Since one of the worst-ever nuclear disasters occurred at the plant in 1986, it has been dangerously contaminated with radioactivity. Chernobyl was taken over by Russian forces on February 24, the first day of the invasion, prompting international concern. Ukraine retook control last week after Russia retreated from the areas surrounding Kyiv.
Valeriy Simyonov, the chief safety engineer at Chernobyl, told The New York Times that Russian troops who took over the plant "came and did whatever they wanted" in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. He said the Russian military brought its own nuclear experts to the plant but their advice was not always taken.
Russians absolutely love not listening to the advice of nuclear experts. Hell, that was one of the main takeaways from the Chernobyl docuseries on HBO. The experts were saying, "folks, hold on to your dicks. This is gonna be bad." And the response from the Russian government was "eh." Instead of the Russian government, as far as we know, it was the commanders on the ground that were being all willy-nilly with the nuclear waste that is still littering the area.
In fact, one Russian soldier was so careless about the nuclear waste that he picked up some of that shit, held it, and promptly burned the shit out of his hand. Not smart. How not smart? Well, the scholarly publication cdc says that handling something like Colbot 60 could be and would be fatal. "Because it decays by gamma radiation, external exposure to large sources of Co-60 can cause skin burns, acute radiation sickness, or death. Most Co-60 that is ingested is excreted in the feces; however, a small amount is absorbed by the liver, kidneys, and bones. Co-60 absorbed by the liver, kidneys, or bone tissue can cause cancer because of exposure to the gamma radiation."
Seems bad. Oh well.