The science of nuclear energy
The science of nuclear energy

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

The science of nuclear energy

3.3.4 Chernobyl today – exclusion zone

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_nuclear_energy_vid_1072.mp4
Skip transcript

Transcript

NARRATOR
Nearly 30 years after the Chernobyl disaster there is still a heavily guarded 30 kilometre exclusion zone around the plant. To get through, it requires a special pass from the Ukrainian government and involves a long journey down deserted road that have been taken over by the wilderness. You catch your first glimpse of the site of the disaster as the top of the reactor peaks above the tree line.
Over the years the red forest has encroached on the plant and on the nearby town of Pripyat gradually taking over. All around you are the signs of an all conquering nature. Gradually reclaiming what was once one of the most technologically advanced parts of the Soviet empire. Now, the place is a cross between a ghost town and a museum. All about you are the signs of a typical Soviet town going about its business.
You can see the ephemera of a normal everyday life. The toys, books, musical instruments, and other amusements. Until one day in 1986 life there came to a stop. However, while the exclusion zone may look lush, vegetation contains high levels of radioactive material. You certainly wouldn't like those apples. The surrounding forest is regularly checked for wildfires.
A large forest fire here could lead to dangerous levels of radioactive smoke particles entering the atmosphere. Further out than Pripyat there have been some attempts at resettlement into areas evacuated in 1986. In 2010, the government in nearby Belarus adjusted their policy on Chernobyl. Now, some regions have been reclassified with a view to returning the region to normal use.
They claim that for many areas the annual dose will be less than the annual dose received by people living in Cornwall. Much caution is required in the use of local resources, such as wood, due to lingering high levels of cesium in some places. Although, in others the level is low and agriculture may be attempted. Cultivated food will be safe to eat. Although, wild fruit will still be restricted. However, it remains to be seen how successful they will be in attracting a young, vibrant, and sustainable community back to the area.
End transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

The 30 km exclusion zone around Chernobyl remains predominantly abandoned and much is a wilderness. The nearby Red Forest has encroached on the plant and the nearby town of Pripyat.

The exclusion zone may look lush but the vegetation itself contains high levels of radioactive material. The forest is monitored for wildfires as a large fire in forest would lead to dangerous levels of smoke particles entering the atmosphere.

Further out than Pripyat, there have been some attempts at resettlement into areas evacuated in 1986 due to the fallout from Chernobyl. In 2010, the Belarus government adjusted their policy on Chernobyl, with some regions reclassified with a view to begin the process of returning the region to normal use. They state that for many areas and with minimal restrictions, the annual dose will be between 0.1 and 1 mSv – significantly less than the annual dose from granite to those living in Cornwall.

The task is large as the infrastructure, utilities and new buildings (to replace those that will be demolished) all need to be provided. Much caution is required in the use of local resources such as wood due to lingering high-level of caesium in some places, although in others the level is low and agriculture may be attempted. Cultivated food will be safe to eat although wild fruit will still be restricted.

The images in the video were taken on a tour around the Chernobyl reactor and the town of Pripyat.

OUFL_18

Take your learning further371

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses372.

If you are new to university level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. Find out Where to take your learning next?373 You could either choose to start with an Access courses374or an open box module, which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification.

Not ready for University study then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn375 and sign up to our newsletter376 to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371