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Posts Tagged ‘Soviet Union’

Pripyat: 16 Years a City, 30 Years a Ghost Town

Posted by feww on April 26, 2016

30th Anniversary of Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

Pripyat was founded on 4 February 1970 to serve the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. By the time it was evacuated, on April 27, 1986, the day after the Chernobyl disaster, the ninth nuclear city in the Soviet Union had a population of about 49,400.

Chernobyl NPP, [The V. I. Lenin Nuclear Power Station] was commissioned in 1970. The first reactor came online in 1977, followed by Reactor No. 2 (1978), No. 3 (1981), and No. 4 (1983). Between them, the four reactors were producing about 10 percent of Ukraine’s electricity before the core meltdown.

A power surge blew the roof off the reactor No. 4, releasing radioactive clouds across Eastern Europe, and leaving entire regions in three countries—Ukraine, Russia and Belarus—unlivable.

The explosion has so far claimed at least a million lives, and counting.

Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant underwent a core meltdown [center] in 1986 with disastrous consequences. The radionuclide levels still exceed the normal background in 60 Ukrainian towns and villages. This image was taken by authorities in the former Soviet Union.

The radiation contaminated 50,000 square kilometers of land across 12 regions in Ukraine, and forced hundreds of villages to be relocated. In neighboring Belarus 20 percent of the entire country’s land area was also contaminated.

The radionuclide levels still exceed the normal background in 60 Ukrainian towns and villages.

Today, a second casing is being built to contain the radiation, which is still being emitted by the reactor because the old sarcophagus is crumbling.

Never Ending Nightmare at

“In mid-February [2013,] a 600-square-meter section of the roof at the Chernobyl site collapsed, sparking fears of another disaster. The collapse occurred 70 meters above the sarcophagus that contains the radiation from the damaged No. 4 reactor,” said a report.

Experts estimate that 200 tons of radioactive corium [a molten, lava-like mixture of nuclear reactor core materials, containing nuclear fuel, fission products, control rods, structural materials and other substances found in a reactor core,] several dozen tons of highly contaminated dust and 16 tons of uranium and plutonium remain under the existing sarcophagus that covers the disaster stricken power plant.

Birth defects and cancer were the norm for many years following the Chernobyl disaster.  By the time  residents of Pripyat were ordered to evacuate, about two days after the Chernobyl core meltdown had occurred, many had already been exposed to varying doses of radiation poisoning.

1 Million Killed in Chernobyl Disaster

“A report by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko which appeared in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science showed that by 2004, there were 985,000 additional deaths worldwide caused by the nuclear disaster, including 212,000 of within Western Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.”

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