The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Heavy guarding for Ukraine’s spent nuclear fuel dump near Chernobyl

Nuclear waste storage facility near Ukraine’s Chernobyl to be heavily guarded: report
KIEV, March 15 (Xinhua) — The Ukrainian government has included the facility for nuclear waste near the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear power plant into a list of heavily guarded objects, local media reported Thursday, citing a government decree.

The decree, which was adopted by the cabinet earlier this week, envisages that the central spent fuel storage facility (CSFSF) will be guarded by the officers of the National Guard of Ukraine.

The building of the CSFSF, which will store spent nuclear fuel from three Ukrainian nuclear power plants, is currently underway at the 30-km-radius exclusion zone around the plant.

The construction of the facility has started in November 2017 and its first stage is due to be completed in 2019.

The building of the CSFSF is aimed at boosting Ukraine’s capabilities in managing and storing its nuclear waste. Currently, the East European country relies heavily on Russia for storing spent fuel from its power plants.

Ukraine generates over half of its electricity from nuclear energy. Currently, 15 reactors in four nuclear power plants are operating in the East European country.

The Chernobyl plant, located some 130 km from Kiev, witnessed one of the worst nuclear accidents in human history on April 26, 1986.

The blasts at the No. 4 reactor spread radiation across Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and other European countries.


March 17, 2018 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Animals around Chernobyl and Fukushima are NOT flourishing, despite the nuclear lobby’s claims

Bird at left normal, at right – Chernobyl bird with facial cancer

Beyond Nuclear International 4th March 2018, It started with wolves. The packs around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, which exploded on April 26, 1986, were thriving, said reports. Benefitting from the absence of human predators, and seemingly unaffected by the high radiation levels that still persist in the area, the wolves, they claimed, were doing better than ever.

Appearances, however, can be deceptive. Abundant does not necessarily mean healthy. And that is exactly what
evolutionary biologist, Dr. Timothy Mousseau and his team began to find out as, over the years, they traveled to and researched in and around the Chernobyl disaster site in the Ukraine.

Then, when a similar nuclear disaster hit in Japan — with the triple explosions and meltdowns at
Fukushima Daiichi on March 11, 2011 — Mousseau’s team added that region to its research itinerary.

Mousseau has now spent more than 17 years looking at the effects on wildlife and the ecosystem of the 1986 Chernobyl
nuclear disaster. He and his colleagues have also spent the last half dozen years studying how non-human biota is faring in the wake of Fukushima. Ninety articles later, they are able to conclude definitively that animals and plants around Chernobyl and Fukushima are very far indeed from flourishing.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Clean-up to start on tons of liquid radioactive trash from all 4 of Chernobyl’s nuclear reactors

Bellona 7th Feb 2018, In a major step toward cleaning up the world’s worst nuclear disaster,
workers at Chernobyl have begun moving much of the stricken facility’s
liquid nuclear waste into long term storage.
The commissioning of Chernobyl’s liquid radioactive treatment plant is meant to tackle the
22,000 tons of irradiated water gathered not only since the plant’s
number 4 reactor exploded in 1986, but from continued operation of the
plant’s other three reactors, which continued producing electricity for
14 years after the disaster.
Surprisingly, these reactors were not decommissioned until 2000, nine years after the collapse of the Soviet
Union, when the Chernobyl plant became the newly-independent Ukraine’s
inheritance from Moscow. That the rest of the plant’s reactors continued
to operate in the middle of a irradiated disaster zone serves shows how
heavily Ukraine has depended on nuclear power since it struck out on its
own. That dependence – despite atomic energy’s domestic unpopularity
– hasn’t dropped with time: Kiev still relies on its other 15 reactors
to produce a little over half the country’s electricity.


February 9, 2018 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Desperate to save its failing nuclear business, Toshiba looks to Ukraine

Toshiba seeks deal in Ukraine to revive nuclear power business, Asahi Shimbun, By TOSHIO KAWADA/ Staff Writer, February 8, 2018  Toshiba Corp. is planning another foray into an overseas nuclear-power industry, forced in part by the disastrous consequences of its previous failure abroad, sources said.

The Tokyo-based company has started negotiations with Energoatom, a Ukrainian state-run power company, to supply turbine generators for use in its nuclear power plants. The two companies concluded a memorandum in October 2017.

Toshiba in March 2017 said it was withdrawing from the business of designing and constructing entire nuclear power plants overseas following the collapse of its U.S. nuclear arm, Westinghouse Electric Co.

However, Toshiba judged that it would not suffer such a huge deficit again if it only supplies equipment to nuclear power plants abroad, the sources said.

“There will be little concern that we will suffer a huge loss (from an overseas deal),” a source related to Toshiba said.

Energoatom operates 15 nuclear reactors and is building two others in Ukraine. It plans to replace the generators of old reactors to increase output.

Toshiba wants to win a deal with Energoatom to export the replacement generators and provide maintenance services after they go into operation.

If Toshiba succeeds in the equipment supply business in Ukraine, it will consider looking at other markets abroad, the sources said.

Toshiba is desperate for a steady source of income…….

Toshiba plans to earn steady profits from its nuclear business, believing competition with other companies will not be so fierce, the sources said.

But if this endeavor fails to pan out, Toshiba’s management situation could worsen.


February 9, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The unpublicised un-safety problem – Ukraine’s nuclear industry

Bellona 24th Jan 2018, Bellona publishes groundbreaking report on the state of Ukraine’s nuclear
industry. It won’t come as a surprise that safety would be a critical
challenge still facing the nuclear industry in Ukraine, which inherited the
infamous Chernobyl plant when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Nearly as surprising has been the comparative lack of concise information on a
national industry that supplies more than half of its country’s
electricity in conditions of political and economic turmoil.


January 26, 2018 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl – from nuclear wreck to solar power farm

Chernobyl nuclear power plant transformed into a massive solar plant,  [excellent graphs and photos] 

IT was the site of the world’s worst ecological disaster, but Chernobyl has risen from the ashes of its nuclear meltdown and is undergoing a massive makeover. News Corp Australia Network JANUARY 15, 2018 AT ground zero of Ukraine’s Chernobyl tragedy, workers in orange vests are busy erecting hundreds of dark-coloured panels as the country gets ready to launch its first solar plant to revive the abandoned territory.

The new one-megawatt power plant is located just a hundred metres from the new “sarcophagus”, a giant metal dome sealing the remains of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, the worst nuclear disaster in the world.

This solar power plant can cover the needs of a medium-sized village”, or about 2,000 flats, Yevgen Varyagin, the head of the Ukrainian-German company Solar Chernobyl which carried out the project, told AFP.

Eventually, the region is to produce 100 times the initial solar power, the company says.

The amount of sunshine “here is the same as in the south of Germany,” says Varyagin.

Ukraine, which has stopped buying natural gas from Russia in the last two years, is seeking to exploit the potential of the Chernobyl uninhabited exclusion zone that surrounds the damaged nuclear power plant and cannot be farmed.


Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl plant exploded April 26, 1986 and the fallout contaminated up to three quarters of Europe, according to some estimates, especially hitting Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Following the disaster, Soviet authorities evacuated hundreds of thousands of people and this vast territory, over 2,000 square kilometres wide, has remained abandoned.

The plant continued to operate the remaining reactors, the last of which was shut down in 2000, ending industrial activity in the area.

People cannot return to live in the zone for “more than 24,000 years”, according to the Ukrainian authorities, who nevertheless argue that a prudent industrial use can be possible again.

This territory obviously cannot be used for agriculture, but it is quite suitable for innovative and scientific projects,” Ostap Semerak, Ukrainian Minister of the Environment and one of the promoters of placing solar projects in Chernobyl, told AFP in 2016.

The installation of a huge dome above the ruins of the damaged reactor just over a year ago made the realisation of the solar project possible.

Funded by the international community, it covered the old concrete structure which had become cracked and unstable, to ensure greater isolation of the highly radioactive magma in the reactor.

As a result, radiation near the plant plummeted to just one-tenth of previous levels, according to official figures

Even so, precautions are still necessary: the solar panels are fixed onto a base of concrete blocks rather than placed on the ground.

The soil remains contaminated, explains Varyagin, whose group is a joint venture between the Ukrainian firm Rodina Energy Group and Germany’s Enerparc AG.

We can not drill or dig here because of the strict safety rules,” he says.

Last year the consortium completed a 4.2-megawatt solar power plant in the irradiated zone in neighbouring Belarus, not far from Chernobyl.

Ukrainian authorities offered investors nearly 2,500 hectares (25 square kilometres) for potential construction of solar power plants in Chernobyl.

Kiev has received about 60 proposals from foreign companies — including American, Chinese, Danish and French — who are considering participating in future solar developments in the area, according to Olena Kovalchuk, spokeswoman of the State Administration for the zone of Chernobyl.

Investors are attracted by the price that Ukraine has set for solar electricity, which “exceeds on average by 50 per cent of that in Europe”, Oleksandr Kharchenko, executive director of the Energy Industry Research Center, told AFP

He adds that cheap land and the proximity of the power grids makes Chernobyl particularly attractive, though there is still no rush of western investors to the region.

Safety concerns and Ukraine’s notorious bureaucracy and corruption has put some off.

It is very important to have guarantees that working in the Chernobyl zone will be safe for those who will be doing it,” says Anton Usov, adviser to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The bank does not currently foresee any investment to Ukraine in this field.


January 17, 2018 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear disaster might have been started by a nuclear, not a steam, explosion

Scientists might have been wrong about the Chernobyl disaster, New York Post ,By James Rogers, November 20, 2017 A new theory on the Chernobyl disaster could shed fresh light on the world’s worst nuclear accident.

In an article published in the journal Nuclear Technology, scientists argue that the first of two explosions reported by eyewitnesses was a nuclear, not a steam explosion, as is widely thought. Instead, the researchers believe that the first explosive event noted by eyewitnesses was a jet of debris ejected to an altitude of almost 2 miles by a series of nuclear explosions within the Chernobyl reactor. Some 2.7 seconds later, they say, a steam explosion ruptured the reactor and sent yet more debris into the atmosphere at lower altitudes.

“We realized that we, based on real measurements and observations, could explain details in the Chernobyl accident scenario and the nature of the two major explosions that occurred during a few seconds that unfortunate night more than 31 years ago,” explained the report’s lead author Lars-Erik De Geer, in an email to Fox News.

The 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine sparked a widespread environmental disaster. Thirty workers died either from the explosion at the number four reactor or from acute radiation sickness within several months. The accident exposed millions in the region to dangerous levels of radiation and forced a wide-scale, permanent evacuation of hundreds of towns and villages in Ukraine and Belarus.

cloud of radioactive particles from the disaster reached other parts of parts of Europe, such as Sweden.

The report cites xenon isotopes detected by the VG Khlopin Radium Institute in Leningrad four days after the accident. Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, is about 599 miles north of Chernobyl. Xenon isotopes were also reported in Cherepovets, about 622 miles north of Chernobyl.

The result of recent nuclear fission, the isotopes were likely caused by a recent nuclear explosion, according to the experts. This is in contrast to the main Chernobyl debris that contained equilibrium xenon isotopes from the reactor’s rupture and drifted toward Scandinavia.

This new theory presented by experts from the Swedish Defense Research Agency, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute and Stockholm University, could offer fresh insight into the disaster. The new analysis could help prevent similar incidents from occurring, experts say.

The destroyed reactor tank suggests that the first explosion caused temperatures high enough to melt a 6.6-foot bottom plate in part of the core, the researchers said, noting that this damage is consistent with a nuclear explosion. In the rest of the core, the bottom plate was relatively intact, but had dropped by nearly 13 feet. This, they say, is consistent with a steam explosion, noting that the temperature would not be sufficient to melt the plate, but could generate enough pressure to force it down.

Additionally, seismic measurements and eyewitness reports of a blue flash above the reactor a few seconds after the first explosion could also support the new theory of a nuclear explosion followed by a steam explosion……..

The disaster shone a spotlight on lax safety standards and government secrecy in the former Soviet Union. The explosion on April 26, 1986, was not reported by Soviet authorities for two days and then only after winds had carried the fallout across Europe and Swedish experts had gone public with their concerns.

The final death toll from Chernobyl is subject to speculation, due to the long-term effects of radiation. Estimates range from 9,000 by the World Health Organization to one of a possible 90,000 by the environmental group Greenpeace.

The terrible environmental fallout of Chernobyl is still being felt. A wild boar with more than 10 times the safe limit of radiation, for example, was recently killed by hunters hundreds of miles away in Sweden.


January 1, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Solar power to take over, on Chernobyl’s nuclear wasteland

Chernobyl’s nuclear wasteland primed for solar power explosionBellona,  by Charles Digges, Some would be rightly spooked by the idea of electricity produced by a glowing source emanating from Chernobyl, but thanks to a €100 million investment plan, that’s exactly what’s could happen.

It’s not, however, what you think. The electricity will come from a solar park sprouting in the middle of the carcinogenic wastelands surrounding the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster as part of a joint project between a Kiev engineering firm called Rodina Energy Group and Enerparc, a clean energy company based in Hamburg, Germany.

Ukraine’s minister of ecology, Ostap Semerak, announced a plan last July to revitalize the nearly 2000-kilometer swathe of land encircling the plant that gave nuclear disaster its name.

Long lasting radiation in the area makes farming, forestry, hunting, and just about anything else too dangerous, so renewable energy is seen as something productive to do with the huge empty area.

Luckily, all of the transmission lines that were laid to carry electrons from the notorious plant to Ukraine’s major cities – and that helped feed what is now the country’s 50 percent reliance on nuclear energy – remain largely intact.

When it’s done, the solar park could provide half the energy that originally flowed from Chernobyl, marking an inspiring comeback for an area inhabited by dystopian radioactive wild boar……..

the Chernobyl area could end up producing 2.5 gigawatts of solar produced electricity, pumping out half of what Chernobyl uses to produce before it melted down and exploded – with absolutely none of the danger……..

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ­– which financed Chernobyl’s New Containment Structure – is understandably wary of bankrolling projects in a radioactive exclusion zone. The solar farms, after all, are installed and maintained by people.

This poses some very real difficulties. Workers can only spend a limited amount of time in the exclusion zone, so their shifts are short, which means a bigger workforce is required – as is more money to pay them.

Yet they are challenges worth grappling with. If Ukraine manages to create a renewable energy rebirth on the site of the nuclear disaster that helped fell the Soviet Union, it would be a revolution of an altogether different kind.


December 7, 2017 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Risk of Chernobyl sarcophagus collapsing – radiation danger to workers now sealing it

Vice News 5th Dec 2017, Workers at the Chernobyl Power Plant are now facing some of the highest
radiation levels ever while they put the finishing touches on a new
decontamination structure for the world’s worst nuclear disaster. After
the fallout in 1986, workers at the plant built a sarcophagus to contain
the radiation in just three months.

But it was just a quick fix, designed
without future decontamination in mind. And now, after more than 30 years,
it’s at risk of collapse. Workers are sealing the old structure with a
new one they finished building a year ago, called the New Safe Confinement.
They hope it will hold for the next 100 years.


December 7, 2017 Posted by | employment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

£1.3bn Chernobyl New Safe Confinement planned for completion this year

BBC 17th Oct 2017, A manufacturer from Torfaen is helping to dismantle the remains of the
Chernobyl nuclear power station. A concrete and steel arch will cover the
reactor which was destroyed in the 1986 disaster. Pontypool-based
manufacturer Flamgard Calidair has developed fire and shut off dampers for
the project, known as the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement. The £1.3bn
(€1.5bn) building is set to be completed before Christmas 2017.


October 20, 2017 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) can’t compete, unless ordered en masse

SMR Supply Chains, Costs, are Focus of Key Developments, Neutron Bytes, Dan Yurman October 4, 2017

Small modular reactors won’t be able to compete with natural gas plants combined with renewables unless and until they get enough orders to justify building factories to manufacture them in a mass production environment.

Holtec Opens SMR Manufacturing Center in New Jersey

In September Holtec announced the grand opening of a $360M, 50 acre SMR manufacturing center in Camden, N.J. The firm was incentivized by the State of New Jersey to locate there with $260M in tax breaks.  According to Holtec the Camden plant will eventually employ up to 1,000 people……….

Dr. Singh, Holtec’s President and CEO, declared the factory to be “Ground Zero” for the renaissance of nuclear energy and heavy manufacturing in America.

“It will serve as the launching pad for the regeneration of manufacturing in the United States.”

He added, “We will build nuclear reactors here, and they will sail from the port of Camden to hundreds of places around the world.”

Is Holtec Headed for Ukraine to Manufacture SMRs for Europe & Asia?

The maturing of an American supply chain to support mass production of components for SMRs might develop, but not all of it may be in the U.S. Holtec International, is reportedto be in talks about planning to arrange the production of small modular reactors (SMRs) for nuclear power plants in Ukraine, and for export to Europe and Asia.

The Interfax wire service report, which was not confirmed by Holtec, comes on the heels of the firm’s grand opening of a $360M nuclear energy component manufacturing center in Camden, NJ. It is the second report in three months providing details of Holtec International’s discussions with Energoatom. However, a spokesperson for Holtec declined to comment on these discussions as reported by Interfax.

The Intefax report quotes Energoatom National Nuclear Energy Generating Company of Ukraine President Yuriy Nedashkovsky who said,

“There is a very interesting offer made by Holtec International CEO Kris Singh to President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko  – to create a hub in Ukraine, distributing small modular reactors to Europe, Asia and Africa, with the localization of production and a large number of equipment at Ukrainian enterprises.”

According to Nedashkovsky, Ukraine’s Turboatom has already been involved in the project, as it has the required turbines in its production line.

“This project has already been developed conceptually. The launch of licensing procedures (in the U.S.) is expected next year, and an active phase of construction – approximately in 2023.”  Nedashkovsky added.

Talking of the long-term prospects, Nedashkovsky noted that the demand for small modular reactors after 2025 was estimated to grow over time.

Is the Ukraine SMR Story Ahead of Holtec’s Headlights?

What’s unclear is whether Nedashkovsky was speaking off-the-top-of-his-head, commenting officially on behalf of Holtec International, Continue reading


October 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, technology, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

Holtec planning to build small nuclear reactors in Ukraine


KYIV. Sept 11 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Holtec International (the United States) in 2023 will start the active phase of building small module reactors SMR-160, President of Ukrainian National Nuclear Generating Company Yuriy Nedashkovsky said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new plant of the company in New Jersey (the United States).
According to a posting on the website of Energoatom, Nedashkovsky said that earlier President of Holtec International Chris Singh made a proposal to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to create a hub in Ukraine to sell small module reactors to Europe, Asia and Africa with localization of production facilities and the large amount of equipment at Ukrainian enterprises.
Nedashkovsky said that Kharkiv-based Turboatom has turbines suiting SMR-160. There is a chance of attracting other Ukrainian enterprises to the project.
He said that the start of licensing of SMR-160 could start in 2018.
He said that SMR-160 reactors are rather cheap compared to more powerful reactors. They can be installed in small areas and do not require powerful lines. Nedashkovsky said that the need in SMR-160 after 2025 is estimated at $1 trillion.
“These reactors have an increased level of safety due to the fact that they use passive safety systems: that is it has no pumping equipment, reinforcement and other things which require external power supply,” the president of Energoatom said.
The plant, built by Holtec in New Jersey, is mainly focused on two spheres: production of container fleet for spent nuclear fuel, as well as vessels for small modular reactors of the SMR-160 project.


September 25, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, technology, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Looking after Chernobyl’s radioactive puppies

The Puppies of Chernobyl


HUNDREDS OF RADIOACTIVE PUPPIES JUST GOT SPAYED, NEUTERED AT CHERNOBYL DISASTER SITE, BY KATE SHERIDAN An American nonprofit organization, Clean Futures Fund, has started a spay and neuter clinic for the four-legged descendants of survivors of one of history’s worst nuclear disasters.

After the Chernobyl nuclear reactor melted down on April 26, 1986, some dogs and cats left behind survived and began to breed. More than 400 animals were spayed and neutered in the first year of the clinic’s operation at the former reactor, which ended earlier this month.

The laws governing the exclusion zone around Chernobyl strongly advise people to avoid feeding or touching the dogs, due to the risk of contamination. Not only is the dogs’ fur potentially loaded with radioactive particles, but their food and water is contaminated. The radioactive molecules they ingest may also linger in their bodies.

“We could find areas in their bones where radioisotopes had accumulated. We could survey the bones and we could see the radioactivity in them,” a Clean Futures Fund co-founder, Lucas Hixson, told Newsweek. The program funds medical treatment for locals in addition to running the spay and neuter program at the power plant and in the neighboring city.

“These dogs run through [contaminated areas] and it gets stuck on their coat and on the end of their noses and their feet.”

There are nearly 1,000 dogs in the area around the power plant. Only a few dozen cats live in the highly contaminated areas that the dogs frequent.

Hixson has been traveling to Chernobyl for about five years, initially as a radiation specialist. “I go over there expecting to do my work, and I step off the train at the power plant and there’s a dog in my face. Honestly, it was one of the last things I expected to see at Chernobyl,” he said.

To keep the veterinary hospital as free from radioactive contamination as possible, dogs that come to the facility are examined and washed down until their levels of radioactivity are deemed safe.

Despite the potential risk, Hixson said he’s continued to interact with the dogs. “There is a fair amount of handling that happens. This is a natural reaction between humans and dogs,” he said. “You can’t help yourself.”

“They’re not hazardous to your immediate health and wellbeing. But anytime you go pet the dogs, go wash your hands afterwards before you eat.”

Clean Futures Fund got approval from the Ukranian government for its operations. Other partners include SPCA International, Dogs Trust and two U.S. universities, including Worchester Polytechnic Institute and the University of South Carolina.

Hixson also noted the local workers have welcomed the team. “I remember there was a lot of skepticism when we showed up,” he said. “But after about two or three days of us catching dogs, processing them, releasing them, the attitude immediately changed,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough for everything they did.”

Even if every dog and cat in Chernobyl is sterilized and vaccinated, the wider stray dog issue in Ukraine means that more dogs could move into the contaminated area and Clean Futures Fund’s efforts could be somewhat for naught. Ultimately, Hixson would like to work with the Ukranian government on a wider rescue program to get the dogs out of the area and into homes.

He will be returning in November to measure the impact of the program, which is expected to run for five years. The next spay and neuter clinic will happen next summer.


September 23, 2017 Posted by | environment, radiation, Reference, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Radioactive tourism in Ukraine

by Cheryl L. Reed

The button that could have started a nuclear holocaust is grey – not red.

I learned this after climbing into a nuclear rocket command silo, 12 floors below ground, and sitting in the same green chair at the same yellow metal console at which former Soviet officers once presided.

Here, they practised entering secret codes into their grey keyboards, pushing the launch button and turning a key – all within seven seconds – to fire up to 10 ballistic missiles. The officers never knew what day their practice codes might become real, nor did they know their targets.

This base in Pervomaysk, Ukraine – about a four-hour drive from Kiev – once had 86 intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of destroying cities in Europe and the United States. Though the nuclear warheads have been removed, the command silo with much of its equipment, giant trucks that carried the rockets to the base and an empty silo were preserved so that people could see what had been secretly going on at nuclear missile bases in the former Soviet Union.

Tourists go to Paris to marvel at the majesty of the Eiffel Tower, to Rome to stroll the cobbled streets of the Vatican, to Moscow to behold the magnificent domes of Red Square. And while Ukraine has its own plethora of domed cathedrals, including monasteries with underground caves, thousands of tourists are trekking to this country for a uniquely Soviet experience.

Here, they stand outside an exploded nuclear reactor at Chernobyl and rifle through the remains of a nearby abandoned city – Geiger counter in hand. In Chernobyl’s shadow, they marvel at the giant “Moscow Eye”, an anti-ballistic-missile detector that rises 50 storeys high and looks like a giant roller coaster.

Every day, a handful of travel companies ferry mostly foreigners to Chernobyl’s 30-kilometre “exclusion zone”. In 2016, Solo East Travel hauled 7500 people there, up from only one trip in 2000………

The museum tour guides are all former Soviet officers who once worked at the missile base. Ours, Gennadiy Fil’, once manned the nuclear controls. When American tourists dallied, snapping photos of the rockets above ground, he barked, “Ledz go!”

Then he darted through a heavy door of a squat building, down a series of winding stairs and through an underground tunnel, navigating by memory through the narrow, 150-metre-long passageway to the control centre in a silo. The narrow cylinder is suspended from the ground – theoretically, to withstand the shock of a counter-attack…….

No moral objections

Fil’, 55, said he never knew when he would be ordered to input real codes. It was his job, he said, shrugging. He said he had no moral objections to pushing the button. Launching nuclear missiles was a “political decision”, something that people on top of the ground decided, not him……..

In 1994, three years after Ukraine became independent, it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty and agreed to dismantle its 1900 Soviet missiles. At the time, Ukraine boasted the world’s third-largest stockpile of nuclear warheads after Russia and the United States. Ukraine shipped its nuclear warheads to Russia and dismantled its silos, often blowing them up or filling them with cement. The control silo at Pervomaysk was the only one spared – so it could become a museum. The 46th Rocket Division, part of the 43rd Rocket Army, was disbanded in 2001……..

Nuclear ghost town

The city of Pripyat was once a secret Soviet city, closed to anyone but workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor and their families. Now the city, an hour-and-a-half drive from Kiev, is a nuclear ghost town. Forty-nine thousand people were forced to evacuate the day after Chernobyl’s Reactor No.4 exploded on April 26, 1986.

Nearly all the first responders and soldiers died from radiation poisoning while trying to contain the graphite fire and the radioactive particles spewing from the destroyed reactor, explained Bodnarchuk, our tour guide. Officially, only 31 firemen and soldiers were killed. But some believe that the disaster claimed at least 10,000 lives as wind carried radioactive material into Belarus and Northern Europe.

Even though critics have said that the designs of Chernobyl are outmoded and inherently unsafe, Russia reportedly is still using 11 similar nuclear reactors.

Today, visitors can stand across the street from the damaged reactor at Chernobyl, which recently was covered by a huge, $US2.3 billion shield. But the highlight of the tour is, by far, the crumbling city of Pripyat. Though tour operators are warned to stay out of Pripyat’s buildings, tourists routinely stomp through the city, including the hospital where dying first responders were taken……..

driving through the red forest near the Chernobyl reactor – where the radiation burned up all the trees, which were then bulldozed and buried. Our Geiger counters went crazy as we drove through the new-growth forest, registering 26 sieverts per hour.

Our guide tried to calm fears about our exposure to radiation by assuring us that any high levels on our body would be detected by the machines we had to pass through on the way out of Chernobyl’s exclusion zone. Those machines – old Soviet steel contraptions that look like retro airport metal detectors – hardly inspire confidence……..


August 5, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, marketing, Ukraine | Leave a comment

HBO announces five-part miniseries on Chernobyl accident HILLS, Calif. (AP) — HBO says production will begin next year on a miniseries about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The five-part series will star Jared Harris as a Soviet scientist tapped by the Kremlin to investigate the accident.

The series will dramatize the events of the 1986 Ukrainian nuclear catastrophe that resulted in widespread radioactive fallout. Thirty people were killed and more than 100,000 had to be relocated.

HBO announced at the Television Critics Association’s summer meeting on Wednesday that production on “Chernobyl” is set to begin in Lithuania in spring of 2018.


July 28, 2017 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual, Ukraine | Leave a comment