Join Date: Apr 2002
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Well, I just got back from a work trip to the country of Belarus, formerly called Belurussia when it was still part of the Soviet Union, prior to '91. I stayed in a city in southern Belarus called Gomel, which is about 80 miles from where the disaterous Chernobyl nuclear plant blew up back in '86, (about 70% of the radioactive Iodine cloud from the Chernobyl fire fell on Gomel and southern Belarus). Its amazing that there are so many illnesses and people dying almost 20 years later, thyroid cancer, breathing problems, poor eyesight, etc, etc. It was quite an experience to have been there, I stayed in the nicest hotel in a city of 600K people, and there was no hot water, they turn it off in the summer months to save money, imagine that? The average monthly wage there is around $100 USD. The fumes in and around the streets were enough to make your eyes water, as they are still burning leaded gas, and every car has a trail of black smoke following it...it was disgusting.
Its amazing that Gorbachev tried to hide the disaster from the rest of the world for several days, and the plant burned for almost two weeks....it was first noticed by a nuclear plant in sweden, 800 miles away, where their radioactivity sensors started going off, from what the wind blew their way.
Anyhow, for me, it was definitely an eye opening trip, and really makes me appreciate life in North America. Most of us have no idea how good we have it.