How was this area cleaned up after the accident?
Emergency workers (liquidators) were drafted into the area and helped to clean up the plantpremises and the surrounding area. These workers were mostly plant employees, Ukrainian fire-fighters plus many soldiers and miners from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and other parts of the formerSoviet Union. The exact number of liquidators is unknown because there are no completelyaccurate records of the people involved in the clean-up. The Russian registries list approximately400,000 liquidators as of 1991 and approximately 600,000 people were granted the status of“liquidator”. These 600,000 individuals received special benefits because of their involvement, on-and off-site, in tackling the accident’s aftermath.The duties of the liquidators varied. They worked on decontamination and major constructionprojects, including the establishment of settlements and towns for plant workers and evacuees.They also built waste repositories, dams, water filtration systems and the “sarcophagus”, whichentombs the entire fourth reactor to contain the remaining radioactive material.
Was the rest of Europe/the world affected?
Scandinavian countries and other parts of the world were affected by the radioactive releases fromChernobyl. Caesium and other radioactive isotopes were blown by wind northward into Swedenand Finland and over other parts of the northern hemisphere to some extent. During the first threeweeks after the accident, the level of radiation in the atmosphere in several places around the globewas above normal; but these levels quickly receded. No studies have been able to point to a directlink between Chernobyl and increased cancer risks or other health problems outside theimmediately affected republics of Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation.
What happened to the environment and animals after the accident?
Mutations did occur in plants and animals after the plant explosion. Leaves changed shape andsome animals were born with physical deformities. Despite the increased radiation levels, rarespecies are now returning in large numbers to the area. These animals include beavers, moose,wolves and wild boar, plus species of birds.