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  5.   Which territories of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were the most affected by radioactive contamination due to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident?

Data on the number of casualties counted after the accident and the size of contaminated territories were repeatedly changed due to continuing improvements in the approach to the determination of ionizing radiation in the environment and the measurement of the various half-lives of radioactive substances.

Based on the recent data, 12 oblasts (districts) of Ukraine (Kiev, Zhitomir, Chernigov, Cherkassy, Vinnitsa, Rovno, Ivano-Frankovsk, Kirovograd, Sumy, Ternopol, Chernovtsy, and Volyn), some oblasts of Belarus (Mogilev, Gomel, Brest, Vitebsk, and Grodno), and some oblasts of Russia (discrete areas of Bryansk, Kaluga, Tula, and Orel districts) were contaminated by radionuclides.


Fig. 8: The number of settlements and residents in Ukraine organized by zone of radioactive contamination

Zone category and name The number of settlements The number of residents, in thousands
1. Zone of segregation 76 91.2
2. Zone of compulsory
   resettlement
92 19.5
3. Zone of secure
   voluntary resettlement
835 653.3
4. Zone of enhanced
   radioecological
   control
1291 1732.1

Source: Decree No. 106 of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR of July 23, 1991


Fig. 9: Structure of joint effective doses of internal and external irradiation in discrete oblasts of Ukraine 10 years after the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant..

Fig. 9a: External irradiation
Figure 9a

Fig. 9b: Internal irradiation
Figure 9b

The total dose of external irradiation 10 years after the accident was estimated as 16,500 man-Sv and the Ukrainian rural population was exposed to 69% of this. Inhabitants of 5 (of 25) oblasts (Kiev, Zhitomir, Rovno, Vinnitsa, Chernigov) were exposed to 60% of the total 10-years doze. The major portion of the collective dose was concentrated in the Kiev (19.2%) and Zhitomir (16.4%) oblasts, and in the city of Kiev (9.2%). Examining the structure of collective dose of internal irradiation to the Ukrainian rural population, one can see that the inhabitants of three oblasts - Zhitomir (8,400 man-Sv), Rovno (6,100 man-Sv) and Kiev (5,200 man-Sv) received in total 19,700 man-Sv or about of 80% of the total dose of internal irradiation in the Ukrainian rural population.

Source: "10 years after the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant," 1996.


An increased baseline of radioactivity was identified in the Scandinavian countries, Poland, Germany, East Silesia, and England. This list is constantly upgraded and added to.

Radioactive contamination due to the precipitation of radioactive particles differs markedly even on a local level. Various changes in contamination may occur over a distance of few kilometers, and even hundreds or tens of meters.

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