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Tschernobyl-Tour


Price: 130$/person

Photos

Nearest tour dates:
10.07.2010; 11.07.2010; 17.07.2010; 24.07.2010; 31.07.2010

Booking:
+38 044 451 61 71
+38 067 463 46 03


Chernobyl . Dates and Prices

An ecological tour to Chernobyl

If you want to book Chernobyl Tour, please send a request by e-mail: [email protected] or
Call +38(044)451-61-71 +38(067)463-46-03 and we will contact you.

To lower the cost you can join others on Russian Group Tour (120$) to Chernobyl :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • August 07th, 14th, 21st, 28th

     

     


    To lower the cost of the English Group tour (130$, 160$) to Chernobyl you can join others on:
    Apr'10 - 8th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 30th
    May'10 - 01st, 02nd , 03rd, 05th, 08th, 09th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 29th, 30th
    Jun'10 - 03rd, 04th, 12th, 13th, 19th, 26th, 27th, 30th

    If you decide to go on the Chernobyl trip, please, send us the following information:

    • Full name as it appears in your passport
    • Passport number
    • Date of birth
    • Nationality
    • Preferred travel date
    • Contact phone number

    The cost of the Chernobyl Tour includes:

    • permition for entrance to the Chernobyl zone
    • meetings arrangement
    • transport services
    • guide services
    • lunch (for English groups)

    Important:

    No passport - No GO !!! Please, No sandals, No shorts, No Tank Tops.

    We suggest you bring some bottled water with you. Lunch will be served

    around 2:30 p.m. - we can arrange a vegetarian meal if you let us know in

    advance. No other meal preferences are available.

    Taking pictures and video is allowed almost everywhere (except check points, security devices and certain areas specified by your guide).

    Usually along with Chernobyl Tour people are interested in booking Missile Museum Tour

    Here you can see some of the photos from Chernobyl Tours

    Chernobyl and Pripyat Tour

    Tour to Chernobyl

    If you want to book Chernobyl Tour, please send a request by e-mail: [email protected] or
    Call or SMS to +38(044)451-61-71
    +38(067)463-46-03 and we will contact you
    Call or Chat to Skype: tour2kiev.com and we will contact you

    To lower the cost you can join others on Russian Group Tour (120$) to Chernobyl:
    Apr'2010 - 11th, 17th, 21th May'2010 - 15th, 22th, 29th
    June'2010 - 5th, 26th

    To lower the cost of the English Group tour (160$) to Chernobyl you can join others on:
    Apr'10 - 8th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 30th
    May'10 - 01st, 02nd , 03rd, 05th, 08th, 09th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 29th, 30th
    Jun'10 - 03rd, 04th, 12th, 13th, 19th, 26th, 27th, 30th

    Usually along with Chernobyl Tour people are interested in booking Missile Museum Tour

    If you decide to go on the Chernobyl trip, please, send us the following information:

    • Full name as it appears in your passport
    • Passport number
    • Date of birth
    • Nationality
    • Preferred travel date
    • Contact phone number

    Please, read our

    • FAQ Chernobyl Accident
    • FAQ Chernobyl Trip
    • Radiation safety rules
    • Schedule of the Chernobyl Tour

    Schedule of the Chernobyl Tour:

    9:00-11:00 Transfer to Chernobyl Zone.
    11:00-16:30

    • Meet with the guide at the Dityatki block post. Documents, transport and luggage control.
    • Instruction course of behavior in the Chernobyl Zone, how to use protection frame.
    • A photo-stop near the monument to the courageous firemen of Chernobyl – people who saved the world.
    • Visit to the office of the Chernobylinterinform State Agency. Up to date information about the liquidation of the Chernobyl catastrophic consequences in the 30 km . zone, the most contagious places, machines, cemeteries. Prognosis for the future.
    • Visit to 30 kilometers Chernobyl Zone through Leliv block post. You will be impressed by the tidy revetment on the edges of the road, studded with yellow signs. These ramparts are places of conservation of radio-active garbage and of remainders from entire villages.
    • Photo-stop near the 4th reactor of the station. You will be 100 m from the main closed object of the zone! You can greet the employees of the station.
    • A visit to the press centre (except weekends!) and a documentary film demonstrating the liquidation and liquidators of the man-caused catastrophe on the 4th reactor. Photo-gallery, model of the Station, little known first-hand information about the current condition of the sarcophagus.
    • You will be driven nearby to a "red forest", which was left for scientific research.
    • Extreme! A "ghost city" Prypyat. You will visit the flats, left in 1986 where private things still can be found: kitchen utensils, furniture, curtains, books, musical instruments, toys!! You will see the town that was left by its 50 thousand inhabitants within 24 hours. The spirit of Soviet darkness reigns here. You can make pictures of the National Emblem of the Soviet Union and of Soviet Ukraine, slogans ‘Peace, Labor and May”, red-yellow public call-box and other objects that are symbols of the 80's in the Soviet Union. Also you will visit the Central Park with big Ferris Wheel. They planned to open this big Ferris Wheel on 1 May 1986 (public holiday). This big Ferris Wheel has never seen its visitors. Pripyat is similar to a mummy. It has a body but it doesn't have a soul.
    • Ecologically clean dinner.
    • Visiting the town of Chernobyl : the Park of Glory , Second World War Memorial, the Board of Memory to liquidators, examples of machinery, which took part in liquidating the results of the Chernobyl accident.
    • Where possible, you may talk with people who live in the Exclusive Zone.
    • Radiation control on the Chernobyl block post.

    16:30-18:30 Return to Kiev .

    Important:

    No passport - No GO !!! Please, No sandals, No shorts, No Tank Tops.
    We suggest you bring some bottled water with you. Lunch will be served  around 2:30 p.m. - we can arrange a vegetarian meal if you let us know in advance. No other meal preferences are available.

    Taking pictures and video is allowed almost everywhere (except check points, security devices and certain areas specified by your guide).

    NOTE: ONLY ADULTS (People over 18 years old) ARE ALLOWED TO TAKE PART IN THE CHERNOBYL TRIP.

    The price includes: permition for entrance to the Chernobyl zone, meetings arrangement; transport services; guide services, lunch.

    Visit to Chernobyl

    On entering and leaving the 30-kilometer zone, the participant undergoes a radioactivity testing

    For the time of the tour, personal dosimeters are allowed.

    Individual Tour to Chernobyl

    If you want to book Individual Chernobyl Tour, please send a request via e-mail: [email protected]
    Call or SMS to +38(044)451-61-71
    +38(067)463-46-03 and we will contact you
    Call or Chat to Skype: tour2kiev.com and we will contact you

    To lower the cost of the Chernobyl Tour (from 85$) you can join others

    Cost for Individual Tour to Chernobyl in USD:
    1-2 pax - $550 (group)+$20/person/lunch
    3-6 pax - $725 (group)+$20/person/lunch
    7-17 pax - $1300 (group)+$20/person/lunch
    18-64 pax - $1566 - 3000(group)+$20/person/lunch

    The price includes:

    • entry permit to the Chernobyl zone
    • transport services
    • guide and interpreter services

    Important:

    • No passport - No GO !!! Please, No sandals, No shorts, No Tank Tops.
    • We suggest you bring some bottled water with you. Lunch will be served around 2:30 p.m. - we can arrange a vegetarian meal if you let us know in advance. No other meal preferences are available
    • Taking pictures and video IS permitted almost everywhere (except check points, security devices and certain areas specified by your guide)
    • For the time of the tour, personal dosimeters are allowed.

    Usually along with Chernobyl Tour people are interested in booking Missile Museum Tour
    Here you can see some of the photos from Chernobyl Tours.

     

    For Chernobyl Tour be ready to sign and follow the rules:

    • When visiting the exclusion zone all foreign and Ukrainian nationals shall be obliged to comply with the radiation safety rules and to follow strictly the approved program of the visit, as well as to move around only according to the prescribed routes.
    • Authorization to visit the exclusion zone may be provided to individuals over 18 who have no medical constraines for coming into contact with sources of ionizing radiation.
    • Personal radiation or dosimetry control is administered at the 'Dytyatki' dosimetry control checkpoint when leaving the exclusion zone, and also, additionally, en-route by the officer responsible for the escort of the delegation and support of the visit.
    • A passport is required to enter the exclusion zone at 'Dytyatki' police and dosimetry control checkpoint.

    During the visit to the exclusion zone it is totally prohibited to:

    Carry any kind of weapons;
    Drink liquors or take drugs;
    Have meal and smoke in the open air;
    Touch any structures or vegetation;
    Sit or place photo and video equipment on the ground;
    Take any items outside the zone;
    Violate the dress code (open-type shoes, shorts, trousers, skirts);
    Stay in the exclusion zone without the officer responsible for the envoy.

    • All instructions of the envoy officer, who is responsible for visitors' radiation and physical safety, shall be binding for visitors.
    • Photographing and filming on the designated route shall be subject to authorization of the envoy officer.
    • All who visit the exclusion zone must be aware that they will be subject to external and internal exposure as a result of radioactive contamination of the environment (air, soil, water objects, and also buildings, transportation facilities, equipment, etc.).

    Accordingly, I, participant of the delegation coming to the exclusion zone on the study tour agree that the State Department - Administration of the exclusion zone shall not be liable for possible further deterioration of my health as the result of the visit to the exclusion zone.

    If my private car, or photo, or video equipment get radioactively contaminated, I will lodge no claims against the State Department - Administration of the exclusion zone therefore.

    Agreed and accepted.

    Undertake to observe the above stated rules.

    Schedule of the Chernobyl Tour:

    9:00-11:30 Transfer to Chernobyl Zone.

    11:30-17:00

    • Meeting with the guide at the Dityatki block post
    • Documents, transport and luggage control
    • Instruction course of behavior in the Chernobyl Zone
    • A photo-stop near the monument to the courageous firemen of Chernobyl – people who saved the world.
    • Visit to the office of the Chernobylinterinform State Agency. Up to date information about the liquidation of the Chernobyl catastrophic consequences in the 30 km . zone, the most contagious places, machines, cemeteries. Prognosis for the future.
    • Visit to 30 kilometers Chernobyl Zone through Leliv block post. You will be impressed by the tidy revetment on the edges of the road, studded with yellow signs. These ramparts are places of conservation of radio-active garbage and of remainders from entire villages.
    • Photo-stop near the 4th reactor of the station. You will be 100 m . from the main closed object of the zone! You can greet the employees of the station.
    • A visit to the press centre (except weekends!) and a documentary film demonstrating the liquidation and liquidators of the man-caused catastrophe on the 4th reactor. Photo-gallery, model of the Station, little known first-hand information about the current condition of the sarcophagus.
    • You will be driven nearby to a "red forest", which was left for scientific research.
    • Extreme! A "ghost city" Prypyat. You will visit the flats, left in 1986 where private things still can be found: kitchen utensils, furniture, curtains, books, musical instruments, toys!! You will see the town that was left by its 50 thousand inhabitants within 24 hours. The spirit of Soviet darkness reigns here. You can make pictures of the National Emblem of the Soviet Union and of Soviet Ukraine, slogans ‘Peace, Labor and May”, red-yellow public call-box and other objects that are symbols of the 80's in the Soviet Union. Also you will visit the Central Park with big Ferris Wheel. They planned to open this big Ferris Wheel on 1 May 1986 (public holiday). This big Ferris Wheel has never seen its visitors. Pripyat is similar to a mummy. It has a body but it doesn't have a soul.
    • Ecologically clean dinner.
    • Visiting the town of Chernobyl: the Park of Glory, Second World War Memorial, the Board of Memory to liquidators, examples of machinery, which took part in liquidating the results of the Chernobyl accident.
    • Where possible, you may talk with people who live in the Exclusive Zone.
    • Radiation control on the Chernobyl block post.

    17:00-19:30 Return to Kiev.

    Detailed Chernobyl and Pripyat Tour Description

    After we pass the first check point (where passports and identities are checked) in "Dytyatky", some 20 km from Chernobyl, we enter Chernobyl itself.

    It's not allowed to take pictures of the check points as well as any security devices on the walls of the Nuclear Power Station, otherwise there are no restrictions regarding video or pictures..

    Bikes or other than official means of transportation are not allowed.

    After a short update in Chernobylinterinform agency (a part of the Ministry for Emergencies of Ukraine) we are on the road that leads to the Station.

    On our way we stop at the Monument to the Firemen who were killed by the radiation in 1986.

    Now we pass another check point - it's rather formal and fast. Soon we see the view of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

    The size of the Chernobyl Power Plant is impressive.

    At this time, the radiation meter will start buzzing faster at certain spots.
    The normal radiation level is about 5-25 micro roentgen per hour.
    Once we get closer to the power plant the number on the device is increased.
    When we pass Kopachi (the closest village to the plant, which was leveled with the earth as it was heavily polluted with radiation) the radiation reaches 65-80 micro roentgen per hour (m.r./h)..

    The tour is 100% safe. There is minimal exposure to radiation but in total you will not receive more than during a transatlantic flight. The dose you'll get is less than any X-ray and is completely harmless to your health.

    In 1986 there were four working reactors and two reactors were under construction (80% ready) - if those two reactors had been finished Chernobyl would have been the largest nuclear plant in Europe and probably in the world.

    Reactors #4 and #5 are surrounded by a number of cranes - and it's really hard to believe that everything stopped here almost 20 years ago.

    American scientists from the University of Texas monitored Chernobyl's wildlife for more than a decade and detected no decrease of animal birth rates or any signs of mutation from radiation. In fact after people left their homes wild animal populations increased rapidly here. People who work in Chernobyl presently can see wild boars on the streets even in daytime as well as Prezhivalski horses which were brought here from the Askania Nova sanctuary located in the South of Ukraine. The horses seem to love it here and they multiply fast but avoid people and ignore any attempts to be friendly. Wolves feel at home too - that's why they shoot them in the Chernobyl zone from time to time to keep their numbers under control.

    We're making a stop at the bridge over the cooling pond channel hoping to see a giant catfish. There are a few huge catfish in the pond - they show their heads once you start to throw bread in the water - but this doesn't happen every time - however you'll always see hundreds of other fish cruising around and fighting for bread. When we say a giant catfish we mean a fish up to two meters long.

    We don't think it's mutated - maybe just because it's been there for 20 years and it grew big since nobody fishes here…

    Our next stop is near the reactor #4.

    Almost everybody has seen pictures of this reactor which is why everybody admits it's the most spooky point of the tour. The reactor is covered with a sarcophagus that needs a major refurbishment as it has lots of cracks and isn't safe anymore.
    It was built by robots (machines operated by radio) in 1986 and has a 190 tons "stew" of boiling radioactive materials inside with a temperature of + 6,000 C .
    There are rumors that nothing is left inside...

    There is an approved $1.5 billion project to build a new "state of the art" shelter for reactor #4 - the new arch will be the biggest arch in the world.
    The plan is to start the construction in 2010.The Geiger meter shows anywhere from 600 to 1000 m .r./h - it's getting hot…

    The highest level of radiation you will experience during the tour is on the road near the "Red Forest".

    We slow down the car to see at least 2,000 m .r./h on the display and proceed to the dead town of Prypiat just a few kilometers away from the reactor.

    There is another check point with armed police in bullet proof jackets who somehow are very friendly as there are not so many visitors here as at the other check points. We're entering Prypiat - there is nobody in the town which was home to 48, 000 people 20 years ago.

    We stop on the central square of the town surrounded by a restaurant, the "Palace of Culture" (community hall) and a hotel.

    There are barely visible soviet slogans on the facades of the block of flats nearby.

    We give visitors time to explore the town on their own and enter any building or door they want- however soon we might limit this option as some of the buildings are getting really unsafe to walk in.

    Reactor # 4 blew up during the testing of a generator.

    Nearly nine tons of radioactive material - 90 times as much as the Hiroshima bomb - were hurled into the sky.

    The announced "temporarily evacuation" started next day. Thousands of families left their homes hoping to come back one day.

    Only a few of them knew that this would never happen.

    Six months after the explosion almost three thousand people out of more than 100,000 evacuated from this area came back to their homes despite official warning not to do so.

    Only a little over 300 live now in the 30 km exclusion zone - most of them elderly.

    The State provides them with a pension, electricity. maildelivery, transportation to the church in Chernobyl on holidays and a doctor visit once a week.

    Usually they are glad to see visitors.

    It is a good idea to bring fresh bread and some groceries when youvisit the "re-settlers" as a "shop on wheels" comes here but once a week.

    Now we are off to the office of "Chernobyl Interinform" where we're served an ecologically clean lunch.

    We're driving along what used to be the central street of Chernobyl - it's hard to see hundreds of buildings through the wall of trees - but every next intersection tells us that we're still in the city.

    Our next stop is near what was a shipyard on Ptypiat River - almost in the center of town.

    They say there is a chance that Chernobyl can be re-opened for people again - however we doubt that by that time there will be many people willing to start a new life on the ruins of what used to be a beautiful town on the bank of a blue water river.

    We leave Chernobyl and we're on our way to the village of Rossoha - IMPORTANT - Visit to Rossoha isn't included in an ordinary tour anymore and has to be pre-arranged when booking.

    We stop to see a small part of what people were forced to leave behind.

    Hundreds of fire trucks, military lorries and helicopters are left outside, ready to disappear in the woods during the next few years.

    There are security personnel hiding in the bush so we strongly recommend that you do not go too close to the fence or try to sneak in.

    Firstly it's prohibited and you may end up in the police department for a night; secondly some objects (e.g. a bulldozer) can have a radiation level 200 times higher than the road near the Red Forest.

    We return to the first check point to pass through radiation control, then we drive back to Kiev.

    Our tour is over.

    Important:

    No passport - No GO !!! Please, No sandals, No shorts, No Tank Tops.

    We suggest you bring some bottled water with you. Lunch will be served around 2:30 p.m. - we can arrange a vegetarian meal if you let us know in advance. No other meal preferences are available.

    Taking pictures and video is allowed almost everywhere (except check points, security devices and certain areas specified by your guide).

    Museum of Chernobyl

    The National Museum of Chernobyl, located in Kiev, commemorates the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power station located 75 kilometers north of the city.

    It contains over 7,000 declassified documents, maps and photos.

    The exhibits contain unique videos and interactive computer programs detailing the catastrophe and its consequences, showing Chernobyl before, during and after the disaster, as well as a current model of the power station.

    Tours to Chernobyl are available and a prior visit to the National Museum greatly enhances your visit to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

    FAQ Chernobyl Accident

    Frequently Asked Chernobyl Questions

    What caused the Chernobyl accident?

    On April 26, 1986, the Number Four RBMK reactor at the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, Ukraine, went out of control during a test at low-power, leading to an explosion and fire that demolished the reactor building and released large amounts of radiation into the atmosphere. Safety measures were ignored, the uranium fuel in the reactor overheated and melted through the protective barriers. RBMK reactors do not have what is known as a containment structure, a concrete and steel dome over the reactor itself designed to keep radiation inside the plant in the event of such an accident. Consequently, radioactive elements including plutonium, iodine, strontium and caesium were scattered over a wide area. In addition, the graphite blocks used as a moderating material in the RBMK caught fire at high temperature as air entered the reactor core, which contributed to emission of radioactive materials into the environment.

    How many people died as an immediate result of the accident?

    The initial explosion resulted in the death of two workers. Twenty-eight of the firemen and emergency clean-up workers died in the first three months after the explosion from Acute Radiation Sickness and one of cardiac arrest.

    How many people were evacuated?

    The entire town of Pripyat (population 49,360), which lay only three kilometres from the plant was completely evacuated 36 hours after the accident. During the subsequent weeks and months an additional 67,000 people were evacuated from their homes in contaminated areas and relocated on government order. In total some 200,0000 people are believed to have been relocated as a result of the accident.

    What are the major health effects for exposed populations?

    There have been at least 1800 documented cases of thyroid cancer children who were between 0 and 14 years of age when the accident occurred., which is far higher than normal. The thyroid gland of young children is particularly susceptible to the uptake of radioactive iodine, which can trigger cancers, treatable both by surgery and medication. Health studies of the registered cleanup workers called in (so-called “liquidators”) have failed to show any direct correlation between their radiation exposure and an increase in other forms of cancer or disease. The psychological affects of Chernobyl were and remain widespread and profound, and have resulted for instance in suicides, drinking problems and apathy.

    What radioactive elements were emitted into the environment?

    There were over 100 radioactive elements released into the atmosphere when Chernobyl's fourth reactor exploded. Most of these were short lived and decayed (reduced in radioactivity) very quickly. Iodine, strontium and caesium were the most dangerous of the elements released, and have half-lives of 8 days, 29 years, and 30 years respectively. The isotopes Strontium-90 and Caesium-137 are therefore still present in the area to this day. While iodine is linked to thyroid cancer, Strontium can lead to leukaemia. Caesium is the element that travelled the farthest and lasts the longest. This element affects the entire body and especially can harm the liver and spleen.

    How large an area was affected by the radioactive fallout?

    Some 150,000 square kilometres in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine are contaminated and stretch northward of the plant site as far as 500 kilometres . An area spanning 30 kilometres around the plant is considered the “exclusion zone” and is essentially uninhabited. Radioactive fallout scattered over much of the northern hemisphere via wind and storm patterns, but the amounts dispersed were in many instances insignificant.

    How was this area cleaned up after the Chernobyl accident?

    Emergency workers (liquidators) were drafted into the area and helped to clean up the plant premises and the surrounding area. These workers were mostly plant employees, Ukrainian fire-fighters plus many soldiers and miners from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and other parts of the former Soviet Union. The exact number of liquidators is unknown because there are no completely accurate records of the people involved in the clean-up. The Russian registries list approximately 400,000 liquidators as of 1991 and approximately 600,000 people were granted the status of “liquidator”. These 600,000 individuals received special benefits because of their involvement, on- and off-site, in tackling the accident's aftermath.

    The duties of the liquidators varied. They worked on decontamination and major construction projects, including the establishment of settlements and towns for plant workers and evacuees. They also built waste repositories, dams, water filtration systems and the “sarcophagus”, which entombs the entire fourth reactor to contain the remaining radioactive material.

    Was the rest of Europe/the world affected?

    Scandinavian countries and other parts of the world were affected by the radioactive releases from Chernobyl. Caesium and other radioactive isotopes were blown by wind northward into Sweden and Finland and over other parts of the northern hemisphere to some extent. During the first three weeks after the accident, the level of radiation in the atmosphere in several places around the globe was above normal; but these levels quickly receded. No studies have been able to point to a direct link between Chernobyl and increased cancer risks or other health problems outside the immediately affected republics of Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation.

    What happened to the environment and animals after the accident?

    Mutations did occur in plants and animals after the plant explosion. Leaves changed shape and some animals were born with physical deformities. Despite the increased radiation levels, rare species are now returning in large numbers to the area. These animals include beavers, moose, wolves and wild boar, plus species of birds.

    What was done to ensure the safety of other RBMK reactors, so that this scenario will not present itself again?

    Lessons learned from the accident were a significant driving force behind a decade of IAEA assistance to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Much of this work focused on identifying the weaknesses in and improving the design safety of VVR and RBMK reactors. Upgrading was performed on all RBMK units to eliminate the design deficiencies which contributed to the Chernobyl accident, to improve shutdown mechanisms and heighten general safety awareness among staff. Just as important as the design safety work has been the focus on operational safety and on systems of regulatory oversight.

    How does Chernobyl's effect measure up to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

    The accident at Chernobyl was approximately 400 times more potent than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. However, the atomic bomb testing conducted by several countries around the world during the 1960s and 1970s contributed 100 to 1,000 times more radioactive material to the environment than Chernobyl.

    How do the inhabitants live now?

    There are 187 small communities in the exclusion zone that remain virtually abandoned to this day. A few inhabitants chose to return to their homes in the exclusion zone, but children are not allowed to live in this area. The evacuated population lives mainly in newly constructed towns such as Slavutich in areas with very little or no contamination.

    What will happen to the plant now that it is closed?

    On December 15, 2000, the last reactor in operation at the Chernobyl site was shut down and the phase of decommissioning began. This involves the removal and disposal of fuel and wastes, decontamination of the plant and the area surrounding it, including any soil and water that may be radioactive. There are three retired reactors to be decommissioned on site, a project expected to take several decades. The project will be conducted under the supervision of the Ukrainian government. The IAEA will assist by providing planning, engineering and administrative advice. The fate of the fourth reactor where the tragic accident occurred in 1986 is as yet undetermined.

    What is the state of the protective shelter built around the fourth reactor?

    Under extremely hazardous conditions, thousands of "Liquidators" worked to contain the remains of the fourth reactor. The shelter surrounding the reactor was completed less than six months after the explosion during peak radioactivity levels. The massive concrete and steel "Sarcophagus", quickly constructed using "arms length" methods, has deteriorated over the years, creating a potentially hazardous situation. Several repairs were made to the current shelter, including the stabilisation of the ventilation stack and reinforcement of the roof. In addition, a plan for the construction of a more secure and permanent structure to be built around the existing Sarcophagus was drafted; work has already begun on the infrastructure of this new shelter. The plan, called the Shelter Implementation Plan, is a project of the Chernobyl Shelter Fund. Both efforts, whose combined expected expenditures over the next eight or nine years exceed $765 million, are administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

    Myth' of Chernobyl suffering exposedRelocation and hand-outs have caused more illness than radiation, a new UN study concludes.

    Anthony Browne The Observer

    It is seen as the worst man-made disaster in history, killing tens of thousands, making tens of millions ill, and afflicting generations to come. Exhibitions of photographs of the deformed victims have toured the world, raising funds and awareness.

    Now a report from the United Nations on the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster 15 years after the event comes to a very different conclusion. It says the medical effects of radiation are far less than was thought. The biggest damage to health has instead come from hypochondria and well-meaning but misguided attempts to help people.

    The report suggests the reloca tion of hundreds of thousands of people 'destroyed communities, broke up families, and led to unemployment, depression, and stress-related illnesses'. Generous welfare benefits, holidays, food and medical help given to anyone declared a victim of Chernobyl have created a dependency culture, and created a sense of fatalism in millions of people.

    The Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident, published by the UN Development Programme and Unicef, is a challenge to those who seek to highlight the dangers of nuclear energy.

    More than 100 emergency workers on the site of the accident on 26 April 1986 suffered radiation sickness, and 41 of them died. The biggest direct consequences of the radiation are increases in childhood thyroid cancer, normally a very rare disease, that increased 60-fold in Belarus, 40-fold in Ukraine, and 20-fold in Russia, totalling 1,800 cases in all.

    The report says other evidence of increases in radiation-related diseases is very limited. 'Intensive efforts to identify an excess of leukaemia in the evacuated and controlled zone populations and recovery workers were made without success. There remains no internationally accredited evidence of an excess of leukaemia.' There is also no evidence of an increase in other cancers, and there has been no statistical increase in deformities in babies. The only deformities related to radiation were among babies of pregnant women working on the site at the time of the explosion.

    The UN believes most of the deformed babies photographed by Western charities to raise funds have nothing to do with Chernobyl, but are the normal deformities that occur at a low level in every population. 'The direct effect of radiation is not that substantial,' said Oksana Garnets, head of the UN Chernobyl programme. 'There is definitely far more psychosomatic illness than that caused by radiation.'

    The evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, particularly from less contaminated areas, is seen as an over-reaction, which in some cases did more harm than good. 'The first reaction was to move people out. Only later did we think that perhaps some of them shouldn't have been moved. It has become clear that the direct influence of radiation on health is actually much less that the indirect consequences on health of relocating hundreds of thousands of people,' Garnets said.

    Among relocated populations, there has been a massive increase in stress-related illnesses, such as heart disease and obesity, unrelated to radiation.

    The UN is concerned about the corrosive effects of handouts to those classified as Chernobyl victims. In Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, they get more than 50 different privileges and benefits, including monthly payments and free school meals, medical treatment and holidays. In Ukraine, 'victims' get up to $100 a month.

    In Ukraine, 92,000 people have been officially designated as permanently disabled, and half of the population says their health has been affected.

    'There is an incentive to get classified as a victim. People getting benefits think they should get more and more. They think everything should be done for them by someone else - it creates a huge sense of fatalism and pessimism, which means they don't get on with their life,' Garnets said.

    In the largely deserted village of Chernobyl, 18km from the reactor and deep inside the government's total exclusion zone, the UN's report was welcomed among the 600 people who have illegally returned to their old homes.

    Nina Melnik, 47, who edits a local newsletter, said: 'I don't just know that relocating people killed more than the radiation did, it is scientifically proven. It was totally the wrong thing to do. They should open up the area and let everyone come back.'

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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