Even those who were born after the Chernobyl accident, probably heard about it. It is not surprising, because this is one of the most serious man-made disasters in the history of mankind. At least, it is one of the most famous and widely covered disasters in popular culture. Films and TV series were made about it, books and scientific works were written. Now this territory has become a place of pilgrimage for tourists and a headache for the Ukrainian authorities and environmentalists from all over the world. It would seem that the territory is located on the side, it does not interfere with anyone and ” cooks in its own juice”, but this is not the case. Periodically, it reminds you of yourself and makes people nervous. What is the reason for this and should I really worry about it?
What happened to nature after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant
Many say that the accident, which happened more than thirty years ago, took only about 50 lives. So it is, but according to the most conservative estimates, about 4,000 more liquidators died after the accident. How many people were seriously ill after exposure? Very much. Some people still live with them, and some even passed them on to their children.
Much damage was also done to nature. Many people have seen the famous Red forest in pictures (it even became so called officially). This is how it became just a few dozen minutes after the accident. All because in that forest there were mostly pines, and their needles very quickly absorb all the pollutants. This is especially true for radioactive elements, tons of which were thrown into the air after the explosion, painted the forest in a characteristic yellow-rust color.
Later, about 15 quadrant kilometers of this forest were demolished and buried, but the remaining trees remained and their needles were cleared only a few years later. This is due to the fact that coniferous trees gradually shed their needles, updating them completely in 3-5 years.
Here is so literally for half an hour of the forest changed color on red.
Also, after the accident in the vicinity of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, almost all the animals were killed, and those that survived were shot so that they could not run away from the territory and spread pollution to significantly larger territories.
The shooting of animals was only an additional measure, since much more radiation was carried around the world by the wind. The cloud covered not only the Western part of the territory of the USSR, but also most of Europe. An increase in radiation levels was recorded even on the East coast of the United States
All this has made the forests around the station uninhabitable for many years, not only for people, but also for animals. However, if people were told that it would be impossible to live in Pripyat for 24,000 years, they forgot to explain it to animals. As a result, they returned much faster and began to actively populate the territory. What does this mean for us now?
What is the danger of the territory around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant
It is worth understanding that the risks lie not only in the returned animals, but also in many other things. Such serious accidents do not pass without a trace, and if people do not die directly on this territory, it does not mean that the echo of the accident does not reach the neighboring territories.
Fires in Chernobyl
Over the past few weeks, fires near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant have not left the front pages of many media outlets. The problem is that Gorenje is a process in which smoke is released and ash appears. All this is carried by the wind to large territories. If just dry grass is burning, then nothing terrible will happen, and in the cities next door there will only be smoke and a slight increase in CO2 levels.
This is a strong fire was in the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.It is quite another matter when the grass and trees in the zone of radiation contamination are burning. This leads to the fact that in the air, as thirty-odd years ago, particles of radioactive elements begin to fly. Their half-life is very long and it is not necessary to say that everything ”dissipated” during this time. This is not true.
The half-life is the time during which particles (nuclei, atoms) lose half the intensity of their decay reaction, and the number of these particles decreases by half. For calculations, the half-life is taken, since the rate of decrease in the number of particles decreases with time. In the event of a nuclear disaster, the infected area will almost never become completely safe. For example, radium has a half – life of thousands of years, and some uranium isotopes have a half-life of hundreds of millions of years.
As a result of such exposure, people begin to breathe ”all sorts of filth” again, and a layer of infected dust settles on the streets of cities, which for several weeks after the elimination of fires lies on the sidewalks and in people’s apartments.
At night, the flames were visible for many kilometers from the fire site.
There are ratings of pollution in the capitals of the world. Since the nearest capital to the scene of the accident is Kiev, last week it was one of the three cities that led this rating. Now the source has been eliminated and the situation, fortunately, has started to improve.
This is not the first time nuclear power plants have been blown up. Should I continue using them? How does a nuclear power plant work?
Danger of animals from the infected area
Imagine that in the zone of infection running cows that can let out laser beams from the eyes, or dogs, as in the TV series Chernobyl, filmed by TNT, is not worth it. Really serious physical abnormalities are extremely rare. Although, you can find photos with two-headed fish and the like. But the fact is that such mutations are found in other places on our planet. Among the least serious deviations, we can name an increased percentage of albino birds, a decrease in rodent offspring, and a short life span of insects.
These are the wild horses that walk in the Chernobyl forests.
In General, the animal population has grown very much recently. In this regard, the evil irony is that the presence of humans and their waste products cause animals much more discomfort than constant radiation. They adapted to it much better.
As a result, a real reserve with bears, bison, lynx, wolves, otters and other wild animals appeared on the abandoned territory. On the one hand, you can be happy for them, since they are so good, but not everything is so rosy.
There have been other accidents at nuclear power plants
There are no borders for animals. They can leave their native territories and move not only within one forest, but also to other countries. There they can become the prey of hunters or give sick offspring, which again will get to the dinner of a person or predator. So contaminated meat will spread around the world and poison it.
Externally, Chernobyl animals look healthy.
Birds can also carry the decay products over a wide area. In order to monitor the population and take action as necessary, scientists have installed about 50 cameras on the territory, which give them a clear picture of what is happening in the”dead forest”.
Water from an infected area
The infected area has small rivers and ground water. Of course, the pollution gets into them as well. As a result, the particles spread over large territories and even fall into the world’s oceans. However, it contains enough waste from the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant, which collapsed after the tsunami in Japan in 2011.
What is water?.. But vodka from Chernobyl is strong.
Does the Chernobyl nuclear power plant work now
It will come as a surprise to many, but the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the accident in 1986 worked to some extent even before 2000. All because you can’t just stop the reactors and, roughly speaking, shut down the station.
Even now, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant can be considered operating. For technical reasons, it is still not fully preserved and work in this direction continues.
Life in this city is not worth talking about for another 24,000 years.
A second sarcophagus is still being built over the fourth power unit, where the explosion occurred, as it was built immediately after the accident and has already begun to collapse. In addition, reactors and the most infected equipment are preserved. Special pools are being built for the disposal of nuclear fuel. All these works are carried out with the participation of international funds.
It turns out that the most radioactive place on Earth is not Chernobyl at all.
Due to the fact that it is not possible to use territories for their intended purpose (for work and life), it would be logical to think about how they can be used. As a result, it was decided to deploy a solar power plant in Chernobyl. Back in 2016, just a couple of hundred meters from the sarcophagus on an area of about 1.6 hectares, 3,800 photovoltaic panels were installed, with a total capacity of 1 megawatt. This is comparable to a small hydroelectric power station and can provide power to a small village or approximately 2,000 apartments.
This is how solar energy is extracted in Chernobyl.
This is not the end of the construction of panels and the capacity will be increased. Thus, Ukraine should become the number one country in Europe in terms of energy generated by solar power plants.
How to get to Chernobyl
If you are not convinced by the above and are willing to risk your health, then you can join the approximately 70,000 people who visit Chernobyl annually as tourists.
We will always be happy to listen to those who have visited the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in our Telegram chat. We are very interested in what is happening there now.
There really is something to see, but you will have to sign a paper that you have no complaints to the tour organizer if something happens to you, and strictly follow the guide.
Arriving as a tourist in Pripyat, you can meet the same wild animals.
They know all the roads that can be walked without significant radiation exposure. After all, a step to the left or a step to the right can literally cost your life. The level of contamination of territories is very heterogeneous.
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