Alpha, Beta, Gamma.

It is hard to find a partner for a night rides. Every time, I bring someone here, they ask why we crushing frogs in Chernie and not drinking beer in some cafe .. I was telling them that smoking two packs of cigarets in cafe can be more harmful for health then riding to Vilcha, they wanted to get hell out of here in any way. People think, this land is cursed.

I myself don't believe in stories about mutants or chernobyl snowman. To me it is an interesting place.

On outskirts of Vilcha, my new generation hand-held Geiger counter "inspector" read 109 mR/hr, town is located some 40 kms from reactor, in dirrection where the first radiactive clouds went to.

It is time to learn a couple of simple things about radiation types.

Ones that goes through us is called gamma radiation, it is cumulative, it adds up, so we can calculate what a damage it make for health. Gamma is almost identical X-rays. X-rays are human made, while gamma occurs in nature. It is also called a cosmic radiation. Everyone who flying high on plane exposed to the 25 mR/hr of cosmic radiation. Gamma is the toughest type of radiation for immediate problems. It is sort of invisible bullets that can kill in hours, alpha and beta on the other hand are alike to delayed-action mine. With breathing of radiactive dust, they getting inside of a human body, lodges there and in a few years expload with the cancer cells. A beta particle has more mass and less energy then gamma, so it doesn't penetrate matter as deeply. Alpha radiation generally can not travel 4-12cms (1-3 inches) before it stoped, so we can play billiard with balls of a pure plutonium. The dead cells on our skin will stop beta radiation, so even juggling with plutonium balls will be safe, just don't swollow them by mistake.

If we travel through the area, where radiation level do not exceed 100 mR/hr, then in one hour we'll receive the same dosage of gamma rays that receiving the passanger of plane Kiev-London duaring a few hours of their trip. I don't fly to London, so I can afford trips to Vilcha.

Unfortunately, we can not count the alpha and beta particles that we inhale, it is the major risk. In a first years after disaster it would be a suicide to ride here on open vehicle, but things changed since 1986, now radiation went in soil and live in cucumbers and mushrooms.

This days, to have geiger counter on greengrocery market is as useful as to have it here. There is no way to sell me a radiactive cucumber, because my friend "inspector" measure, alpha, beta, gamma and x-rays.

In any way, it's time to get out of here and continue our journey at the day light.

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Front page... ...Time to leave ... ... Wormwood ... The bread basket ... Coming to Vilcha ... Night Chernie ... Alpha, Beta, Gamma ... Gap on the map ... Nameless village ... Smirnoffka ... Perpetual president ... Grave of unknown soldier in unknown village ... In a capital of a Wolves Land ... Chimney and fridge ... Poleskoye downtown ... Saving the capital ... End of journey ...

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