SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Radiation levels at Chernobyl on 27 April 2006, 20 years after the disaster of 26 April 1986. The concrete sarcophagus, built to enclose the destroyed nuclear reactor, is seen in the background. The radiation meter is showing a radiation level of 572 microroentgens per hour. Normal background levels of radiation around the world vary between 0.2 and 11 microroentgens. The meter also shows the reading to be roughly equivalent to 5.72 microsieverts per hour, a sievert being a measure of the level of absorbed radiation. Over days and months, this radiation level is lethal to humans, and the radioactive material inside the sarcophagus will remain dangerous for thousands of years.
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