Abandoned landfill "Chistogalovka"

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Ruins of science in the Chernobyl exclusion zone

After the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the exclusion zone, from 1987 until the end of the 90s, scientific activity was actively developed in the territories of the ten kilometer zone. To study the biological properties of Chernobyl radionuclides by scientists - their migration in soil, the accumulation of plants and animals from 1987-1988, several experimental polygons were created around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Since the properties of radioactive substances, both physical and chemical, were unique, Soviet science threw considerable human potential into the study of the consequences of the disaster. Scientists from Moscow, Obninsk, Kiev and, of course, Chernobyl worked at the created training grounds.

Scientists studied purely practical problems at the local training grounds. Researchers tested various agronomic techniques in order to reduce the accumulation of cesium-137 and strontium-90 by agricultural plants and animals. One of these training grounds, created specifically for such tasks, was the Chistogalovka training ground. The landfill got its name because of the village near which it was created. Residents of the village of Chistogalovka were evacuated a week after the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on May 3, 1986, and the estates and other rural buildings were destroyed and buried with special engineering equipment. Today, the village is reminded of only the rare remains of rotten hedges, and rural gardens overgrown with shrubs.

The landfill itself was 2 kilometers west of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and 17 kilometers northwest of the city of Chernobyl. The location of the landfill was not chosen by chance. An important factor for the placement of the landfill was to prevent exposure to scientists. The landfill is located outside the site of the Red Forest. In turn, this arrangement excluded radiation exposure to scientists, but at the same time the site had the highest levels of soil contamination with radionuclides. In fact, the Chistogalovka landfill is located at the beginning of the Western Radioactive Trace. Thus, the site is located in one of the most polluted areas of the zone - in the heart of the western footprint. It should be noted that the western track stretches across all western parts of Ukraine and reaches the borders of Poland.

The Chistogalovka landfill was created in the early 90's. The fencing for the landfill was created in the form of a fence made of netting netting, which enclosed the inside and was executed in two contours. Such precautions have been taken to protect crops from wild animals. Inside the circuit, several experimental plots were located, on which experiments were carried out. Scientists grew mainly cereals - oats, barley, and fodder - corn, potatoes, ryegrass, etc. Scientists experimented with fertilizers and various chemicals, trying to reduce the flow of cesium into straw and grain. The landfill also contained animals - cows, and also housed an experimental apiary.


Based on the experiments carried out at the Chistogalovka training ground, scientists developed whole complexes of measures to restore part of the exclusion zone and obtain clean feed and agricultural products.
The photo above shows the view of the experimental plots during the experiments, as well as a team of scientists who worked at the test site. The photos demonstrate scientific activity at the Chistogalovka training ground in 1996-1997.

As in all Chernobyl areas with a general decline in scientific activity on Chernobyl issues and the cessation of funding for science in the exclusion zone, over time the Chistogalovka training ground was abandoned. The general decline in state interest in scientific research in the exclusion zone is more likely due to a lack of understanding of the need for such activities. Under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Emergencies, the exclusion zone is more likely to be considered by officials as a place of a man-made disaster, and not as a unique scientific training ground.

Modern views of the state of the Chistogalovka research site are vivid evidence of this. The photos presented above were taken in October 2010. Today, studies in the Chernobyl zone are conducted mainly by foreign scientists, who are supported by local ecologists in private. Most of the landfills in the exclusion zone are abandoned, and instead of them, small research sites have been created scattered throughout the ChEZ territory.

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