The Chernobyl Disaster – The Widespread Contamination Locally and Around Europe

One of the worst disasters to have ever happened in recent history is the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Not only did it have a devastating effect on human life, that has sent shockwaves through multiple countries and generations, but from an environmental point of view is also something that caused enormous amounts of damage to large areas of land, the nature of the poisoning and huge scale of it making it impossible for even remediation contractors like to be able to clear up!

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When the event occurred, the authorities in charge of the plant at the time as well as leaders of the country did everything to keep the catastrophe under wraps and well silenced. However, such was the scale of the damage caused those concerns were first raised hundreds of miles away in Scandinavia, where another nuclear power station picked up the high radiation levels on sensors there. In the following hours and days, the world started to question what was going on in the Ukraine and eventually the full scale of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant was revealed.

The winds that were blowing North at the time of the accident carried large clouds of highly radioactive dust over the border from Ukraine into Belarus – the second most impacted country and one that has suffered the effects, such as high rates of cancers in the population. From there the cloud travelled over Poland and towards Scandinavia where it was picked up and noticed. By this time, other countries were also starting to experience high radiation levels detected and were wondering what was going on.

Thankfully, and due to many brave people giving their lives in the quest, the fire was put out and the ruined reactor was then encased in a concrete tomb. This was recently updated amid concerns that the original which was understandably put up in a hurry was not up to the job. So the ruins of the plant standing now encased in thick concrete layers is one thing – but what of the surrounding area?

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The forest that surrounded the plant was named the red forest – as the huge levels of radiation hit it, the trees in the immediate vicinity died instantly and turned the burnt red colour that gave the forest its ghoulish name. The river running alongside the plant was also affected and worries were voiced that the pollution could easily be carried along through the river.

You would think that after a disaster of this magnitude, nothing would remain, and indeed the 30km area surrounding the plant is still an exclusion zone due to the dangerous radiation levels found there. However, life there has defied the odds, and with humans no longer around has flourished – sightings of wolves and the wild horses are just two of the animals who have not only reclaimed the land for themselves, but made a home there once again.

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