Sa, 4.02.2023
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Estonia's veterans of Chernobyl

Estonia's veterans of Chernobyl
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Photo: Sander Ilvest / Postimees
  • From Estonia, 4,833 men were sent to liquidate effects of Chernobyl nuclear disaster, mainly aged 20–39. Most were dispatched under aegis of army reservist training.  
  • 85 percent of the men were on location for three to four months while the rules were two months max.
  • The men performed transport, building, and demolition works, separated the contaminated soil with spades and participated in building the broken sarcophagus of the reactor.  
  • The main protective measure was a cotton-muslin mask, but many did not even wear that. 30–40 percent of the men were given iodine preparations, but often with delays.
  • 87 percent of those sent to Chernobyl had officially registered doses of radiation, entered into army service certificate or military list. All received a very large dose of radiation while not confirmed by official data. Most who went there got twice the radiation of a usual lifespan.
  • 2008–2013 a mental health survey was conducted among Estonian veterans revealing that up to 40 percent was suffering from mood or anxiety issues, or had problems with alcohol.
  • As at beginning of 2015, up to 3,000 Chernobyl veterans were dwelling in Estonia.

Source: Estonian Chernobyl Society