The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and the Zone of Compulsory and Unconditional Resettlement suffered from a great radioactive contamination as the result of the accident at Chernobyl NPP in 1986. It is forbidden to live in this territory, visits and human activities here are limited.
During the liquidation of the catastrophic consequences, the circle of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was formed. The population was evacuated from this circle during 1986-1988 and the Zone of Compulsory and Unconditional Resettlement was included into the list of places contaminated by long living radionuclides: isotopes of cesium (Cs), strontium (Sr) and plutonium (Pu).
The Chernobyl Zone works under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine. The implementation of all the state agenda is carried out by the Ukrainian State Agency of the Exclusion Zone Control.
The agenda of visitors and personnel and their activities on the territories of the zones are regulated by the Ukrainian Law “About the legal regime on the territory that suffered from the radioactive contamination during the Chernobyl catastrophe”.
Living or long-term stay on the territory of the contaminated Exclusion Zone is forbidden.
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and the Zone of Compulsory and Unconditional Resettlement are surrounded by special fence 440 kilometers long. Those lands are excluded from the cadastral list and included into radiation dangerous category. The external border of the Exclusion Zone is a patrolled territory of the border between Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus. The length of the border between two states that is located on the territory of the Exclusion Zone is 155 kilometers.
The Exclusion Zone borders were created by the special chemical troops of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR that arrived at the liquidation of the consequences of the ChNPP accident. From April 27, 1986, the 122nd military squad formed the 10-kilometer zone around the plant, that later on was extended to 30 kilometers. Radiation was measured regularly, firstly on 29 spots, later on, 750 ones.
The Western border of the Zone was substantially extended. The evacuation of the population from the zone of radioactive contamination started in the late April – early May 1986, the building of the fence happened in June 1986 by border forces of KGB of the USSR. It was constructed according to the standards of regular state border fence.
The evacuation from the Zone of Compulsory and Unconditional Resettlement that was formed later continued till the end of 1998.
After full diametric prospecting the exact border of the contaminated territories was formed, so the nominal borders were abolished.
At the present time, there are three sectors in the Exclusion Zone the Zone of Compulsory and Unconditional Resettlement: sanitary protected sector (the former 10-kilometer zone), buffer sector (the former 30-kilometer Zone) and the town of Chernobyl.
Today the State Agency controls the regime territory with the area of 2598 sq.km and more the 90 abandoned towns and villages:
- The total area of the Exclusion Zone is 2044 sq.km and it consists of 76 towns and villages
- The area of the Zone of Compulsory and Unconditional Resettlement is 554 sq. km and it has 18 abandoned towns and villages
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has about 100 ‘self-settlers’ – people who came back to their homes despite the evacuation and bans. Most of them live in small communities in Chernobyl town, Paryshev, and Kupovate villages.
The Zone has 5 dosimetric checkpoints and 9 entrance checkpoints where the visitors and the workers proceed through the document check and follow the compulsory dosimetric control of their clothes and personal belongings when they want to leave the Exclusion Zone.
The Exclusion Zone has three graveyards of buried radioactive waste, that can be exploited for 300 years. Those are PZRO ‘BURYAKOVKA’, PZRO ‘The 3rd line’ and PRZO ‘Podlyesnuy’.
There are also nine temporary locations of low-active waste, main of them are PVLRO ‘Red forest’, PVLRO ‘Sand Plato’, PVLRO ‘Yanov’.
The following objects are located in the sanitary zone: the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the enterprises working on the radioactive waste maintenance: PZRO, PVLRO, storage of nuclear fuel waste, a special enterprise for the management of radioactive waste and materials.
The estimated volume of radioactive materials and waste in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, not counting the waste inside the 'Confinement' is more than 2,7 millions cube meters.