MOSCOW, April 26. /TASS/. More than 1.7 million people, living in Russia, have been exposed to radiation as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Russian emergencies ministry’s press service told TASS.
"Out of the 1.7 million residents of Russia, exposed to radiation as a result of the disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, 1.5 million are residents of radiation-polluted territories in 14 regions of the country or those who resettled from those areas to other zones. Other 125,000 people took part in the post-disaster relief effort," the ministry said.
Social support to those affected by the Chernobyl disaster is provided on the basis of documents, issued by the Russian Emergencies Ministry. Last year, the ministry issued over 10,000 such documents, including to 9,000 who reside in polluted areas or have left them in the wake of the disaster.
The meltdown at the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant occurred in the small hours of April 26, 1986. More than 140,000 square kilometers of land, first and foremost, in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, became contaminated.
Around 115,000 people were evacuated from the 30-kilometer zone of exclusion.
The subsequent clean-up operation involved more than 600,000 people, about ten percent of whom died, and 165,000 became disabled. Thanks to the dedicated work of the disaster’s responders coming from all over the Soviet Union, a concrete structure covering the nuclear reactor No. 4 - known as the Shelter Object - was installed in November 1986.
In Russia, over 59,000 square meters of land, including 2 million hectares of agricultural land and about 1 million hectares of forest, were polluted with radiation. The affected territories were home to about 3 million people, 52,000 of them were resettled.
The United Nations has proclaimed April 26 International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.