Pripyat may not be as radioactive as one would expect.
Nuclear (vegetable) war
Threats of Russian invasion have led the Ukrainian military to a bizarre training ground – the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
Like CNN reportsGangs of international journalists descended on Pripyat, the abandoned town near the Ukraine-Belarus border that served the Chernobyl nuclear power plant before its collapse 35 years ago, to watch the Ukrainian military spectacle as forces Russians continue to pile up along the border.
Although CNN focused on propaganda imagery of the conduct of exercises at the site of the worst nuclear meltdown in history – and which is now a popular tourist destinationlargely because of HBO’s dramatized miniseries about the 1986 disaster – a Ukrainian soldier who spoke to France 24 pointed out the obvious: Pripyat is also an excellent test site because “there are no civilians around”.
“We can conduct exercises with real ammunition in a situation as close as possible to real urban warfare,” said the Ukrainian national guard, who did not give his name. France 24.
Radio active duty
While the ruins of the current reactor, contained under an envelope of metal and concrete, are unsurprisingly very radioactive and will remain so for up to 20,000 years olderthe scientists pointed out that the villages farthest from the reactor suffered the worst fallout due to weather conditions, making Pripyat, the town closest to the site of the plant and its historic meltdown, significantly less dangerous than its most distant neighbours.
“There were villages that were reasonably close to the plant that didn’t get much contamination,” said Fred Mettler, a professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine who worked on the committee. United Nations scientist on the effects of atomic radiation in 1989 and 1990. Recount Live Science in 2019.
Pripyat is said to be safe enough to receive thousands of visitors a year, and those on state-sanctioned tours usually pass through radiation checkpoints at the start and end of their tours.
Nevertheless, Francevse24 and other noted outlets that Ukrainian soldiers were seen sporting Geiger radiation counters while journalists watched the military exercises, and in January the New York Times reported that Ukrainian police and Border Patrol had been sent to guard the eerie, deserted forests of the 30 square kilometer Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, armed with both Geiger counters and machine guns.
It’s a strange situation as Chernobyl has become a flashpoint in the complex tensions between Russia and Ukraine. But hey, at least the army doesn’t use it to organize marriage proposals or make alcohol.
More Chernobyl Theater: Scientist sends Boston Dynamics Robodog to Chernobyl
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