Chernobyl – 30 years on

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On April 26, 1986, the world’s worst nuclear disaster took place; the explosion of Chernobyl’s No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Ukraine. About nine tone of radio active dust, 90 times more than the Hiroshima bomb, spread over a large area of Europe. Some five million people, among them one million children have been exposed to this radiation.

The independent republic of Belarus received 70 per cent of the radioactive fallout the Chernobyl explosion. One of the most affected areas remains Gomel city and the region around it. Still after 30 years children are born here with congenital deformities, brain damage and other disabilities.

Almost a quarter of the area of Belarus was contaminated and some two million people were affected. Many people were relocated from the Ukraine to Belarus; it took several years before the government understood that this area was even more affected than parts of the Ukraine.

Some 15,000 people are believed to have died as a result of the tragedy, while another 150,000 people were crippled. Most of the families in this hard hit area in Belarus are poor, so they can only receive help from local hospitals, which are kind of limited with resources to assist the need in best way possible. The government forbids people to live in certain areas but many have no choice. Nobody really knows how bad the situation is and it will take many years before things return to some kind of normality.

They are now building a great protection building to be added on top of the scene. Everything with the new protective building, “New safe confinement”, are fiercely large. The construction weighs 30 000 tonnes. The height is 110 meters, 17 meters taller than the Statue of Liberty. The width is 257 meters. Everything joined together with 680 000 heavy steel bolts. The cost amounts to SEK 14 billion.

Some pics from my visit in 2003.

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