Thursday, April 26, marks the anniversary of one of the worst man-made disasters in history. This same day 32 years ago the world was shaken by a terrible tragedy – an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine.
Chernobyl tragedy is of particular significance for Belarus.
The worst nuclear catastrophe in human history happened 16 km from the Belarus–Ukraine border, near the once-busy city of Pripyat.
The explosion of the fourth unit of the nuclear power plant caused the release of radioactive gases, aerosols and dust into the atmosphere.
The radioactive cloud moved toward the western USSR and Europe.
Vast territories, mainly in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were contaminated by the fallout from the critical nuclear meltdown.
Around 66% of the territory of Belarus — more than 13 million hectares — were mostly contaminated with cesium-137.
Tons of highly radioactive material exposed people to radioactivity 90 times higher than that from the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
This radioactive contamination affected the lives hundreds of thousands of Belarusians, and its consequences are still present.
Strontium-90 fell out locally. The maximum levels of strontium-90 were detected within the 30-km zone of the Chernobyl NPP.
It reached 1800 kBq / m2 in the Khoiniki district of the Gomel region.
2% of the country’s area is polluted with transuranium elements (plutonium-238, 239, 240 (238, 239, 240Pu)) – with a density of more than 0.37 kBq / m2.
This mostly applies to Bragin, Narovlyansky, Khoiniki, Rechitsa, Dobrush and Loevsky districts, as well as Cherikivsky district of Mogilev region.
In 2086, 100 years after the accident at Chernobyl, the total soil activity of the contaminated areas in Belarus will be 2.4 times higher than in the immediate post-accident period.
The decrease in alpha activity of the soil from americium-241 to the level of 3.7 kBq / m2 is expected only in 2400.
Since 1989, the Belarusian opposition is holding a “Chernobyl Way” rally in Minsk, to mark the memory of victims of radiation disaster.
Last year Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko visited the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl.
In December 2003, the UN General Assembly declared April 26 International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.