wrong step could mean a lethal dose"
Summary of the interview with Dr. Nikolai Smirnov, a nuclear specialist, who,
after the Chernobyl Disaster, served as Chief of the Chernobyl Radiometry
Department and now lives in USA.
next day we took a helicopter and flew around the site. We saw pieces of
graphite lying around on fire, and the damaged block that looked like… well,
a nuclear reactor on fire is terrible, especially for a physicist.
2 years and 8 months I was in Pripyat, the most contaminated town, in charge
of the office of external dosimetry.
Our objective was to monitor the level of radiation and to point out
areas where work could be done and those places where it could not. Our first
objective was to find and monitor the level of radiation in areas where
soldiers were supposed to start working.
Not only did we have to obtain the radiation level, but we also had to
find out what kind of isotopes we were dealing with. When people started to
die we had to count the radiation dosage they had received. There were 14-hour
working days with no weekends.
The first vacation I got was after one-and-half years.
accident caused 500 times more radiation to be released than at Hiroshima,
then what was left is much more than one Hiroshima. Water from the Dnieper is
used by 32 million people for drinking and for watering plants. They have
reason to be concerned. These people have an increased probability for cancer,
was reviewing a few international proposals for a new reactor cover, which
would go on the top of the old one.
The cost of the least expensive cover was 8 billion dollars. The most
expensive was about 20 billion. I came up with my own proposal, which would
cost about 2 billion dollars.
amount of money is nothing compared with what could be needed for the
treatment of future illnesses [caused by additional radiation
the full transcript of this interview, click here.