Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Life 25 Years After People

A few senior missionary couples trvelled to Chernoble, a former city north of Kyiv about 80 miles. Chernoble is where the nuclear power plant blew up in 1986 and created a lot of rediation contamination throughout Eastern Europe. Belarus was the hardest hit and many peo died due to the readiation exposure. The prevailing winds were westerly after the explosion, and then northward. So even thought Kyiv is only 80 miles away, most of the effects left Kyiv untouched, except that the Dnipro reiver runs through Chrnoble and then down to Kyiv. Needless to say, people are still afraid to swim or eat any fish that come from the river. All missionaries are precluded from eating any local fish, and of course they do not go swimming. After 25 years, people are starting to go back to Chernoble. We took a tour that started out in Chrnoble, and then to the reactor site. There was a city of about 50,000. Over three days after the accident, they were all evacuated with the intent that they could go back within less than a week. Well, that week lasted until today.

N0 one was allowed to return to get any of thier belongings once the magnitude of the accident was understood. So this city remains a ghost town. We drove through the city and took a fer pictures of what nature has done to a city in which man left 25 years ago. There was vegitation growing up everywhere, and animals have come back to run freely and without any interferrence. They built an amusement park that was scheduled to open three days after the accident occurred. Lots of fun palythings that never were used.

This photo shows the group as we were leaving Chrnoble. The world got together to fund a big tomb for the demolished nuclear plant. There were 4 in operation, and two more under construction. All work ceased but they never shut down the last reactor until the year 2000. Most thought that working in the other plants was not too hazzardous, so they continued to produce electricitiy. They are in a three year project to encapsulate the troubled site. With all the nations and organizations involved in deciding what to do, it has taken many years to finally put a plan together. And the plan is to just encapsulate the trouble spot until someone can find a better solution. Quite an interesting mess. The reactor was a Soviet design, built in Ukraine, and operatied by a team from several former Soviet countries. I asked if Belarus was cooperating with them since the reactor is less than 5 miles from thier border and they took most of the damage from the accident. The response was that there was no cooperation nor dialogue with Belarus. Too bad.

An interesgting experience to see the effects of nuclear radiation. But many lessons were learned so that it will hopefully not ever happen again. There are no more reactors of this type in operation. The have all been closed down.

Tom and Shauna

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