Chernobyl 1986

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Chernobyl, April 26, 1968

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Mushroom-picking and fishing:
Life in Chernobyl zone

- March 28 2011 12:05

Ganna Konstantynova (77) lives just 18km from the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, but happily goes mushroom-picking and grows vegetables in her back garden.

She is among hundreds of mainly elderly Ukrainians who live within the restricted region around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, eking out a surprisingly bucolic existence and dispelling the area's reputation as a dead zone.

"I live very well in Chernobyl," the orange-headscarved septuagenarian said.

"The air here is good, the river is nearby, everything is as it should be.
The grass smells good and in summer everything is in bloom."

Her comments come as a surprise to visitors who have to sign promises on entering the restricted area -- which fans out in a 30km radius around the plant -- not to touch greenery or facilities or smoke or eat in the open air.

With a month to go before the 25th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear disaster, attention has been thrown back on Chernobyl amid the risks from the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant.

'Eat everything and fear nothing'
Ganna is one of just 270 elderly Ukrainians who live within the exclusion zone in a defiance of an official ban on living in the contaminated area -- a ban the authorities have long stopped bothering to enforce.

She and her fellow doughty folk may live on the fringes of atomic catastrophe but pride themselves on their relatively normal lives, and the concerns over a nuclear fallout in quake-hit Japan will not change her mind.

When reactor number four of the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded on April 26 1986, strewing lethal radiation over a wide area, the Soviet authorities evacuated Ganna and all 130 000 people living within the 30km radius.

But this did not stop her coming back to her little green wooden house within just a month and never leaving since.

"The grass smells good, everything is in bloom over the summer. We eat everything that comes from the forest, berries, mushrooms," said Ganna.

"I do not feel the radiation. I grow tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes. I eat everything and fear nothing."

"Many people who were evacuated died. But I am still alive!"

Normal levels of radiation

The town of Chernobyl is gearing up for the approaching anniversary of the disaster with workers sprucing up buildings, setting up a park and creating a museum that will open in time for the event.

Not everyone in the zone are robust pensioners. About 7 500 Ukrainians work in the area on a shift basis and their salaries are believed to be roughly twice the Kiev average.

Of these, about 3 500 people are employed at the plant and the others are firemen, foresters, scientists and builders working on different projects in the zone.

Oleg (30) has worked for a state company at Chernobyl for five years, but on a special regime of 15 days working inside and then 15 days at home outside the restricted zone.

"The only security precaution is we do not go walking where we should not. But sometimes we do that as well. We eat everything, including fish and sometimes mushrooms."

Sharing the secrets needed for living in the zone he said that it is best "to go fishing in running water and not in still pools".

He does not carry a Geiger counter, saying he knows he is not receiving more than the authorised norm of radiation.

"Every year we undergo a test to determine the levels of radiation inside the body. If you have eaten too much fish or mushrooms you might go over the limit.

"Once I was too high. The doctors told me to come back in a few months. And the levels went back to normal."

Dying village
Vira, another young employee in the zone, works the same routine but takes greater care than her male colleague, refusing to eat food grown locally and only eating what is brought in from outside.

But even she is more relaxed than before and it remains to be seen if her caution will last once she has spent years working in the zone.

"When I came to Chernobyl, I had so many prejudices. I did not walk on the grass, I did not touch any vegetation."

"But then I learned that the level of radiation at Chernobyl does not exceed the norm and staying here, even for a prolonged period, does not represent a danger," she said.

For pensioner couple Maria (73) and Ivan (75) who live in the village of Parychiv, also in the exclusion zone, the lack of information over Japanese nuclear risk has brought back memories of the 1986 disaster.

"We were told nothing. That day, we planted apples at the collective farm. Then the authorities said that people would only be evacuated for three days an no one thought it was serious."

Despite the trauma of April 1986, they returned home two years later and today enjoy mushroom-picking in the forest and even make wine with local fruits, a glass of which they offer guests.

But the village of Parychiv is literally dying. Houses have been abandoned and roofs are collapsing, but a World War II memorial still stands in the centre.

Before the catastrophe 400 people lived in the village, now there are just nine.

-- Sapa-AFP

source : mg.co.za



Chernobyl: A Million Casualties
(text in Japanese)
source : www.universalsubtitles.org


The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine). It is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and it is the only one classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

The disaster began during a systems test on 26 April 1986 at reactor number four of the Chernobyl plant, which is near the town of Pripyat. There was a sudden power output surge, and when an emergency shutdown was attempted, a more extreme spike in power output occurred, which led to a reactor vessel rupture and a series of explosions.

source : en.wikipedia.org

. . . . .

Katastrophe von Tschernobyl

Reaktor Nr. 4 in Tschernobyl im September 2006
Lage des Kraftwerks in der Nähe der Stadt Prypjat
Satellitenbild der Region aus dem Jahr 1997Die Katastrophe von Tschernobyl ereignete sich am 26. April 1986 in Block 4 des Kernkraftwerks Tschernobyl nahe der ukrainischen Stadt Prypjat und gilt als bislang schwerste nukleare Havarie. Auf der INES-Skala wurde sie als bisher einziges Ereignis mit dem Höchstwert 7 (katastrophaler Unfall) eingestuft.

source : de.wikipedia.org


Reaktorunfall Tschernobyl Daten und Fakten
Auswirkungen auf die Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Akute Strahlenkrankheit bei Liquidatoren

source : www.gapinfo.de/gesundheitsamt



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Remembering Chernobyl 25 years on

A memorial was held in Ukraine on Tuesday to mark 25 years since the Chernobyl disaster.

Former workers and families of those who died in the world's worst nuclear accident gathered at a monument near the plant that honors the cleanup workers.

Fire engine sirens went off at 0:23 AM, the time of the explosion, and participants with candles in hand mourned the victims.

A reactor at the nuclear plant in the former Soviet republic exploded during an experimental operation on April 26, 1986.

The blast released massive amounts of radioactive materials and forced more than 130,000 residents within a 30-kilometer radius to evacuate.

About 30 plant workers and firefighters were killed in the accident. Reports say an increasing number of children in the area and cleanup workers have been suffering from health problems and dying of cancer or leukemia.

At a church in the capital Kiev, prayers were offered for the victims.

A memorial ceremony will take place later on Tuesday at the Chernobyl station. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will also attend.

They are expected to pray for an early end to the crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
source : www3.nhk.or.jp


Tschernobyl - Bayern 20 Jahre danach

Abriss zu den Auswirkungen auf Bayern für alle Umweltbereiche, basierend auf 130.000 Einzeluntersuchungen
Spezialbericht zum Umweltbereich Boden (Bodenschutzbericht 2006) -
Eine Bestandsaufnahme der seitdem in Bayern durchgefürten Untersuchungen:
source : www.lfu.bayern.de


haibun by my friend Origa (Olga Hooper)

This is a city where you can drive any time at any speed without fear of the police stopping you, or fear of hitting someone... The roads are empty, and so are all buildings, offices, shops, schools... Nature is flourishing there, and many beautiful parks, lakes, and groves are in and around the city ...

April 27, 1986. On that day, life stopped in this city. It was a nice spring day. All inhabitants were put on military trucks, and taken away without their belongings, money, pets, toys... even without their papers. Everything was left behind, all their past lives were left behind.

A day before, Chernobyl nuclear reactor had exploded.

ghost city ...
wind sings a lullaby
to a crippled doll

(published in HERMITAGE, 2005)

source : www.facebook.com
Origa Kankodori Press


March 31, Thursday

April 26, Tuesday


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  1. Anonymous4/26/2011

    Thank you, Gabi san.

    My Ukranian friend, a beautiful person, father of a little boy, and a talented master of handmade paper, Sergei Alexeenko, died in Kiev in 2009 from leukemia at the age of 33... He was a schoolboy in Kiev in 1986. On May First, all highschool students (as all the workers, etc.) were forced (as always in Soviet Union) to go on Kiev streets under the falling radiation, to organized street demonstrations: it was International Workers' Day, or "The Celebration of the International Solidarity of the Working Class" as it was called in Soviet Union. The official propaganda was totally false about Chernobyl trying to diminish the danger of radiation, and lying to the people -- one of so many horrible crimes the socialist state has been committing, from the days it was founded by Lenin in 1917, to present days...

  2. Anonymous4/26/2011

    Hi Gabi,
    I just want you to know that you and Japan remain in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers.

  3. Anonymous4/26/2011

    I don't know how everyone holds up under such relentless and powerful pressure.