Studies Inside Exclusion Zone Today

The 30-kilometer exclusion zone has become an open-air laboratory for many scientists. The unique location attracts both nuclear physicists, who can study the effects of a nuclear explosion, as well as botanists and biologists who focus on the diversity of the local natural world.


For radiation research, a special Chernobyl Center for Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste and Radioecology has been created, which is subordinate to the State Agency of Ukraine for the Management of the ChEZ. The center was established with the assistance of the US Department of Energy and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), which are also involved in research.


It deals with issues of nuclear and radiation safety, radioecology and radiobiology, manages the disposal of radioactive waste, and also strengthens the "Sarcophagus" over the remains of the fourth reactor.


In addition, the center monitors the radiation state in the exclusion zone, in particular, it measures the dose rate of gamma radiation and the volumetric activity of cesium-137 in the city of Chernobyl, at the Dityatki checkpoint and at the industrial site near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The Pripyat River is also studied here: scientists measure the level and flow of water, the specific activity of radionuclides and the activity of strontium-90.


As a result of such monitoring, the zone into areas with different levels of radiation and methods for containing pollution within the zone are developed so that the surrounding areas remain safe.


The center's workers also study “the transformation of urbanized ecosystems under the influence of accident factors”, in other words, they look at the example of the city of Pripyat as a settlement changes due to radiation pollution due to an accident or a terrorist act.


The main center for studying the natural complexes of Polesie, its landscapes, as well as the gene pool of flora and fauna, has become the Chernobyl Radiation and Environmental Biosphere Reserve. In addition to preserving the local flora and fauna, they are engaged in ecological monitoring of the environment, they carry out an inventory of representatives of flora and fauna. Scientists develop, on the basis of observations, recommendations for the preservation of rare species of plants and animals, write about the nuances of the restoration of natural ecosystems.


The focus of researchers is on large predators and ungulates, which in recent years have significantly increased in areas abandoned by humans. In addition to studying brown bears, lynxes, wolves, elks, deer and roe deer, scientists observe the unique free population of Przewalski's horses, which were introduced to the zone in the 90s.


The largest proportion of visitors to the zone are foreign scientists - they come from all over the world to help overcome the consequences of the disaster. The main supplier of such researchers is the International Atomic Energy Agency, which was created to strengthen cooperation between countries in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and has developed many reports on the causes of the Chernobyl accident.

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