11.06.2020

Burial grounds of the exclusion zone

Temporary and permanent radioactive waste disposal sites in the area

Photo and video

 

In previous articles, we have already told you about the largest burial grounds in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Today we will tell you about how many such burial grounds were from the very beginning. We will talk about what PZRO and PVLRO are and what is their difference, and also tell you where the equipment has gone from the territory of those same burial grounds.


First, let's try to figure out what PZRO and PVLRO are. PZRO is an abbreviation. It is translated as follows: Radioactive Waste Disposal Point. That is, the repository is meant, in whose territory radioactive material is buried on an ongoing basis and for a long period of time. Such burial grounds were created using special technologies so that the radionuclides could not get into the soil or into the aquifer. Today in the Chernobyl zone there are three large disposal sites for radioactive waste. These are PZRO "Buryakovka", PZRO "Podlesny" and PZRO "Third turn". We already wrote about them separately in our blog.


Now let's clarify what PVLRO is. As it was no longer difficult to guess, this is also an abbreviation. Point of Temporary Localization of Radioactive Waste. In this context, the word "temporary" localization should have turned your attention. During the liquidation of the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, a lot of territories and facilities were exposed to powerful pollution. To make it clearer what we are talking about, here are a few examples of such "temporary" burial grounds. For example, when the burial of the Red Forest was carried out, long and wide trenches were created in the ground, into which then trees affected by radiation were dumped. Or several villages buried underground, which were also buried in trenches in the ground. Such burials were carried out, roughly speaking in haste and without the use of technologies to protect the soil from the penetration of radionuclides. Why is that? This, in principle, can be explained by the fact that during the liquidation it was necessary to solve more important issues, or simply at that time it was not possible to do otherwise.


According to the logic of things, PVLRO over time should be reburied in special burial grounds, that is, they should become permanent from the "temporary" class, that is, become PZRO. But due to the fact that in due time they failed to carry out high-quality decontamination for various reasons, the Chernobyl exclusion zone, especially the ten-kilometer zone turned into an eternal burial ground. Of course, one can say for a long time and much that progress over 34 years has gone far ahead and that special means and methods of decontamination already exist today, but this is unlikely to help in any way. Why hardly? The thing is that after decontamination, a huge amount of radioactive substances still remains in the soil. Every year they seep deeper and deeper into the earth. As a result, it becomes simply not advisable to conduct cleaning of the territory of the zone due to the large resource costs.


As for the number of such temporary burial grounds, already in 87-88 their number reached several hundred throughout the territory of the exclusion zone. The thing is that there were a lot of contaminated objects and burials were carried out locally. It happened that the liquidators simply forgot to make marks on the maps where this or that burial took place.

 

From the very beginning, when creating the exclusion zone, the question also arose of creating special places where less contaminated equipment will be stored. A technique that has become unsuitable for human use due to radiation pollution. Such places were called sedimentation tanks. Sumps appeared almost throughout the zone. Equipment that did not succumb to decontamination at special sanitation facilities (PUSO) was sent to an eternal parking in the open air at such a sump until there was no decision what to do next. Previously, contaminated equipment was removed equipment and spare parts that could be used for use in the repair of still existing machines and assemblies. In fact, already dismantled transport was sent to the sump.

Of these sedimentation tanks, several large ones can be noted. PVLRO "Lelev", PVLRO "Buryakovka" and, perhaps, the most famous is PVLRO "Rassokha".


It was at Rassokh that at one time a huge amount of military equipment, fire trucks, trucks and military helicopters were sent.


Often our tourists ask if they will see this place. Unfortunately, or fortunately, this place, like many others, no longer exists. The thing is that already in the 90s, the sedimentation tank "Rassokha" began to actively succumb to attacks by marauders or the so-called "metalworkers". The huge amount of non-ferrous metal in the remains of the aggregates attracted the near-by amateurs of easy money to these places. The most amazing thing is that they were not afraid of the fact that the metal that they so want to steal is life-threatening. After a while, such sedimentation tanks began to turn into landfills. At every step there were pieces of spare parts lying around, and the equipment already resembled gnawed skeletons that metalworkers worked on.


After the decision was made to eliminate the sedimentation tanks of contaminated equipment, these territories became a history that can only be preserved in memory and photographs. Over time, many sedimentation tanks ceased to exist, and what was left of low-phoning equipment was sent for decontamination and subsequently for re-melting. What really was dirty and did not give in to decontamination can still be found on such temporary sedimentation tanks. For example - the Joker robot. It is still located on the territory of the Buryakovka PVLRO.