Something happened on 25-26 April 1986, in a small town called Pripyat, 104km from Kiev- the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
A series of uncontrolled nuclear reactions took place in the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant during a late night security check when safety systems were intentionally set off. It is now, known as the most disastrous nuclear malfunction in history.
The Chernobyl disaster has caused a number of deaths due to radiation and a larger number of radiation-caused cancer cases. Numerous accounts have been narrated about the lies and secrecy that shrouded the event. But, in spite of all hidden behind the veil, it wouldn’t be wrong to call it one of the worst man-made disasters ever.
Horror – Story
Stories have been penned since then, until now. Stories of despair, poison, and loss. They narrate the pouring of black colored rain that tastes metallic and paints peeling off as water dripped down the walls. There are tales of hundreds of children going bald.
What did the victims do?
In such a horrific situation, people began finding indigenous solutions to counter the effects of the radiation. One of these measures was alcohol, more specifically the world famous Russian Vodka.
In the words of Zoya Sheftalovich, a survivor of the Chernobyl disaster- “Vodka already considered as quasi-medicinal, took on new importance. The more it burned the throat, they said, the better it was to treat the radiation poisoning.”
This fact has been researched by scientist and has been supported and negated equally.
On one hand, few claim that alcohol has an effect on reducing the growth of thyroid cancer. On the other hand, some studies indicate that it might increase the levels of gamma radiation. Apart from this medicinal debate, vodka was the livelihood of people. Petrol was bought with vodka, food was bought with vodka. Vodka was the currency and everyone was drunk all the time.
A lot more was said those days- taking iodine and wearing thick pants. Regardless of the horrors, the place has endured, Chernobyl is no stranger to tourism.
A new project called the Chernobyl VR, or Chernobyl Virtual is to be launched for a complete visit of the plant. It is for those who fear the consequences and those who live too far away. With the help of a 3-D helmet, one can scan the room and look at the components and places within the zone. It would be an absolute experience, with a shot of vodka of course!
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