Everyone has his own Chernobyl, and everyone has his own memory about it. April 26, 1986, unprecedented blooming of green leaves on the streets of Kiev. The white and pink candles of chestnuts were striking in their beauty. Everything abounded, as if for the last time. Perhaps this will look like an apocalypse on earth, when nature last appears in its pristine beauty. And then, either oblivion, or eternal darkness will be.
The tenth grader in 1986 of one of the Kiev schools recalls:
“… April and May days of 1986 flashed like in a kaleidoscope. I have a graduation class, the unknown is ahead of me. Frightened Kiev residents take out children somewhere – who could anywhere, who could get tickets somewhere. The train station is as crowded as can be. We, tenth graders, are not going anywhere.
The teachers are all completely bewildered, waiting for “instructions” from the authorities: maybe at least a few final exams can be canceled, but no instructions are received. Parents daily storm the confused school administration. They say, what should we do? We are no longer in the first class to go away from Kiev. Rumors overwhelm the city, they seem to be walking along school corridors. They say that you need to “take something from radiation”, but no one knows what exactly, hence the panic. Someone begins to take iodine drugs uncontrollably, but complete lack of control only harms health. As a result, not a single exam in the final class has been canceled.
At the graduating from school line, tenth graders read poems under the scorching radiation sun and say goodbye to the school. The bouquets of peonies are bright in our hands, and our eyes glow with red tulips in the schoolyard – nature is blooming in its tragic beauty.
Uninformed, stunned adults and children understand only one thing — Chernobyl divided their life in half. We really wanted to know the truth, but the darkness of mystery reigned in society. Years passed, and only now, we have learned at least a piece of that secret truth.
It is quite obvious today that, if one wanted, one could save us, the tenth graders, from unnecessary stay in the radiation capital. They say that timid voices on this occasion were also heard then, but they were drowned out by the urgent “default requirement” to hide the truth about the Chernobyl disaster. The total information blockade around the disaster lasted almost a year. Then, nevertheless, something began to appear in the press, but it was extremely metered and as linear as possible. There were almost nothing about the real causes of the accident, but about the labor feat of the Soviet liquidator enough to imagine a meager picture of what the firefighters had to face.
Today, the documents and materials that have become available reveal many secrets which the Soviet leadership carefully concealed. In particular, there is a lot of evidence among the archival documents that the central branch departments made decisions very late. Given that the half-life of iodine-131 is only eight days, it becomes obvious that timely iodine prophylaxis could help many victims. However, this did not happen. Only on May 9, 1986, Kiev received information about the existence of a temporary instruction for “immediate” prevention of damage by radioactive iodine. This is two weeks after the disaster … “
Chernobyl is not a landfill site
It is not known how everything would happen in the future, if not for the activity of Western countries. They were not going to be silent and persistently demanded answers and comments from the Soviet leadership regarding the real picture of what happened around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The world community recognized the need for its participation in resolving global problems that arose after the Chernobyl accident.
Mankind realized that the planet is too small and defenseless, and the disaster that occurred on Chernobyl land is not a local event. It seemed that a world that did not stand aside from a planetary catastrophe should have learned Chernobyl lessons. But has it really happened, have these lessons been learned with a taste of strontium?
According to some experts, alas, no. Today, it is impossible to say with confidence that humanity has learned the lessons of Chernobyl and therefore the world should look for alternative forms of energy. Modern experts believe that the future is not only for the very limited use of nuclear energy, but even this limited use is possible only within the framework of a maximized security system.
A safe future for humanity lies in energy saving and energy efficiency, at least for our long-suffering Ukraine.
Undoubtedly, mankind should reduce energy consumption in the future and switch to alternative sources such as wind and sun. Now, only 0.6% are alternative energy sources in Ukraine, while Germany has set the goal of reaching 30% over the next 5-10 years.
Is a similar option possible for Ukraine in the near future? Probably, things would have been more fun if state thinking were the basis of all decisions taken. However, we observe completely opposite things. Some politicians make “sensational” statements, proposing to turn the Chernobyl zone into a “reserve landfill for the whole country.” Indeed, why should we care about the development of alternative energy and attract investors for the construction of a solar power station? Let Chernobyl become a planetary landfill. And the desecration of Ukrainian land will continue in the future. These are the Chernobyl lessons that are already being demonstrated.
Poisoned Earth – Poisoned Human Souls
It seemed that Chernobyl made the world community reflect on the risks of nuclear energy. However, the accident at the Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima only confirmed the bitter truth: humanity does not want to learn from mistakes.
It would seem that conscientious and punctual Japanese should have provided all security measures. However, Japan did not take into account the possible risks of natural disasters, such as an earthquake and tsunami, at its nuclear power plant.
Western experts note that the nuclear industry did not draw the proper conclusions after the Chernobyl tragedy. This opinion is expressed, in particular, by Yuli Borisovich Andreev, who, after the Chernobyl accident, headed the work on decontamination of radiation pollution of the station.
Andreev is living in Austria now, where he teaches nuclear safety and advises the Austrian Ministry of Environmental Protection. The cause of the tragedy in Japan is called by Yuli Andreev to be “the greed of energy companies and the sloppiness of regulatory authorities.” According to the expert, after the Chernobyl accident, the atomic lobby made great efforts to prevent the “peaceful atom” from dissolving into the darkness of nonexistence.
In particular, numerous studies were funded, the purpose of which was to reduce the consequences of the tragedy. Everything was done to ensure that as little information as possible was focused on the risks of nuclear energy.
Moreover, as often happens, there was nothing new in the chosen tactics, because a movement against nuclear power plants was actively deployed immediately after the Chernobyl explosion in the West. Declassified archives indicate that the Chekists in their reports paid much attention to the coverage of the consequences of the disaster by foreign media.
They realized that not only ideological allies, but also “damned capitalists” could be used to disseminate the necessary information, for whom the truth about the accident was also not needed. As it always happens in such cases, financial interests were in the first place.
On April 24, 1986, there was a crew of the American CBS television company in the 30-kilometer zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, composed of the head of the Moscow bureau E. White, cameraman R. Joseph, sound engineer R. Kolen.
“The indicated persons interviewed the director of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, filmed the Shelter object, got acquainted with the work of the units of the USSR Ministry of Defense to decontaminate the Chernobyl nuclear power plant,” the KGB said in a statement.
It was reported that the film crew is interested in covering the Chernobyl accident liquidation in a light favorable to the Soviet authorities “due to the intention of the owners of nuclear plants in the West to prove the safety of their further use.”
The KGB stated a few months after the start of the organized trips of foreign journalists to the Chernobyl zone that most of the materials in foreign media were “objective and friendly.” Why did such a transformation happen? The KGB explained this in their documents:
“…. the new quality of information in the Western press is explained by the interest of the Western monopolies, due to the fact that materials about the events at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant caused a mass movement among the population of their countries with demands to ban the construction of nuclear energy facilities.”
So, nothing has changed on planet Earth, except that the methods are becoming more sophisticated. Nevertheless, the largest nuclear accident in the world has given mankind the opportunity to learn the lessons, and the main one is this: we shouldn’t neglect of nuclear danger in any case.
According to experts from the environmental organization Greenpeace, nuclear energy has never been and will not be safe, no matter how the operators of a nuclear plant reassure. In general, experts believe that the right conclusion after the Chernobyl tragedy would be the refusal to build new nuclear reactors.
However, instead of the gradual decommissioning of the reactors, it came down to partial measures – only a few technological processes were improved.
Greenpeace‘s experts note that the security measures introduced concerned only the possibilities to avoid potential operational errors. However, natural disasters, possible terrorist attacks, present unforeseen risks to which nuclear reactors remain vulnerable.
The accident at the Japanese Fukushima station confirmed these forecasts. In general, Greenpeace experts are convinced that today, the threats from the operation of nuclear power plants are by no means lower than 33 years ago. And therefore, it is not necessary to say that the consequences of the Chernobyl accident became a warning to mankind.
We gradually forget about Chernobyl. Politicians hold parliamentary hearings on the topic “30 years after Chernobyl: lessons and prospects.” And there are again, lessons, and again perspectives, general blurry phrases and no concrete plans for the future.
However, the Chernobyl pain is not healing. It stays with everyone who survived this planetary catastrophe. And what are the conclusions: cutting down forests, barbarously destroying by the “amber diggers” of Polesie, ugly garbage mountains all over Ukraine. How to break this eternal circle, and will the eternal pain of Chernobyl ever heal? So far, there are more questions than answers, and, in the end, the most acute of them: “Is there any life behind the scenes of a“ peaceful atom ”?