Chornobyl Exclusion Zone: Lest We Forget
Ukraine is the country where the largest man-made accident in the history of mankind occurred. It was reflected in culture and art, since they are the best way to understand what happened, feel it and once again emphasize the need for a responsible attitude to potentially hazardous technologies. The new series of American television network HBO attracted a new tide of world attention to the Chornobyl accident, and the number of visitors to the Chornobyl exclusion zone has increased by 30%.
Unfortunately, not everyone understands that the Chornobyl exclusion zone is not an attraction and not a place for having fun. This territory is still contaminated by isotopes of strontium and cesium. The situation will change for the better when ten periods of half-life of radionuclides will pass. Therefore, hundreds of years shall pass. This means that it is still dangerous to stay in this territory. The less the visitor contacts with radioactivity, the better. The main thing is to understand the risks and not to be exposed to unnecessary danger. That is why all the visitors of the exclusion zone sign an informed consent about personal responsibility and accept the risks that arise during the visit. Each organization that carries out visits to this place is responsible for keeping the radiation safety rules when visiting the exclusion zone.
The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) calls for the strict compliance with instructions and rules of stay on the radioactively contaminated territory and for the responsible attitude of visitors and accompanying organizations.
When staying in the exclusion zone, it is necessary to be guided by the justification principle, which states that any activity accompanied by exposure of people must not be carried out unless it has more benefits for the exposed people or society in general as compared with the harm it makes. If you decided to come to the exclusion zone, ask yourself “Why? What do I want to see? How will it affect me, my thought and life?” By answering these simple questions, you will understand if the risk is justified. In the end, the exclusion zone is a place where an accident and a tragedy occurred. Are you ready to meet this place face to face?
In the context of all the above mentioned, 33 years after the accident, it is very strange that the SNRIU still has to emphasize that the Chornobyl exclusion zone is not a place for inappropriate funny selfies or nude portraits for the Instagram against the destroyed buildings in Pripyat or other places in the zone. Please do not forget that they are a memorial to the destroyed fates of many people who devoted their lives to the mitigation of accident consequences.
Let us respect our history. Let us respect our living heroes. Let us remember the heroic deed of those who passed away. Let us always be human.
Uatom.org Editorial Board