Monday, April 27, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Chernobyl


Take a seat by ~Brute-ua on deviantART
photo taken in Pripyat - let Brute-ua know if you like it.

On April 26th, 23 years ago, the reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plan malfunctioned and massive amounts of radiation were released. I was seven years old and it's among my first clear memories - Germany is a long way from the Ukraine, but it still was frighteningly close. I remember watching the news and how maps were shown that illustrated how the fallout was carried by the wind and how far it would reach. We had a garden, but in that year, we never ate anything that grew in it. I was forbidden to eat the nuts that grew on the tree in front of our house and many parents didn't allow their children to play in sandboxes or outdoor playgrounds.

I also remember seeing footage taken in Pripyat and it was all grainy, with much interference because of the radiation. I've seen that footage many times now and I still find it as chilling as I found it then. To me, radiation was like some kind of faceless beast that stalks you silently and unseen - you can run or hide, but it's always there once it has chosen you. Reading about the Liquidators who died after only days from Acute Radiation Poisoning made the image even stronger for me.

I think that we do well to remember Chernobyl. There's no viable alternative to atomic power right now (at least not one that will completely replace it), but we can't afford to forget that we are playing with fire.

If you want to get a feeling for the mood in Germany during that spring and if you can read German, I recommend Die Wolke by Gudrun Pausewang - unfortunately, there's no English translation. There's a movie, but it's nowhere as good as the book.

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11 comments:

SandyCarlson said...

We would surely do well to remember. That was a nightmare.

Barb said...

I remember Chernobyl quite well. I can hardly believe it's been that long. Thanks for the reminder.

Mary Elizabeth said...

Wow, a nightmare indeed! Beautiful photo of the ferris wheel.
Mary Elizabeth @ Now and Then

Babooshka said...

We have strong links with the area here by way of sponsoring kids there. Very thought provoking pot.

Indrani said...

Great reminder!
Wonder where the world is heading to in the name of progress!

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Such a chilling experience indeed! So many things can go wrong around the world! My World makes it better!

VALKYRIEN said...

I remember it well. A horrible nightmare.

Wolynski said...

Chernobyl was grim, but it could've been much, much worse, like wiping out all of Ukraine and half of Europe. We should consider ourselves lucky.

Erin said...

i can remember that day very well though thousands of miles from it. i still have mixed feelings about nuclear power and the whole deal with italy/france now planning to build reactors in italy has me wondering though...italy needs a less expensive source of power and there is a need.
have a wonderful day.

Reader Wil said...

Yes I can remember Chernobyl very well. My son had budgeries and they all died in a week time. The man we bought them from, told us that of the many birds he had in an outside cage, every day birds died and he thought it was due to the nuclear fall out. We got the same instructions here as you got in Germany. It was a nightmare like Sandy said.

Glennis said...

We do need to remember, the terrible disaster that was Chernobyl.
The photo is a good one!