The Chernobyl Elephant's Foot - Unimaginable Sorrow and Danger
Many of you may have seen, or at least heard of, the really well done HBO series "Chernobyl".
People of my age have witnessed it - It was horror! I may remember me very clearly how we were just having break time at school when the alarm went off.
As a child, we couldn't even understand what was really happening - explaining to people that it wasn't visible to our eyes was probably hard enough, even less that a child could understand it.
The teachers called us all and they just said:
"Everybody get in here right now, close all the windows and turn on the radio and wait it out."
We weren't allowed to play in the sandbox for a long time after that.
Not a nice memory.
By the way, my hometown Basel is only 1.670,93 km.
That's 1.038,26 miles away from Chernobyl.
The nuclear disaster occurred on April 26, 1986, in reactor unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near the Ukrainian city of Pripyat, founded in 1970.
It was the first event to be classified in the highest category of catastrophic accident on the seven-level international nuclear event rating scale.
During a simulation of a complete power failure, carried out under the supervision of Anatoly Stepanovich Dyatlov, which began on April 25, 1986, an uncontrolled power increase occurred due to serious violations of safety regulations and the design characteristics of the graphite moderated nuclear reactor of the RBMK-1000 type, which led to the explosion of the reactor and the fire of the graphite used as a moderator at 1:23 a.m. on April 26.
You probably know the rest, and since I want to deal specifically with the elephant foot, I will not tell you the whole story, but the current situation and the fact that the just mentioned elephant foot is still active.
The so-called "Elephant Foot" is a kind of lava that is still active today, and is now over 2 square meters in size, and weighs around 11 tons.
Since there is nothing that can stop it - neither lead, gold nor water, this foot "eats" deeper and deeper into the ground - The greatest danger is that if it hits groundwater, not only the groundwater would be contaminated, but that it will come to a thermal explosion and again a similar situation would arise, as when the nuclear power plant exploded.
The material that was formed is called corium, a mixture of the fuel rods and various other highly toxic materials, and to this d
ay it still gives off such an amount of radiation that you can't go in there for more than a few minutes without dying after a few days.
In 1996, it was only a few seconds that you could be there without dying directly from the radiation.
After about 200 seconds one is so contaminated that the radioactivity destroys the body cells.
Even low doses of radiation can change the genetic material and cause cancer in the long term.
The bad thing about it is that it is still melting away and there is simply nothing that could stop it - lead, gold and water are only effective to a limited extent and therefore it will continue like this, unless someone invents a new material, which is rather unlikely, because at the moment it is "more important" to fly to Mars, instead of making sure that research is done on something like this.... Sad but true!
The 1. Photo
The first photo of the Elephant - Foot - For this man it was also the last photo he made in his life.
This photo, which was taken by a scientist in 1996, 10 years after the reactor accident, is the first official photo of the elephant's foot - The man died after a short time due to the consequences of the radiation.
What I can highly recommend to you is the movie "The Babushkas of Chernobyl", which I watched last night.
It's a very interesting and sad do
cumentary about how the women lived their lives until today, the suffering they experienced, and how they were ostracized by other people who didn't want to accept them in their society because they assumed that if they lived with them they would contaminate other people.
What is fascinating is the fact that many of them are still alive today - what I like most about the documentary is that there are funny and heartwarming situations in it, not just sad ones.
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Stay healthy and creepy