April 26, 1986. Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat, Ukraine. At 01:23 local time the fourth reactor explodes and causes a nuclear meltdown, blanketing nearby towns with a lethal dose of radiation.
Large areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia are 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 truth is that a plume of fallout drifted throughout western Russia and Europe, reaching its dark hands as far as the UK and even crossed the sea, to North America.
A small handful of people perish, while tens of thousands feel the after effects for decades to come.
"To begin our journey", he tells us, "we must learn a little something about radiation. It is really very simple, and the device we use for measuring radiation levels is called a geiger counter . If you flick it on in Kiev, it will measure about 12-16 microroentgen per hour. In a typical city of Russia and America, it will read 10-12 microroentgen per hour".
In the center of many European cities there are 20 microR per hour, the radioactivity of the stone. One roentgen is 100,000 times the average radiation of a typical city. A dose of 500 roentgens within 5 hours is fatal to humans.
Interestingly enough, it takes about 2 1/2 times that dosage to kill a chicken and over 100 times that to kill a cockroach. This sort of radiation level can not be found in Chernobyl now. In the first days after explosion, some places around the reactor were emitting 3,000-30,000 roentgens per hour.
The firemen, who were sent to put out the reactor fire, were fried on the spot by gamma radiation. The remains of the reactor were entombed within an enormous steel and concrete sarcophagus, so it is now relatively safe to travel to the area - as long as one does not step off of the roadway and does not stick in the wrong places.
More on side http://www.vrmag.org/issue28/CHERNOBYL_21_YEARS_LATER.html
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