Chernobyl digger claw could kill you 33 years after nuclear disaster

Chernobyl digger claw

The Chernobyl digger claw has been abandoned in a forest (Picture: Rob Maxwell/Getty)

This discarded digger claw lies abandoned in a forest near the Chernobyl site and experts fear it could be fatal to touch.

It is one of a number of vehicles used in the nuclear disaster clean-up that have had to be ditched because they are so contaminated.

Radiation expert Rob Maxwell stumbled upon the machinery on a tour of Pipryat, Ukraine, during a visit.

Only a handful of people know its whereabouts after it was dumped by officials far off the beaten track in a remote part of the forest.

Mr Maxwell said as well as the dumped claw, there are also entire graveyards of vehicles used in the wake of the 1986 disaster.

He told there was a large car and aircraft graveyard full of the vehicles used in the immediate aftermath of the disaster which are now so radioactive they really cant be touched.



They cant be pulled apart for spare parts, they cant be used, they cant be driven; theyre all just sitting there, dumped and corroding in the forest.

Chernobyl digger so radioactive it could kill by touch found in forest Provider: Rob Maxwell

The digger claw is well outside the exclusion zone visited by tourists and its location is only known to a handful of people (Picture: Rob Maxwell)

Chernobyl digger so radioactive it could kill by touch found in forest Provider: Twitter

Archeologist Rob Maxwell has paid a number of visits to the site in Ukraine (Picture: Twitter)

Visitors walk in the ghost city of Pripyat on June 7, 2019 next to the medical facility where the first victims of Chernobyl disaster were treated after the accident in April 1986. - HBOs hugely popular television series Chernobyl has renewed interest around the world on Ukraines 1986 nuclear disaster with authorities reporting a 30% increase of tourist demands to visit the affected area and tourist operators forecasting that number of tourists visiting the site may double this year up to 150.000 persons. (Photo by Genya SAVILOV / AFP)GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images

The area around Chernobyl has now become a tourist destination (Picture: AFP)

Mr Maxwell, an archaeologist who has worked at Chernobyl during two field trips, said he was taken to see the Claw by a private guide.

He said the rusting machinery was used to clear-up radioactive graphite that had blown out of reactor four when it exploded 33 years ago.

He added: There are many things in the zone today for which contact for any prolonged period will definitely kill you, and the Claw is definitely the most dangerous of all because its not roped off or inaccessible like other hazards.

Its essentially just sitting in a forest clearing for the rest of time. Its severely potentially lethal.

Mr Maxwell put his bare hand inside to get a reading with a Geiger counter to see how radioactive it still is.

He said the Claw releases something in the region of 39.8 microsieverts per hour (uSv/h) – meaning it would deliver a fatal dose in less than 20 minutes.

CHERNOBYL, UKRAINE, USSR - MAY 1986: Chernobyl nuclear power plant a few weeks after the disaster. Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR, May 1986. (Photo by Laski Diffusion/Getty Images)

Reactor four exploded in 1986, sending radioactive material into the nearby area (Picture: Getty)

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