Chernobyl nuke disaster hero hails Japan's response

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Fukushima Nuclear plant
Vienna, April 20: Anatoly Tkachuk, the only survivor of the four-man team that entered the disastrous Chernobyl nuclear site after it was covered with a concrete hood, hailed Japan's swift response to the recent nuclear crisis that has dogged the nation.

At a press conference in Vienna, he said, "Think about it this way, a nuclear object emitting radiation after an explosion or accident -- you can't even get close to this object. Every man would die from the intense radiation...If you want to go in and assess it, it would mean victims that die. So I think that the Japanese showed the best national characteristics. The nation pulled together, reacted quickly and I think this protected the country from panic."

He was speaking at the launch of his book 'I was in the Chernobyl Sarcophagus'.

Tkachuk was responsible for the safety of the so-called "liquidators" who battled to stabilise Chernobyl after it blew up 25 years ago.

Recounting his experience, inside the Chernobyl nuclear site, he said, "Robots could not go in because the inside was completely destroyed and pathways were blocked. It had to be people...The chances of coming back were slim. We had already said goodbye to the world."

He recollected, "We immediately saw dust had fallen onto the floor. The walls were already starting to crumble. The site was gloomy and damp, and smoke swirled in the air. There were wave-like movements in the air, the air was even moving by itself. It was awful...We immediately felt pain in the throat -- the first sign of a high radiation dose -- and headaches, pressure in the head, very painful joints, especially the knees."

Conditions inside the nuclear site after it was covered by the hood, was said to be resembling a volcano. Temperatures were up to 60 degree celsius and the humidity made it almost impossible to breathe.

Among the four-men team one person died almost instantaneously while two others died a day later. Tkachuk, was the only one who came back alive and reported the situation underneath the wrecked nuclear site.

OneIndia News

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