[ARROW] Clean-up Efforts
In the Chernobyl explosion, many different radioactive isotopes were released. Below is a chart of data collected from soil samples on March 17, 1986 north of Chernobyl and within the 30 km safety zone.

Table-1 Data from radiometric measurements of soil samples on 17 May 1986 on the northern path of fallout within the limits of the 30 km zone

Radionuclide Content in Sample (%) Specific Activity (Bq/g)

Cerium-141 15.8 3200
Tellurium-132 1.7 340
Iodine-131 15.8 3100
Ruthenium-103 17.3 3500
Ruthenium-106 4.6 960
Cesium-134 7.7 1600
Cesium-137 8.3 1700
Zirconium-95 19.8 4000
Barium-140 9.0 1800

At the nuclear power station itself, several attempts were made to clear away and contain chunks of graphite and other radioactive solids. Robots with transistors were first sent in, but they malfunctioned because transistors are unable to work properly in radioactive environments. The robots would often crash into walls or each other. Since this did not work, they had to send in volunteers. They were only allowed to be in the power station for 90 seconds or less. In 20-60 minutes at the power statio n, radiation would have overwhelmed the nervous system and subsequently killed anyone as close as these volunteers were. The radiation levels were 15,000 times greater than a normal person's exposure in a year. [24]

Picture-2 Special chemicals were sprayed on streets to immobilize radioactive particles to prevent further contamination.
[Cleaning the streets with a special chemical]

Farther away from the nuclear power plant, in the cities of Chernobyl, Pripyat and other neighboring cities and towns, lighter nuclear particles came to a landing after drifting from the plant. Lighter particles fell even farther, and the lightest radioa ctive particles stayed airborne for days forming an aerosole. [25]

[Worker washing down a contaminated building with special chemicals] [Worker washing down a truck]
Picture-3 A worker washes a contaminated building in Pripyat Picture-4 German workers wash down a truck on its arrival to the border between East and West Germany after the discovery of radioactive contamination.

The decontamination process took place from May until the beginning of winter, 1986. Any movable objects near the plant were buried; cars, trucks, and even topsoil. Some 60,000 buildings had to be washed with special chemicals, and even some roofs had to be replaced. A special solution was sprayed throughout the danger zone on streets and walkways to prevent radioactive dust from blowing and further contaminating the area. Nearby trees that had absorbed the radiation were all cut down and buried in co ncrete pits. [26]

Picture-5 Any contaminated dirt near the destroyed nuclear power station had to be removed.
[Contaminated soil was removed]

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