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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