The following is the third installment of a new series of editorials which will communicate portions of my recent trip to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (Read
The next morning a thick layer of fog hovered low over the city of Slavutich. We walked through the tall pine trees in the park, past a beautiful bronze statue of a father, mother and child, on the way to the station to take the train to the nuclear power plant. The fog was so thick that we couldn’t see the train until it appeared abruptly nearly at the station.
Once we had boarded and taken our seats, we met Irina Kovbich, the head of the Information Department at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. During the train ride, the fog precluded us from seeing outside of the train windows, so we were left to our thoughts and conversations during the 45 minute trip to the power plant.
Once we arrived at the plant, passed through security, and were accepted onto the site we made our way to the bright blue sanitorium building, where workers change in and out of protective gear to enter critical areas at the plant. The sanitorium also provides decontamination showers, medical staff, dosimetry, and meeting areas for workers.
We were taken inside to change out of our clothes and gear, men went one way to a small room with lockers – women went another way to the ladies locker room.
Inside of the first room we took off our clothes and stored whatever gear we were not taking into Unit 4 in lockers. We changed into small cotton robes and sandals and carried our items with us.
The workers led us into a second room where we were given a light cotton undershirt, pants, and socks. We were also given a heavier cotton jacket and matching pants which we put on over the undergarments, a canvas head covering, gloves, boots and a hard hat.
After we put on our clothes and arranged the gear we wanted to take into Unit 4, we grabbed our boots and walked downstairs to get assigned a disposable mask and second dosimeter that would allow us to monitor our exposures in the more contaminated areas of the site.
Inside of the sanitorium …read more