11 Chernobyl Right After the Explosion: Photos and Facts

Chernobyl Right After the Explosion: Photos and Facts

Posted on April 26, 2014 by tim

Мore than 600,000 people worked on the cleanup of the Chernobyl accident. Those who arrived on the scene in the first few months after the accident got to do the most difficult and dangerous jobs. What was it like 28 years ago?

In mid-August 1986 the reactor was “pacified” (fading and cool), the threat of a “nuclear explosion” was excluded, and the threat of thermal explosions was minimal.


Сoncrete pumping machines (a very rare unit in the USSR) and a concrete truck are clearly visible in the photo.

The white house had lead walls and roof. This reduces the level of radiation. They were paid five times their normal salary and were to get a “Lada” without having to queue for it. But it is unknown which of them managed to get a Lada…
Here is the paradox of the Soviet times – a Lada is worth the same as a life.

Liquidators in black overalls and white caps go down the ladders during the building of the sarcophagus. It is very likely that they are no longer alive.

Bags of lead shot (on top of the boom of the concrete pumper) were widely used in early May. Lead shot was collected nationwide, especially from hunting societies, and dumped from helicopters directly into the collapsed power station. The goal was to contain the radioactive emissions.

There are two viewpoints on the construction of the sarcophagus.

The first is that the collapse left about 194 tons of fuel there, so the sarcophagus was needed.

The second is that before its construction, the fuel had already been burned up, that’s why such protection was not necessary. If the second view is correct, the whole strategy of elimination was erroneous, as is today’s decision of the construction of another sarcophagus over the old one.

There were a lot of mushrooms in the nearby forest in the summer of 1986.

The liquidators had two doctors for every 50 persons. In the zone, ​​blood tests was done twice a month, they were given iodine and multivitamins. Kitchen water was brought in from the clean area in jars.

The protection was: RM-2 respirators, a change of linen (shirt and pants) every day, and a decontamination wash every day.


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11 Responses to “Chernobyl Right After the Explosion: Photos and Facts”

  1. Otis R. Needleman says:

    I thank these brave people for their work. Otherwise, things could have been much worse. Their work and sacrifices were not in vain.

  2. Darius says:

    There is a good documentary by BBC from about 1991 in English/Russian language.
    They tell the story of reactor and nuclear fuel investigations after the sarcophagus was built. It was because they feared a secondary explosion of the fuel. Some scientist climbed onto the reactor!

  3. unknown says:

    I think it’s high time the authors of English Russia actually learn some English. The articles are simply hard to read. Sometimes I have to reread the same sentence a few times before I understand what he’s trying to say.

    • tim_post says:

      or rename the whole thing into Engrish-Russia?

    • Liam of London says:

      Unknown – maybe it has escaped you that the author is Russian and does not know English that well.

      Tell me – how good is your Russian? It should be as good as the author’s Engish – if not, please climb down from your high horse.

      Yes, the translation is not always spot on – but the message is mostly understood if you have the interest and patience.

    • Tim says:

      Don’t be a dick. It adds charm to the website. Poor stupid you if you have to re-read a sentence. How’s your Russian?

    • L'hiver says:

      How lucky that your Russian is flawless, and your English prose exemplary, so you can contribute!
      Or perhaps your English isn’t as good as you think if you struggle so much to grasp the meaning in the face of some obvious ESL grammatical lapses.

    • Phredy says:

      I hope it is a little easier to read now.

  4. dagar says:

    If you want to know what “hard” is, try to navigate a Russian website using Google Translate. I do, sometimes, because I’m interested in their topics, doing it that way is definitely hard. Anyhow, the English here is mostly pretty good (though not perfect), and definitely way better than my Russian. Thanks, ER!

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