded mini-album “Vidlik” last year, dedicated to the events at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

The “Arc” for missiles

By the way, one of the most popular attractions of the Chernobyl Zone is “Arc”. This is a Soviet radar station for an early detection system for intercontinental rocket launches.

Tapestry in the UN

Tapestry “Chernobyl” of 40 square meters (431 square feet) is located in the UN Hall in New York. Belarusian artist Alexander Krishchenko wove it.

The series about the disaster

Meanwhile, HBO Studio, which gave the world a series of “Games of Thrones”, is now shooting a mini-series “Chernobyl”, which will tell directly about the day when the accident occurred. In the series such famous actors as Stellan Skarsgård (“Nymphomaniac”, “Thor”, “Clever Will Hunting”) and Emily Watson (“New York, New York”, “Cutting Waves”) are playing.

Museum and exhibitions

In 1992, a hundred kilometers (62 miles) from the epicenter of the disaster in Kiev, the National Museum “Chernobyl” opened, that is most noteworthy. It is an educational center for ecological culture and safety of life. It collected a huge number of artifacts and documents about the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. There are regular creative exhibitions and environmental training.

Mysticism in movies

This year in Ukraine, the film “Brahma” will be screened. This is a screen version of the play “At the Beginning and End of Time” by Ukrainian playwright Pavel Arye, who will tell a mystical story about the life of a family in the Chernobyl zone. The main role will play Irma Vitovskaya as Grandma Prisi.

Please do not forget to watch this video in conclusion:

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Anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster: 32 facts about the tragedy