söndag, mars 13, 2005

Tjernobyl

Det var natten mellan 25 och 26 april 1986 som reaktor 4 i Tjernobyl exploderade. Ett eldklot gjorde att taket lyfte. Betong, granit och bråte virvlade runt som snö. Ett radioaktivt moln steg upp från reaktorn. Molnet innehöll hundra gånger mer strålning än atombomberna över Hiroshima och Nagasaki tillsammans. Brandmän från Pripyat försökte släcka elden.

Radioaktiviteten spreds. Först nord - nordväst. Sen syd - sydöst. Tjernobyl, Belarus, Ryssland och Ukraina. Sen vidare ut över resten av världen.

Sverige räknade becquerel i svamp och ren. Så minns jag det. Nedfall, gränsvärden, Cs-137.

116 000 människor evakuerades från områdena runt Tjernobyl. Ytterligare 200 000 flyttades till Slavutich, en ny stad som byggts upp. 800 000 brandmän och soldater har sedan olyckan arbetat med att rengöra områden från strålning. Regeringsorganet Tjernobyl Interinform redogjorde 2002 att 84 procent av de tre miljoner människor i Ukraina som utsatts för strålningen är registrerade som sjuka.


Här, utdrag ur boken
Voices from Chernobyl i Paris Review där människor som fortfarande lever med Tjernobylolyckan berättar:

Lyudmilla Ignatenko var 23 år och gift med brandmannen Vasily Ignatenko när reaktorn exploderade.
"One night I heard a noise. I looked out the window. He saw me. "Close the window and go back to sleep. There's a fire at the reactor. I'll be back soon."

"He started to change - every day I met a brand-new person. The burns started to come to the surface. In his mouth, on his tongue, his cheeks - at first there were little lesions, and then they grew. It came off in layers - as white film . . . the color of his face . . . his body . . . blue . . . red . . . gray-brown. And it's all so very mine! It's impossible to describe! It's impossible to write down! Or even to get over. The only thing that saved me was that it happened so fast; there wasn't any time to think, there wasn't any time to cry."

"Everyone came - his parents, my parents. They bought black handkerchiefs in Moscow. The Emergency Commission met with us. They told everyone the same thing: It's impossible for us to give you the bodies of your husbands, your sons, they are very radioactive and will be buried in a Moscow cemetery in a special way. In sealed zinc caskets, under cement tiles. And you need to sign this document here."

"In Kiev they gave me an apartment. It was in a large building where they put everyone from the atomic station. It's a big apartment, with two rooms, the kind Vasya and I had dreamed of."

"There are many of us here. A whole street. That's what it's called - Chernobylskaya. These people worked at the station their whole lives. A lot of them still go there to work on a provisional basis, that's how they work there now, no one lives there anymore. They have bad diseases, they're invalids, but they don't leave their jobs, they're scared to even think of the reactor closing down. Who needs them now anywhere else? Often they die. In a minute. They just drop - someone will be walking, he falls, goes to sleep. He was carrying flowers for his nurse and his heart stopped. They die, but no one's really asked us. No one's asked what we've been through. What we saw. No one wants to hear about death. About what scares them.
"


Några av de få som återvände till sina hem i området runt Tjernobyl berättar:
"I washed the house, bleached the stove. You needed to leave some bread on the table and some salt, a little plate and three spoons.

As many spoons as there are souls in the house. All so we could come back."

"The chickens had black coxcombs, not red ones, because of the radiation. And you couldn't make cheese. We lived a month without cheese and cottage cheese. The milk didn't go sour - it curdled into powder, white powder. Because of the radiation."

"No one's going to fool us anymore, we're not moving anywhere. There's no store, no hospital. No electricity. We sit next to a kerosene lamp and under the moonlight. And we like it! Because we're home."


Soldater berättar:
"Our regiment was given the alarm. It was only when we got to the Belorusskaya train station in Moscow that they told us where we were going. One guy, I think he was from Leningrad, began to protest. They told him they'd drag him before a military tribunal. The commander said exactly that before the troops: "You'll go to jail or be shot." I had other feelings, the complete opposite of that guy. I wanted to do something heroic. Maybe it was kid's stuff. But there were others like me. It was scary but also fun, for some reason."

"The houses were all sealed up, the farm machinery was abandoned. It was interesting to see. There was no one, just us and the police on their patrols. You'd walk into a house - there were photographs on the wall, but no people."

"There's a note on the door: Dear kind person, please don't look for valuables here. We never had any. Use whatever you want, but don't trash the place. We'll be back. I saw signs on other houses in different colors - Dear house, forgive us! People said goodbye to their homes like they were people. Or they'd written: We're leaving in the morning, or, We're leaving at night, and they'd put the date and even the time. There were notes written on school notebook paper: Don't beat the cat. Otherwise the rats will eat everything. And then in a child's handwriting: Don't kill our Zhulka. She's a good cat."



Zoya Danilovna Bruk, miljöinspektör
"They had protocols written up for burying radioactive earth. We buried earth in earth - such a strange human activity. According to the instructions, we were supposed to conduct a geological survey before burying anything to determine that there was no groundwater within four to six meters of the burial site. We also had to ensure that the depth of the pit wasn't very great, and that the walls and bottom of the pit were lined with polyethylene film. That's what the instructions said. In real life it was, of course, different. As always. There was no geological survey. They'd point their fingers and say, "Dig here." The excavator digs. "How deep did you go?" "Who the hell knows? I stopped when I hit water." They were digging right into the water."

"There was something else I was afraid of leaving out . . . oh, right! Chernobyl happened, and suddenly you got this new feeling, we weren't used to it, that everyone has their separate life. Until then no one needed this life. But now you had to think: What are you eating, what are you feeding your kids? What's dangerous, what isn't? Should you move to another place, or should you stay? Everyone had to make their own decisions. And we were used to living - how? As an entire village, as a collective - a factory, a kolkhoz. We were Soviet people, we were collectivized. Then we changed. Everything changed. It takes a lot of work to understand this.
"


Vladimir Matveevich Ivanov, First Secretary of the Stavgorod Regional Party Committee vid tiden för olyckan:
"It was just a few weeks after the explosion at the plant. There were helicopters flying, military vehicles on the roads. My wife said: "They should stay with our relatives. They need to get out of here." I was the First Secretary of the Regional Committee of the Party! I said absolutely not. "What will people think if I take my daughter with her baby out of here? Their children have to stay." Those who tried to leave, to save their own skins, I'd call them into the regional committee. "Are you a Communist or not?" It was a test for people. If I'm a criminal, then why was I killing my own child?"



Läs hela utdraget: Voices from Chernobyl av Svetlana Alexievich.

_________________________
Svetlana Aleksijevitj
Bön för Tjernobyl. Ordfront 1998. ISBN: 9173246123 / 91-7324-612-3
Voices from Chernobyl (eng. Svetlana Alexievich). 2005.

Chernobyl.info
Tjernobylolyckans konsekvenser i närområdet

One gets a sense from these Voices from Chernobyl of the extent of the human toll and lasting damage caused by this catastrophe. Almost everyone trusted the state, and the state certainly failed them, too disorganised and too poor to take the necessary steps. But the power of the state was also far from as strong as it presented itself as being: people returned to their contaminated land, or took their contaminated belongings away with them (and if they didn't, looters did), at worst having to bribe someone. Only feeble token efforts appear to have been made to keep dangerously contaminated foodstuffs out of the food supply.
Voices from Chernobyl - recension i Complete Review