Atomic Plant

Usually, on this leg of the journey, a beeping Geiger counter inspires one to shift into high gear and streak through the area with great haste. The patch of trees in front of me is called red, or "magic" wood. In 1986 this wood "glowed red" with radiation. They cut the trees down and buried them under one meter of earth.

The readings on the asphalt paving is 500 - 3,000 microroentgens, depending upon where you stand. That is 50 to 300 times the radiation measured in a normal environment. If I step 10 meters forward, the Geiger counter will run off the scale. If I walk a few hundred meters towards the reactor, the radiation is three roentgens per hour...which is 300,000 times normal radiation levels. If I was to keep walking all the way to the reactor, I would glow in the dark tonight. Maybe this is why they call it magic wood. It is sort of magical when one walks in with biker's leather and walks out like a knight in shining armor.

This is Atomic Power Plant territory. The Geiger counter reading here is also 500 - 3,000 microroentgens per hour.

Atomic Power Plant Territory

The plant was permanently closed in 2000. They must build a new sarcophagus soon, because the original one was hastily constructed and is disintegrating.

Only a very small amount of radiation from inside the plant has so far escaped. Most scientists believe that more then 90% of the radioactive sources are still under the sarcophagus. The radioactive fuel remains have been named "The Elephant Foot," it because of its distinctive shape. About 190 tons of uranium and one ton of really dangerous Plutonium is still present, so if the big, bad, nuclear elephant ever sets its foot out, we'll be in very big trouble...

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