Why were the liquidators of Chernobyl accident buried in lead coffins?

Cemetery under concrete slabs

All liquidators of the first wave received lethal radiation. By the time of the funeral, the radioactive radiation from their bodies was so strong that they dried up, turning into mummies. The weight of many fire heroes who took the first blow did not exceed 40 kilograms.

They buried heroes in zinc coffins, filling the grave with concrete. It was not possible to fully protect the cemetery visitors from radiation – the Moscow cemetery “Mitinskoe” is still radioactive.

Lead coffins for firefighters of Chernobyl disaster

At Mitinsky cemetery in Moscow there are 30 graves of the first victims of the Chernobyl accident – these are the firemen who were the first to put out the fire and the workers of the nuclear power plant.

Most of them died of radiation sickness in the 6th clinical hospital of Moscow in the first months after the tragedy – in May-July 1986.

Mitinskoe cemetery

During the funeral at the Mitinsky cemetery, special security measures were observed, says the deputy director of the National Chernobyl Museum, Anna Korolevskaya.

In the museum “Chernobyl” stored declassified documents, maps, photographs and memories of the participants of the Chernobyl events.

“The bodies were first wrapped in a film, then placed in a wooden coffin, then a wooden coffin — in a film, and then it was all sealed in a zinc coffin and buried,” says Korolevskaya.

Later, the burial site was filled with concrete. Among these 30 graves, three are symbolic and without bodies. One of them is the Chernobyl nuclear power plant engineer Vladimir Shashenok.

After the accident, Shashenok, according to eyewitnesses, received such severe burns from radioactive steam that the person who carried him after the accident from the station had a burn from his radioactive body.

Vladimir Shashenok died at dawn on April 26th. They buried him in the cemetery of the village of Chistogalovka, near the station.

Another of the first victims of the Chernobyl accident was the deputy head of the Chernobyl electrical plant, Alexander Lelechenko.

“He escaped from the Pripyatsky hospital and returned to the station. Lelechenko realized that he received a large dose of radiation, but continued to work while he could eliminate the accident. He was already treated here in Kiev. But they could not save him. He received a large dose of radiation — more than 1,500 thousand roentgen, and 700 roentgen is deadly, ”says Anna Korolevskaya.

Alexander Lelechenko died of radiation sickness in Kiev on May 7, 1986. At the Mitinsky cemetery, he was placed a symbolic grave next to everyone.

Of the 12 personnel of the personnel of the turbine hall of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, who were on shift on the night of April 26, eight died of radiation sickness, says a representative of the Chernobyl Museum.

“The firefighters fought the accident outside, and inside the building of the fourth power unit, the station personnel fought and the fires that arose during the rupture of the pipeline when there was oil boiling around had radioactive steam,” says Ms. Royal.

monument to Valery Hodemchuk, the first victim of the Chernobyl NPP