In Chernobyl, the nuclear power plant in the hands of the Russians after the fighting near the storage sites of nuclear waste

In Chernobyl, Ukraine, where the most serious nuclear accident in history took place in 1986, today Russian and Ukrainian troops have faced each other: the former have then taken control of the decommissioned nuclear power plant

Russian troops engaged in the invasion of Ukraine entered Ukrainian territory from Belarus and according to Ukrainian media, the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant it is now under the control of Russian forces.

According to the Ukrainian president, Volodymir Zelenskythe Russians in igniting the conflict in the area were trying to take control of the nuclear power plant where in 1986 it happened the most serious nuclear accident in history.

In April of that year, a reactor at the plant exploded and a radioactive cloud spread over Europe. The exploded reactor was covered by a “sarcophagus” to prevent the escape of radiation.

For Anton Herashchenko, official of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, if an artillery strike were to damage the depot “radioactive dust would cover Ukraine, Belarus and the European Union”.

The Chernobyl power plant is located approx 130 kilometers north of Kiev.

Zelensky, before the news of the fall of the plant, had written on Twitter that «our soldiers are putting their lives at risk to prevent the tragedy of 1986 from happening again. This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe“.

According to the nuclear expert Maurizio Martellini, associate professor of Physics at the University of Insubria, interviewed by the LaPresse agency, “in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant there are deposits with low radiation emissions. But if the ‘sarcophagus’ – the massive steel and concrete structure that covers nuclear reactor number 4 – is damaged, even if only cracked,’ it would be a crime against humanity. That waste, even after years, emit very high and extremely dangerous radiation“.

The story of the explosion of April 26, 1986

(Francesco Battistini) At 1.13 on the night of April 26, when reactor number 4 “Lenin” exploded and it was not the USSR authorities who told the world, but the American spy satellites who photographed a strange cloud rising from Chernobyl, that 1986 it marked our first environmental and global emergency.

A radioactive bomb, 500 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

With the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the Communist Party, which from Moscow denied and minimized and kept silent.

With the poor and unaware inhabitants of Prypiat who on the first evening immediately went to the railway bridge – today remembered as the Bridge of Death – to gaze at that wonderful and frightening atomic rainbow that rose up to the stars, to let themselves be unaware of the radioactive breeze that in a few weeks he would kill them.

With the nuclear experts of the time very good at explaining everything and the opposite of everything to us, but essentially unable to face an unprecedented disaster and to avoid a chain of death that after 34 years we have not yet measured.

According to the unreliable official accounts, there were 65 deaths and 4,000 thyroid cancers. To count well, it was an incalculable slaughter: at least 30 thousand victims, immediately and in the following decades, 400 thousand displaced persons and five million people forced to undergo special medical checksthree million children sent for years to be treated abroad (the famous “children of Chernobyl”, who filled our summer colonies), thousands of malformed babies (in Germany alone, every thousand births, the average number of cases of Down shot from 1.35 to 46), an impressive increase across Europe in bifid spines, anencephalies and cancers caused by radioactive cesium and iodine …

To extinguish, buffer, decontaminate, rescue, transport, evacuate and so on, 850 thousand firefighters, litigators and “liquidators“. They were professionals, or volunteers often in spite of themselves, at first sent to the fray and bare hands, then instructed to wear special overalls and to clean up the graphite and not to stay in place for more than 40 seconds, under penalty of certain death from radiation; a 2004 research found that the children and grandchildren of many of those “liquidators” still carry severe ailments and congenital diseases in the body today.

There nuclear plague it anointed the Russians, the Belarusians and the Ukrainians, then touched Scandinavia, Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, then turned to Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the northern Mediterranean, hit hard on Austria, Switzerland and Bavaria: in 2014, almost thirty years after the meltdown, wild boar, deer and reindeer were found in Sweden as well as on the border between Italy and Slovenia with concentrations of radioactivity up to ten times the norm.

In Italy the cloud overtook us for four days, from April 30 to May 3, there was a long bridge and people were enjoying the first sun outdoors. Nobody imposed clauses, only the consumption of fruit and vegetables was banned and little else (except for the referendum which, the following year, would have canceled all nuclear power plants from our energy assets).
In 2013, the Prosecutor of Vercelli opened an investigation into anomalous contamination of some agricultural fields, still found today in the subsoil over ten centimeters. According to Greenpeace, the Chernobyl Alienation Zone – a thirty-kilometer belt where it is forbidden to live and carry out any activity – will remain uninhabitable for the next three thousand years: some go so far as to foresee twenty-four thousand.

Today the only remedy to contain the radiationalways powerful, is the same one devised by the experts of the time: the sarcophagus. Because then there was what they called the “chimney effect”: fumes and fission products shot into the air by the great heat, uranium and plutonium that flew into the sky and fell all over the place, also brought by the rains.

The first Soviet intervention was limited to tons of sand thrown with the helicopters, from a height of one hundred meters, which contaminated the pilots and in reality only served to overheat the core, causing it to sink into the ground. Then he tried with water, which had to put out the fire and instead reacted and caused many short circuits, fueling other flames and explosions for fifteen days.

Now, here is then the protection of the sarcophagus: a one billion dollar concrete armor which over the decades has slowly worn out, then was rebuilt thanks to the contribution of 45 donor countries and the technology of Italian companies, such as Cimolai from Friuli.

The new sarcophagus, remade in the civil war that is ravaging Ukraine’s finances, is 108 meters high and 275 meters long, should last at least a hundred years and prevent the radioactive core from breaking into the air or sinking into groundwater.

The image of the corium cast in the base of the planta kind of elephant foot, is still there to remind us of what happened and what could happen again.

In there, there radioactive lava burns at a thousand degreesa five-minute exposure is enough to kill anyone in less than two days: what man has combined with his inefficiencies, not even the 2011 tsunami in Japan and the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima.

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