"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chernobyl as tourist attraction and wildlife sanctuary

Documentary about Chernobyl
      On April 25, 1986, there was a major, unprecedented nuclear accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine. Although clouds of radioactivity (100 times the radiation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined) eventually poisoned to death 40,000 Soviet citizens, the population of nearby Pripyat and the workers who entombed the reactor, and though this radiation spread throughout Europe, causing increases in cancers, the Soviet government leaders at first did not know what was happening themselves (they had to find out from Sweden) and later downplayed the accident, claiming only 4,000 deaths.
     I was not aware until it was posted at The Buddhist Blog yesterday that original footage of the plant, the explosion, the (eventual) evacuation of Pripyat and the clean-up, and interviews with military leaders up to and including President Gorbachev existed. This documentary was filled with facts I didn't know about the disaster--for example, radiation destroyed even the robots used to bury the radioactive rods; teams of human beings could only work for 45 seconds at a time shoveling rubble off the reactor roof--and those who survived have lived with radiation illness ever since.
     My mother, Barbara Reynolds, took the Trans-Siberian Railroad across Russia sometime after this event. It must have been soon after, because she told me that as they approached Chernobyl, conductors pulled down all the window shades on one side of the train, forbidding passengers to look out. Passengers whispered among themselves rumors a nuclear accident had taken place there.

I know Chernobyl used a different kind of nuclear power and that it had no containment vessel but still: I STRONGLY URGE ANYONE WITH AN OPINION ON NUCLEAR POWER--FOR WAR OR PEACE--TO KEEP THEIR MOUTH SHUT UNTIL AND UNLESS THEY HAVE WATCHED THIS FILM.

On the (insanely) bright side: Even though radiation readings in the area around Chernobyl are still 100 times normal (the half-life of plutonium is 245,000 years) and it continues uninhabitable after 26 years, it has been labeled a game sanctuary for some time and is now being opened as an official tourist attraction.

Ukraine to open Chernobyl to tourists
Chernobyl wildlife sanctuary
Chernobyl, the toxic tourist attraction

Today I am thankful for special needs children.

No comments:

Post a Comment