Chernobyl Aftermath

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Anonymous

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#1
http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/

Found via Slashdot. This is fascinating. Very interesting photographs.

Motorcycling is a great hobby of mine. I ride all my life and I owned different bikes and I ended with big kawasaki ninja. This motorbike has matured 147 horse powers, some serious bark, it is that fast like a bullet and comfortable for a long trips. I travel a lot and my favorite destination lead through so called Chernobyl "dead zone" It is 130kms from my home. Why favourite? because one can ride there for hours and not meet any single car and not to see any single soul. People left and nature is blooming, there are beautiful places, woods, lakes. Roads haven't been built or repaired since 80th but in places where they haven't been ridden by trucks or army technics, they stay in the same condition as 20 years ago. Time do not ruin roads.

To begin, we got to learn a little something about radiation, it is simple. Device that we use for measuring level of radiation called dosimeter and if you will turn it on in Kiev, it will show 12-16 microroengen per hour, in cities of Russia, America or Europe normally it will be 10-12 microroengen per hour. 1.000 of microroengen make one milliroengen and 1.000 milliroengen make 1 roengen. To die quietly human need to acquire a tan of 500 roentgen within 5 hours. This sort of radiation can not be found this days in Chernobyl. In first days after explosion, in some places around reactor it was 3.000 roengen per hour and people who were throwen to put down that fire have been dying on the spot. Now everything is much better, they put a big sarcophagus on that thing and we can travel there with no danger for health. Here is map that shows radiation level in different parts of dead zone and which I updated for our local biker club in March 16 of this year (2004) map shows level of radiation on asphalt, usually on the middle of road, because on edge of road it is twice as higher and if you step 1 meter off the road it 4 or 5 times higher. Radiation sit on earth, on the grass, in apples and mushrooms. It is not on asphalt, which makes rides through this area safe. I always go for rides alone, because not need anyone to rise dust and I had never problems with dosimeter guys. They are on check points and if they will find radiation on you vehicle, they give a chemical shower and this eat ya bike.
 

hedgewizard1

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#2
Synchronicity!

I'm in the middle of Fred Phol's novel "Chernobyl" and I come across this post.
 
A

Anonymous

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#5
The photographs are really interesting. It's well worth taking 15 mins, or so, to go through the site.

Then imagine that everyone had to leave your city, village, farm - immediately.
 

Timble2

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#6
It looks like one of those 'after doomsday' scenarios that you sometimes see in SF films, where life has been eradicated, which I suppose in a way it has.

I wonder if they will just leave the exclusion zone to crumble and eventually be buried - a treasure trove for future archeologists or it they'll be an attempt to reclaim it someday.
 
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Anonymous

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#7
In theory radiation will stay in Chernobil area for the next 48.000 years, but in reality first people must start to populate those area already in some 300- 900 years. This is when the most dangerous elements will dissapear. If government will find money to finance our science, then, I suppose there will be someway discovered to neutralise or clean up this area sooner, otherwise we will have to wait this 900 years untill radiation will evaporate by itself.
 

Timble2

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#8
Thanks Alb, missed that bit.

So, unless someone finds way of decontaminating it could be the 29th century before resettlement begins. It'll be a very strange place by then.
 

hedgewizard1

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#9
Ummm....actually, people are sort of moving into the area now. Or so I've read. Maybe in a backissue of FT? If I can find the reference, I'll post it.
 
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Anonymous

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This old man lives in Chernobyl area, he is one of 3.500 people that either refused to leave or returned to their villages after 1986. I admire those people, each of them is a philosopher in own way. When you ask if they not afraid to die, they telling that at home they may die with radiation and in some other place they would definately die with home-sickness. They eat food from own gardens, drink milk of their caws and claim that they are healthy, but we can't get away from facts, only 400 of them left out of 3.500. It appears that stubborn people, those of fortitude- are first victims
 

hedgewizard1

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#12
Maybe I'm a cynic, but I can't consider someone who refuses to leave the area a victim. They are perfectly aware of the dangers and remain regardless of them. They may be called many things, but victim isn't on the list.


'And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.'
The Revelation of St.John the Divine

The Ukranian word for wormwood is chernobyl.
 

Kondoru

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#13
'And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.'
Sometimes used as a prophercy for Chenobyl, but it is obviously a natural event (Tunguska maybe?)

Note that the events in the Mhabbrata were man made....

Looking at this from a different angle, would a place called `wormwood` be regarded as inauspicious? In spite of Communism, the Russians were a fearfully superstious lot.
 

hedgewizard1

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#14
Actually, I see it as synchronicity or coincidence. Or, as Spider Robinson once pointed out, God is an iron.

If one who indluges in glutton is a glutton, and one who commits a felony is a felon, then one who commits irony must be...
 
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Anonymous

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<<<Then imagine that everyone had to leave your city, village, farm - immediately.>>>

Not quite - for some communities it took several days to get things organized with transportation and such. Just imagine the logistical nightmare they were facing. I'm sure local officials in any country would be as much inefficient when dealing with a first-in-history accident like this. But they did what they could, no question about it.

Who I've always felt very sorry for were young Russian soldiers - guys of 18 or 20 who were told to run into the blazing reactor zone, dump the filling material and run out as quickly as possible. After a little rest they had to rush in and out again - many times. Then they were replaced with fresh 'human material'. And then the next group, and the next one ... No one lived for too long after that.
 
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Anonymous

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#17
Why shouldn't you wear Russian underpants?
I once landed at Pulkovo - on a dreary evening - only to find that my luggage hadn't. And the airline staff had all gone home - so no free emergency pack. (That awful feeling you get when the luggage carrousel stops turning and yours isn't on it.)

My luggage arrived the next day - but someone else picked it up. They said. Typical of my luck. (And Mrs Alb wonders why I always consider the worst case scenario).

So one Monday morning, I went in search of underpants in Russia! Back then - there was a choice between incredibly expensive western brands - or semi - nylon print stuff, rather like what my Mum dressed me in when I was a child. And I had to try to explain what I was looking for. The shop assistants were all female.

Since then I have always included a couple of pairs in my hand luggage. Good underwear means a great deal to me. Especially abroad.

PS - Chernobyl is in Ukraine. But I'm sure that underpants would have been just as difficult there.
 
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Anonymous

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#18
alb,
Glad you didn't have to wear the famous "family underpants" - they always came in black and XL, worn by generations of Soviet men. :D
 

Min Bannister

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What a fascinating website. I'm kind of worried about the fact that the houses had no roofs left. Do you reckon they were deconned before being used to build other houses?:(
 
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Anonymous

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#20
Swedish newspaper DN ran a story of this homepage today, to be found here .
(Only in swedish, I'm afarid)

Basicly the article is a short re-telling of the homepage and the author's personal thoughts about it. He calls her pictures some of the most gripping images he's ever seen on the Internet.
 

Kondoru

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#21
Phooey! I would argue that!

(any one here ready for a trawl though the F Files??)

But it certainly was a fastinating site
 

ruffready

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#23
Chernobyl Trip Hoax

Chernobyl Trip Hoax
An article published today in the LA Times (requires registration) finds that the tale of the fearless 'Elena,' who claimed to ride through the desolate and radioactive zone of Chernobyl alone on her motorcycle (as depicted on her website kiddofspeed.com) is actually a fictionalized account.

'Elena' has been identified as a woman who took a tour organized by a Kiev travel agency, and her party traveled by car, "as closed motor vehicles are the rule in the zone, where radiation levels are thousands of times normal in places," the article informed.
 

Kondoru

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#24
I heard that too.

hoax or not, it certainly was convincing.

(I dont know enough about radiation to make any comment on the business of being in closed vehicles. perhaps it was a very quick tour in breathing equitment??)
 
A

Anonymous

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Re: Chernobyl Trip Hoax

ruffready said:
An article published today in the LA Times
I've not seen the LA Times article, but a rebuttal was published here:
http://news.aetheri.com/news.php?id=6
a couple of months ago.

I think describing it as a 'hoax' is a bit strong- it would seem that the photos are genuine, and she did visit the area- it's just been romanticised a bit with the descriptions of lone bike trips...
 
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#27
Life After Chernobyl: A Surprising Ecosystem Flourishes In No-Man's Land

Like the forests, fields, and swamps of this unexpectedly inviting habitat, both the people and animals are radioactive. Cesium-137 is packed in their muscles and strontium-90 in their bones. But, quite astonishingly, they are also thriving.
Chernobyl, Ukraine (SPX) Sep 28, 2005
When the Chernobyl nuclear reactor melted down in 1986, dozens of people died, more became ill with acute radiation sickness, and 135,000 people were evacuated. The blast spread more than 200 times the radioactivity than the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.
The prognosis for Chernobyl and its environs—succinctly dubbed the Zone of Alienation—was grim.

If fears of the Apocalypse and a lifeless, barren radioactive future have been constant companions of the nuclear age, almost twenty years later Chernobyl shows us a very different view of the future.

In Wormwood Forest: A Natural History of Chernobyl (October 2005, Joseph Henry Press), journalist Mary Mycio vividly describes an extraordinary—and at times unearthly—new ecosystem that is flourishing in this no-man's land, with radiation too intense for people to live there safely.

Ten years after the Chernobyl disaster, journalist Mary Mycio made her first trip to the Chernobyl region. Equipped with dosimeter [describe what this is used for] and protective gear, Mycio set out to explore the world's only radioactive wilderness environment and the defiant local residents who remained behind to survive and make their lives in the Zone."

She discovered a wilderness teeming with large animals, more than before the nuclear disaster and many of them members of rare and endangered species. Like the forests, fields, and swamps of this unexpectedly inviting habitat, both the people and animals are radioactive. Cesium-137 is packed in their muscles and strontium-90 in their bones. But, quite astonishingly, they are also thriving.

Chernobyl's flourishing new ecosystem is "one of the first examples of how, in the absence of human intervention, nature in the zone could recover its balance," writes Mycio—even in the face of radioactive "ghost towns and villages [that] stand in tragic testimony to the devastating effects of technology gone awry.

A vivid blend of reportage, popular science, and illuminating encounters that explode the myths of Chernobyl with facts that are at once beautiful and horrible, Wormwood Forest brings a remarkable land—and its people and animals—to life to tell a unique story of science, surprise, and suspense.

Mary Mycio is a pioneering American reporter who first visited the city of Kiev in 1989 to do a semi-clandestine interview about the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. She later became the Kiev correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and a contributor to a variety of newspapers around the world. With her background in journalism, a B.A. in biology, and a law degree from New York University, she was uniquely positioned to write the story of Chernobyl. She has accumulated reams of material about the disaster's environmental and health effects and filled numerous notebooks with details of her many journeys into the Zone of Alienation. She currently lives in Kiev where she is also director of the IREX ProMedia Legal Defense and Education Program for Ukrainian journalists.


http://www.terradaily.com/news/life-05zzzzzv.html
 
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#29
There was an interesting account of one person's experience of the morning after the reactor exploded, on BBC Radio4 this evening. Apparently, she woke up to find them washing down the streets of Pripyat, the local town (built specially to house Chernobyl's workers), with soapy water and with the refreshing smell of spring in the air, like in the mountains. It was the smell of air ionised through radiation, of course.
 
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