Chernobyl 20th anniversary special in 2006
At. Vdj agreement, resolution. Easter. The. Name is synonymous with disaster. One of the biggest, disasters of, the century, a, place. Behind guarded, gates and. Under. Lock and key. There, are homes buried, beneath the earth big, tragedy for people. Others. Are abandoned. It. Was it was really horrible can. It imagine, what could happen with people if they wouldn't. Be wouldn't be evacuated, from here, yet. Thousands, still work here every day a great. Scope. Of work a great scope. And. Some, still, live here, how's your health, choosing. Not to leave the only home they've ever known. This. Is. Chernobyl. But, after number four I started to like you 98 different and for the first time in four years, American. Television news, cameras, were allowed here. A from, reacts a it's two miles three kilometers. Inside. The exclusion, zone. Just. Yards from the reactor, that, changed the world at the moment of the explosion. Their. Reactor. Cool was completely. Destroyed. And. Alter. The future of energy there's, no such thing as an unsafe, successful. Nuclear power plant here, and. In, our own backyard, good evening I'm Tom Abrams reporting, tonight from Chernobyl, Ukraine the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster. 20 years ago in. The next half hour you'll learn what has changed here in the last two decades and what is not you'll, meet some of the people who still live here refusing. To leave their homes and you'll, learn about the connection, between Chernobyl. And Houston. Our, journey begins in Kiev the capital, city. Of Ukraine. With. A population, about the size of Houston. It's, here we catch a ride. And. Travel. The narrow rural, unmarked roads. Nearly. Two hours to Chernobyl. There. Are checkpoints in and around the 19 miles surrounding, Chernobyl, site of the former Soviet, Union's most powerful. Nuclear plant, it's. Off-limits to, most. But. After months of negotiations. With two governments, we were finally allowed access. Inside. The exclusion, zone and, have close to reactor, number four it. Was here on April. 26th. 1986. During. A test at, 1:23. In the morning there. Was an explosion, so powerful, it blew the top off of, the reactor, cool it. Was like this yeah, it, happened. Like. That yeah. So. These. 300,000, tons right. - yeah. I'm. Sure no escape at least and. C-56. Died including. Firefighters, and workers, at the plant, hundreds. Of thousands, more suffered, long-term health, problems it, was it was really horrible. Alexander. Litvinenko, lived in Kiev just 80 miles from the plan the, information. Was you know spread and very very fast he remembers the confusion, many people immediately, said oh yeah. Something. Happened at Chernobyl he, remembers the government silence, for days so, no one knew what happened much. But. It. Was something. Serious, 91. Thousand, were uprooted, and moved from their homes most.
Of Them from here, the, town of prypiat. The, 47,000. People who lived here in prypiat were evacuated. On April 27th, 1986. That, was one day after the accident they, were told they would be gone for three days to leave all of their belongings here, they. Never came back. This. Is original, Soviet film of the prypiat evacuation. The woman, you hear is on the radio giving evacuees, instructions. About, what to do. This. Is a full day after, the accident and the, Soviet still haven't notified the rest of the world. They. Never knew how bad the accident, really was until, they were told the. Government never allowed them to come back home in, just about any town you'll find a library where the people who live there can, go and learn about their history in prypiat. This, is what's left of the library, where. History stopped 20, years ago curious. Just, to be in the place where nobody lives at all and no physical destruction of the houses fresh. Here. Everything. Looks like clean but this device, doesn't. Lie. The, device which tracks radiation, levels is in fact called a prypiat meter named. For this abandoned, city nearby. There are 150. Villages which no longer exist, some. Of them are literally, buried underground. We. Found one of them about three miles from the reactor, this. Small hill right here used, to be somebody's house about. A week after the accident at Chernobyl officials. There decided to evacuate this village about a thousand, people lived here they, immediately left and they, buried their homes we. Are just about two miles from the reactor, site a big. Tragedy that twenty years later still, haunts this place. But. Contrary, to what most people believe Chernobyl. Is not entirely abandoned. Incredibly. There are people who still live and work here. When. We come back kocoum what, you'll meet a woman who lives off the food she, grows just miles from the reactor, the problem, is that. It is in. Chernobyl. And, you'll learn why the reactor, itself needs. A billion-dollar fix. You. Maria. Chillon lives alone on her farm. Calling. This to room house her home for most of her life it's. It's only three miles from the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, you, wouldn't live anywhere else. No. No that's, why you're welcome always, her. Husband, and Sons are dead. And. So she works the land alone, surviving. On the food she grows and, the animals she breeds how's, your health State. I do Dean I am old what kind of help could I have if, you're young and you're healthy if, you're old, she's. One of around 500, people who live inside the exclusion, zone seemingly. Still healthy at age 76. She, is up every morning by 5:30, in bed, by 8:00 o'clock each night. She. Left for a year in 1986. But came back and stayed because. Like the others who live here this was the only home she knew. Where. Will I go now, she has never visited the plant never, seen the hastily built protective, shell that now covers reactor, number four time, is, a very important, factor, it, took two hundred six days and nights and 90,000. People to build it emits the ever-present radiation. The problem, is that, it is in, Chernobyl. Another. 600,000. People cleaned, the sign under horrible conditions, many. Of them teenage. Soldiers, not, given a choice, sometimes, they refuse out to whisper it they, removed and contained a thousands, of tons of radioactive material. The explosion, left behind and in, this video taken, not long after the accident you're, watching them on the roof of reactor, 4 receiving. A lifetime, dose of radiation, in less. Than three minutes only. 25%. Of. Inner rooms, are, accessible. Chernobyl. Had for working reactors, in 1986. Three, kept providing power even, after the accident and the last of them didn't shut down until the year 2000.
Reactors. 5 and 6 which would have made Chernobyl, the largest nuclear facility, in Europe stopped, construction after, the accident and still. Sit half, built and abandoned. About, 3,800. People still. Work here full-time. Their. Job is to decommission. The plant hanging. Over them though is the, fear, of another, disaster, two, decades after it was built the protective, cover over reactor, four could. Cause another, catastrophe, after nearly 20 years the object, shelter or the sarcophagus. That covers the accident, site is deteriorating. Badly it's no longer safe so, it needs to be reinforced. At a new shelter much bigger needs, to be put on top of it a dangerous. And daunting, task that, involves 29, countries and will, cost more than a billion dollars, a great. Scope. Of work and crates, Co the. New structure which will fit over the old one should. Look something like this, it's. 12 pieces rolled, into place on Rails. This very structured, look is the largest, movable, structure. In the world it, will be built as early as, 2008. There was no experience, in the world to. Build such, a huge, structure. Right. Now there are 4,000, workers who are stabilizing, the decaying shelter, before the new work can begin there. Are also teams, of scientists, is constantly, monitoring, the air in and around the shelter two. Times a day they check radiation, levels sprinklers. Inside the reactor, regularly, help suppress radioactive. Dust the, cameras, capturing this never-before-seen, video are remote. Control, a. Lot. Of the work done here is by remote control, and by, one-of-a-kind. Chernobyl. Design. Robots. There. Because, the air inside the reactor, still contains incredible, levels of caesium strontium. Plutonium. Uranium europium. And. Curium. There. Are more of those radioactive, elements, here than, anywhere, else in the world that's. Not to mention the solid mass of radioactive waste that lies, in the bottom of the core. Everything. Melted the, temperature, was very high there, and metal concrete. Everything. Mixed into one fuel, containing, material, and since 1988, the labs here have studied the long-term radiological. Effects of Chernobyl on, plants, and animals. And, water, but. What about people it's the question most often really asked and challenged, is what, were the real numbers, in, just a minute you'll see the Houston connection, to Chernobyl yeah. Priya, gypsy war my first thoughts, where, how, to preserve, the children, you'll, learn how local, doctors have been at the forefront of Chernobyl, research and. Your mom met with your mom and and, you'll find out why they compared the long-term social fallout, from Chernobyl, to, our country's, most, recent, disaster. These, are the faces of Chernobyl, every. One of them on a list all. Of them suffering, and there. Are thousands. This, year Ukraine will spend two hundred and seventeen million dollars taking. Care of Chernobyl, survivors, we've, had about seven million people, affected by. The. Fog that you, know when from Chernobyl, on, to, the north and into, the northwest. So. All the way up to Sweden, the, fallout did spread across, northern, than southern, Europe eventually. Even reaching the United States the. Three countries most affected were, what are now Ukraine. Russia. And Belarus, more. Than 350,000. People from those countries left, their homes more. Than 4,000, of them relocated. Here to the city of Houston, and this, is where Believe It or Not a team of scientists, actually kept track of more. Than a thousand, Chernobyl of a qyz and their, long-term he'll, be, a gypsy war that idea came from dr. Elizabeth vane Ruth Stalin, doumitt atomic, bomb or with, those thoughts where, how, to preserve, the, children, their. Lives and. Their health because. I knew. The.
Effects. Of radiation. Her. Work began in Ukraine, with children from Pripyat the, abandoned, town just three miles from the Chernobyl plant. Stay. Young as five. Years we evaluated. The condition, of the children. We. Followed, that those children and I understood, that we need to have the program. She. Later brought that work to Houston contacting. The Baylor College of Medicine and, a team of doctors she's, really what I guess we would call today. An. Advocate, together, they build a registry, keeping, track of Chernobyl, survivors, who immigrated, to the United States that. Registry, is available, online at, this website a clearinghouse. Of Chernobyl information, and the effects of long-term radiation, exposure. But. Neither they nor anyone, else who studies Chernobyl, knows, the total number of those whose health the accident, directly, affected, they, estimated. At more than a million at, the market Elizabeth, debate a problem, a it's a problem that is not resolved. And then it's, my wish that, it, would continue the. Scientists, and medical community, would continue, to work in this area, to. Solve the problem, see how the, outcomes, of Chernobyl, can, help, in the future it's very important, to follow these people over time because many of the effects will be late effects when. You say late effects what do you mean occurring, maybe 20. Years or more after the actual exposure. The. Sick are just a fraction of those who will never go home and so the long-term social. And financial burden. On the affected, countries is. Still overwhelming. Governments. And as, well as the public themselves need, to understand, that being in an area where you could encounter, a disaster. Natural, or not otherwise. Makes. Planning, very, critical. It, reminds, the researchers, of our own disaster, for which there was seemingly, no plan. To. Treat it. And. Your mom's wish. Houston. Is now home with thousands, who can't go back to. Their. No man's land. They, are unwittingly stressing, our schools our hospitals. Our. Public. Safety. How are we going to help them get. Healthy, mentally. Physically. You, know emotional, just you know society needs to realize that if, we don't the. Toll will become or. In some ways unmanage what we'll lose again a great opportunity to help people and learn how to manage these kind of disasters, in the future. And. The. Blame for both it. Is similar to where. There's a fault line a. You. Know from human ear to political. Problems. To lack. Of information. So. What impact is Chernobyl have on the future of nuclear energy in our country we, don't want it to be forgotten. I'll. Say four nuclear plants in the u.s. there have been many lessons, learned, we'll take you to the reactors, in our own backyard, this plan is very secure, when we return. We've, shown you what the accident, at Chernobyl did, how changed, lives or. Ended them. But. 20 years later Chernobyl, really is a world away in Eastern. Europe the place few of us will ever visit, so. What does that accident, really mean for those of us here in Texas, and how, did it affect the future of nuclear energy given.
That Our need for power will increase by, 50 percent in the, next 20 years we, took, those questions, here to, Houston's closest, nuclear power plant this, is the South Texas project in Matagorda County this. Nuclear facility, alone produces, enough power for 1.5. Million, people. Known. Was still under construction when Chernobyl reactor number, 4, exploded. We obviously studied, the lessons learned from Chernobyl, it, started generating electricity from its two reactors, in 1988. And 1989. We. Produce safe. Clean. Reliable power from, the start it was very, different from the Chernobyl design, the differences, in the design are very. Key that core was inherently, unstable between, zero and twenty percent power the people who operated that plant were, rushed to get a test done and violated. Safety limits and operated out of their safe operating, envelope. We. Practice safety and everything we do 24. Hours a day seven, days a week 365, days, a year there's no such thing as an unsafe, successful. Nuclear power plant. A big. Difference at STP, and other US plants, is the containment facility. Chernobyl. Had none at. Least not until after the accident, STP. Has one around each reactor, so, that if an accident ever does happen, radioactivity. Wouldn't. Leave the reactor that, containment goes 200 feet in the air 150. Feet, in diameter and it's 5 has walls that are 5 feet thick and, that also protects, the plant from terrorism, since, 9/11, the nuclear energy industry has invested more than 1.2. Billion dollars in added security and, it has added 5,000. Guards to it 65, plants nationwide. Also. Since 2001. The Bush administration. Has, spent 10 billion, dollars on developing nuclear and other alternative, forms of energy keeping. America competitive requires, affordable, energy in. January, the president promised that, even more of your tax dollars will. Go towards those resources, to. Change how we power our homes and offices we, will invest more in zero emission, coal-fired, plants. Revolutionary. Solar and wind technologies. And clean, safe nuclear energy. We're. Going to need all the energy sources, we can get our hands on skip Bowman is the president, of the Nuclear Energy Institute in, Washington DC he. Says that nuclear energy must, be a part of our country's future. 20%. Of our energy right, now comes, from nuclear plant, compare. That to France, where. It's 80 percent or to India which is building 30 new plants, as is. China which, also sees the need to increase, its overall power supply, the. US has not gone online with a new plant in more than a decade and, Bowman. Obviously, agrees that. Has to change you know that our national. Security is, inextricably, linked. To a very strong energy security, and that we will not have a strong energy security, in this country without nuclear being, a part of the mix so let's. See, I'm connecting, the palm then there is Alexander, Litvinenko city. Was washed out, 24. Hours a day who remembers an empty Kiev for three months when women and children were sent south to, cities like Odessa. So. They would avoid radiation, exposure or it was. Greatest. Disaster, I think it was probably a disaster, of one, of the biggest, disasters of the century, there's.
A Several wires which connect, us to the temperature. Sensor, now. He works at the University of Houston Energy Materials using. Optical. Techniques a physicist. Who is a big proponent of nuclear energy if, you think globally. There's. Not. Much alternative. Despite. Chernobyl. Somehow. I'm. Not afraid, not. Afraid but. Not forgetful. Either of, what it did to his homeland. Then. Again who. Could forget.