The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Visiting Chernobyl  (Read 1275 times)

Offline melicals

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Visiting Chernobyl
« on: 31/07/2013 06:07:37 »
Hi Guys,

I will be visiting Chernobyl in September this year for a day tour. I just had some questions that maybe you could shed some light on.

1. Radiation & insulin (I am a type 1 diabetic, what effects would this have? I am thinking to keep it at the hotel and go without for the tour)
2. I know Alpha and Beta radiation, can be stopped by skin, clothing, paper etc & mask for inhaling dust etc (which I will be wearing) but gamma can only be stopped by dense material i.e. lead/water/wood etc. is there anything else a normal person (civilian) can do to reduce the exposure (other than not visit obviously).

Apparently I have also been told the amount of radiation exposure I would receive would be the same as a 9hr plane trip, just wondering if that is correct, or at least in the ballpark.



Offline JSparkle

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
    • CG Cleaning Services
Re: Visiting Chernobyl
« Reply #1 on: 16/08/2013 06:45:57 »
rather you than me :-)

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4497
  • Thanked: 137 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Re: Visiting Chernobyl
« Reply #2 on: 24/08/2013 11:08:49 »
I found it difficult to disentangle the current data from a brief internet search - much confusion over units and comparators, but

gives a fairly sensible account of an actual tour by some guys who seemed to understand what they were doing.

Doserates of up to 20 microsievert/hour were recorded close to the damaged reactor, with a general background throughout the tour of 1 - 2 uSv/hr.

That background would be legally tolerable, though by no means ideal,  for continuous occupancy by people at work, and as far as we know has done no detectable harm to anyone (or their children) in the last 70 years. So a few days' exposure won't add to the burdens of ordinary life. In fact the absence of road traffic, muggers, trigger-happy "security" police, and the European Union, will probably mean that you are safer in Pripyat than London.

As far as your insulin is concerned, the reason for leaving it in the hotel would be to avoid contamination rather than degradation. Again, look at the balance of risk: if you spend an hour near the reactor you will receive about the same radiation dose as you  (and your insulin) received from cosmic radiation by flying from London to Kiev (assuming this is your intended route) - i.e. not an amount you would normally worry about. However if you spend a day without insulin you could (depending on your dependency) end up in a very sorry state and become a burden on your companions.

On an entirely different but connected topic, I wonder why people publish photos of derelict buildings in the area? No buildings off-site were damaged by the fire. All we are seeing is the effect of human destructiveness, looting, and the wind and rain when doors and windows are broken - no different from any other abandoned town. Have a look at recent photos of Detroit.

Enjoy the trip! I haven't visited Ukraine but friends from the area paint a very pleasant picture, and colleagues who visited a couple of years after the fire had a great time.

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Visiting Chernobyl
« Reply #2 on: 24/08/2013 11:08:49 »


SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums