Professor Brit Salbu was one of the first foreign researchers, who visited areas contaminated by the Chernobyl accident, the world's worst nuclear accident.
Recently, she was awarded an honorary medal issued to 30-year anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. Awarding took place during a radioecology conference, "EC Comet Workshop: Models fit for purpose", in Seville, Spain. The medal was presented by Professor Valeriy Kasparov, on behalf of the Chernobyl Union, Ukraine, a public organization for victims of the nuclear accident.
Salbu received the award as one of the first international scientists who visited the polluted areas around Chernobyl and for many years of the pioneering research.
When the Chernobyl accident occurred, the contaminated areas belonged to Soviet Union, and access to them was very limited. However, thanks to scientists from Gomel and Kiev, Salbu got early access to the so-called security zone, a 30-kilometer zone around Chernobyl, and actively participated in the debate about the consequences of the accident.
She found radioactive particles in mountain areas in Norway and claimed that they came from the accident at Chernobyl. Several forces worked against her at the time. Many thought it was not possible for radioactive particles to travel so far. However, Brit Salbu stood her grounds, and she was proved to be right.
A while after, she got access to the security zone for the first time. A research group from Norway was invited to affected areas in Belarus by the organization Chernobyl Children, where the two members of the Soviet Duma participated as well.
- We invited NRK with us and they created a very good and realistic picture of the situation, says Salbu.
CERAD had good cooperation with scientists in Ukraine, Belarus and Ukraine over the past 30 years. In May this year, we conducted a successful fieldwork within the safety zone around the Chernobyl reactor.