The head of operations in high danger areas has revealed more details about elimination of the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of April 1986. Major-General (Ret) Nikolai Tarakanov told a news conference in RIA Novosti on Friday that soldiers had to remove from the roofs of the first, second and third generating units uranium dioxide, fragments of the nuclear fuel scattered by the explosion. The amount accumulated on the roofs totaled about 50 per cent of the fuel. Radiation there ranged between 800 and 7,000 roentgen/hours. According to him, the entire procedure took 2 weeks, with the result that 170 tonnes of fuel, graphite and waste was collected from the roofs and buried at special sites. The job was done by volunteer soldiers who, in the general's opinion, performed a "heroic feat". Each of them, wearing protective clothing that weighed 26 kilogrammes and was made of lead plates torn down from office walls at the station, did a 2-3 minute stint on the roof, putting the fuel in special containers. Tarakanov noted that although every soldier did the operation only once, some of them developed radiation sickness and later died. With the fuel removed from the roofs of the generating sets, 32 cadets from fire-fighting colleges washed everything with water from special hydrants. "The soldiers and firemen performed a real feat of valour," the general emphasised. Also, Tarakanov said that soldiers had to cut off all foliage from trees and bushes in Kiev and take it to a special burial ground near Chernobyl. After that, he concluded, the city was washed up 33 times.
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