Chernoby statistics

Mon 18 Apr 2011 16:39
These are some of the statistics we learnt about yesterday
500,000 people were involved with the response to the accident. These consisted of soldiers, airmen, miners, nurses and doctors etc
The official death toll was 4000. In fact, the best unofficial estimate is at least 10 times this number
The cost of the operation was estimated at the time to be in the region of $70 billion. This effectively bankrupted the USSR and was a major reason for the onset of perestroika and the ending of the cold war
After the initial explosion the local authorities denied that there was any problem. It was only after the Swedes recorded high radiation levels above Stockholm that the true scale of the problem became public. Indeed it was the Swedish Authorities that first reported the scale of the disaster to the Kremlin, not the Ukrainians.
The Russian population were not told the truth until Gorbachev went on TV some 6 weeks after the event
After a few days and the situation getting worse, rather than better, they drafted in their top nuclear scientists, diverting them away from the ballistic missile and defence programmes on which they were working. The top guy committed suicide two years later.
Initially, they used robots to clear away the debris from the roof of the plant. These very quickly failed as the electronics couldnât operate in those levels of radioactivity. They then used  reservist soldiers nicknamedâhuboticsâ wearing home made lead suits weighing 40kg to go onto the roof to shovel the stuff off. These guys worked like human ants often only being able to stay on the roof for 40 seconds before having to be replaced by the next guy in line.
The only machinery they had to move anything or lift anything that afforded any protection was military. So, tanks and APCâs and trucks were modified as this was all they could get their hands on. 
The need for highly skilled helicopter pilots to drop in lead ingots meant that Soviet forces in Afghanistan were denied helicopter cover and hastened the Soviet withdrawal.
Miners from coal mining regions were used to dig a tunnel under the site which was eventually filled with concrete. This stopped the reactor melting the sand upon which it was originally built and prevented the reactor hitting the under water aquifer which flowed under the site. Had this happened there would have been a second explosion big enough to make most of Europe uninhabitable. Had that explosion occurred it would have had the power of 10 times that of the combined Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs!
These miners saved Europe. They were rewarded $100 each and given a medal. Most have since died.
Within the 30k exclusion zone they killed all the wildlife and all domestic animals. However, the fish farm that was on the site using the warm waters from the reactors was allowed to continue. Indeed fish were being farmed up to about 1997. Apparently, you were in no danger provided you didnât eat the bones!
The evacuation of Pripyat was the most efficient mass evacuation ever carried out. The 50,000 inhabitants were told at 08.00 that they had to leave at mid day. The were assured that it was only a temporary measure of 2 or 3 days. They were allowed to carry nothing with them. A fleet of buses carried the people to destinations throughout the USSR. People who had been away from the town at the time of the evacuation were told nothing until they returned to the Pripyat train station. There they were met and immediately transported to where their families had been taken
The original sarcophagus was designed to last 30 years. Itâs now 25 years and looks incredibly unsafe. Thereâs a German firm with a huge concrete plant on site working to create a new cover designed by Bechtel. EDF are also on site but we werenât told what there role is.
The stuff laying around Pripyat is amazing. Itâs like nothing has been touched, glass, paper, furniture, books, posters, pianos all as it was left. Apparently, nobody pinches the stuff because itâs all still âhotâ and would show on the Geiger counters as you leave. Itâs also a shrine and I think most people respect that.
This place is not a museum, itâs better. It was a very moving experience that would be lost if it was sanitised in any way.
Great site to visit www {DOT} info {CHANGE TO AT} tour2chernobyl {DOT} com. They also run a day where you can shoot an AK47 and âlots of other weapons and activities.â The mind boggles.