Site of Chernobyl nuclear accident is now a wildlife REFUGE 33 years after disaster

Mail Online | 4/26/1986 | German Orizaola For The Conversation
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Reactor number four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered an explosion during a technical test on April 26, 1986.

As a result of the accident, in the then Soviet Union, more than 400 times more radiation was emitted than that released by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (Japan) in 1945. It remains the largest nuclear accident in history.

Decontamination - Work - Accident - Exclusion - Zone

Decontamination work began immediately after the accident. An exclusion zone was created around the plant, and more than 350,000 people were evacuated from the area.

They never returned. And severe restrictions on permanent human settlement are still in place today.

Accident - Impact - Population - Figures - Loss

The accident had a major impact on the human population. Although there are not clear figures, the physical loss of human lives and physiological consequences were huge.

Estimates of the number of human fatalities vary wildly. The initial impact on the environment was also important.

Areas - Radiation - Forest - Plant - 'Red

One of the areas more heavily affected by the radiation was the pine forest near the plant, known since then as the 'Red Forest'.

This area received the highest doses of radiation, the pine trees died instantly and all the leaves turned red. Few animals survived the highest radiation levels.

Accident - Area - Desert - Life

Therefore, after the accident it was assumed that the area would become a desert for life.

Considering the long time that some radioactive compounds take to decompose and disappear from the environment, the forecast was that the area would remain devoid of wildlife for centuries.

Today - Years - Accident - Chernobyl - Exclusion

But today, 33 years after the accident, the Chernobyl exclusion zone, which covers an area now in Ukraine and Belarus, is inhabited by brown bears, bisons, wolves, lynxes, Przewalski horses, and more than 200 bird species, among other animals.

In March 2019, most of the main research groups working with Chernobyl wildlife met in Portsmouth, England.

Researchers - United - Kingdom - Ireland - France

About 30 researchers from the United Kingdom, Ireland, France,...
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