My Chernobyl memory

Kurchatov Institute were summoned to the power plant in the hours and days after the disaster. At first, they crunched numbers in Moscow to see if they were all going to die basically. But in the hours and days after, they flew down to the Ukraine to help in the assessment and recovery. One of the guys, the name I forget, was manning a checkpoint outside of the radiation zone. He recalls the days the Politburo drove in in their Zil limos (a very popular status symbol in Soviet Russia). He stopped them and said “you cannot go in there” but they were like “We are the Politboro–we can go anyway” and they drove off. On the way back, he stopped them again, but this time with a vehicle across the road. He said “you can’t take these cars out of here” and they were furious. He then ran a geiger counter along the cars and the needle went absolutely crazy. He said “you can take the cars, but you won’t live that long in them.” Needless to say, they didn’t take the cars, and supposedly today you can see the Zil’s in the piles of abandoned and contaminated equipment. The second story dealt with Dr. Evgeny Pavlovich Velikhov, the leader of the Kurchatov Institute and Putin’s current science advisor. Velikhov left Moscow telling his wife he would be gone for three days. He came back about six months laters, with a large bowl of strawberries to please his furious wife. She met him at the door, and said “I know where those strawberries came from and they are not coming in my house” (fearing they were contaminated. Velikhov scoffed “are you going to sleep with me woman?” “Of course,” she replied, “you are my husband.” Velikhov then ran a geiger counter over the strawberries….click-click-click. He then ran it over himself–click-click-click-click-click-click. “Eat the damn strawberries” he said walking into the house. Anyway, urban legends? I don’t know, but a couple of stories for the Chernobyl anniversery.]]>

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