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Found 22 results

  1. Ukrane Chernobyl Exclusion Zone 2016

    April 26, 1986. One single day, that changed the day of numerous people overnight. One day, that entered the annals of world´s history. It was the day, when reactor no. 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was destroyed after a power failure simulation gone wrong. On that day in April 1986 the nightsky exploded. The Chernobyl disaster released as much radioactive material into the environment as 400 atomic bombs would have done. I think, a lot has already been written about that topic and the Chernobyl catastrophe. A topic that I´ve always been fascinated of for many different reasons. Years ago, I told myself, I would never ever visit the zone. Last year, I´ve changed my mind and visited Chernobyl in September. I´m glad, I did. Around the nuclear power plant: [/url] Kindergarten of the former village "Kopachi" Kopachi was a former village near Chernobyl, today located within the Chernobyl exclusion zone. After the nuclear catastrophe in 1986, it was hit hard by nuclear fallout and had to be evacuated. All former houses were demolished and buried. Today, every mound of earth with a warning sign in it, marks the remains of one of the former houses. Only the kindergarten has survived time and does still exist. Pripyat "[...] we lived in Pripyat, near the reactor. I can still see the bright- crimson glow, it was like the reactor was glowing. This wasn´t an ordinary fire, it was some kind of emanation. It was pretty. [....] We didn´t know, that death could be so beautiful." (Nadezhda Vygovskaya (evacuee from Pripyat), excerpt from the book: Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich) Middle School No. 3: Palace of Culture "Energetik": Amusement park: Hospital No. 126 The hospital no. 126 consisted of 410 beds and was - among three further clinics - the biggest medical center of Pripyat. Until today the basement of the hospital is not only one of the most contaminated places of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, but of the world. Still, the pitch-dark cellar, holds the suits of the six firemen that were the first to work on the wrecked reactor and afterwards were instantly brought to the city hospital. Of course they received a lethal dosis of radiation. Consequently, they died shortly after their operation of radiation sickness. Still, 30 years after the catastrophe, they are so highly cotaminated that you would receive a lethal dosis in only short time. Café Pripyat near the same-named river: Post Office and Supermarket: Above the roofs of Pripyat: There´s no better way to get a glimpse of the former size of the city than standing on a 16-storey-building, where the following captures were taken. For me, standing up there, was by far one of the most impressive experiences of my whole life. Only short time after the hard climb up the stairs, one thing really hit me in an instant: an indescribable silence I´ve never witnessed before. No cars, no air planes, no humans. Even birds are hardly singing. It´s probably hard to imagine for lots of people, at least for those living in densely populated areas. Even during a walk in the woods, one normally can hear the typical background noise of civilization. Suddenly, that noise was gone. My first thought was: dead silence. That impression is still affecting me deeply. The fact to look down on former traces of human lives only add to the unreal atmosphere. A whole city is at my feet and all I can hear is simply - nothing. I take a last look at the wrecked reactor no. 4 in the distance that soon will be disappeared underneath the new so-called New Safe Confinement (NSC). Despite the peaceful atmosphere, I still have the uneasy feeling of being a belated witness of a catastrophe which is hard to comprehend. DUGA - "The Russian Woodpecker" The DUGA-array was part of an over-the-horizon radar system (OTH) and was located near the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It´s highest antenna was around 150 metres high and does still exist. The range of the array was around 9,000 kilometers. During the cold war era, the radar station was of course like similar stations top secret. Already at the end of the 1970's an interfering signal was received by short-wave radio stations. It sounded like a woodpecker that´s why it was later called "the Russian Woodpecker". It was early suspected, that those sounds might belong to a Soviet over-the-horizon radar. When reactor 4 of Chernobyl blew up, the OTH system could not be kept secret any longer. Thus, the theory was confirmed There are also many conspiracy theories concerning the radar station. According to those theories, mind control and the possibility of influencing the weather were made possible by DUGA.
  2. Chernobyl… Where do I start! Had an awesome action packed beer drenched week-long trip in the zone. I took 1400 photos, and saw some amazing sites in Pripyat. I’m going to start with Chernobyl Nuclear power plant, as it is a once in a lifetime site. It is my first nuclear power plant (!) and although originally sceptical about radiation levels, the dose I received in my 3 hour visit should be acceptable. Our tour guide had worked at the plant for 26 years! There was, understandably, a vast amount of security and ID checks to enter the plant. Although the station is long decommissioned, there is still plenty of activity around here, and will be for the foreseeable future. We had a comprehensive briefing on the disaster before entry, then some security and were led to the new sarcophagus construction yard. Some more security & lengthy ID checks, dressed up in all lab coats, foot covers & hat, more security, then inside the nuclear power plant. An exceptionally long corridor linked the 4 reactors. Control rooms for each nuclear reactor on the left, and turbine halls on the right. Nuclear Reactor 2 control room was a real highlight. I have never seen so many buttons & dials. Radiation was surprisingly low here. Then on to the wall beside the reactor 4, which had the accident. The giger counter went bonkers. Moving swiftly on to Nuclear reactor 3 turbine hall, which was very impressive. Finally more security, and radiation checks, and the monument outside. An outstanding visit. I’ve got loads of photos of Pripyat, and the partially built reactor cooling tower for reactor 5, which was never finishsed. All to follow. Explored with the excellent company of Stig, Auntieknickers, The Lone Ranger & two non members. History The history is well documented on the net. In summary: The Chernobyl disaster happened on 26 April 1986, in Ukraine, former USSR. An explosion & fire released large quanties of radioactive particles into the atmosphere over current day Ukraine & Belarus. It was the worst nuclear disaster in history. It is one of only two level 7 events (the other being Fukushima in 2011. To contain the contamination cost a lot money and a lot of lives. The other 3 nuclear reactors were restarted the same year, and were not decommissioned for some years later. monument to the disaster the new sarcophagus to cover reactor 4 the new sarcophagus to cover reactor 4 Let's go inside..... The very long corridor - linking all 4 nuclear reactors Nuclear power plant, Reactor 2 control room so many buttons Monument next to reactor 4, that exploded Turbine Hall, Nuclear Reactor 3 this is a model of reactor 4, which exploded and this diagram explains (best in the pictures!) how the new sarcophagus will be moved into position thanks for looking
  3. Ukrane Chernobyl (October 2015) Pic Heavy

    It's been a long time since i've posted anything here and I was surprised to see my account was still active. Been quite an absence for me for any UE and am starting to feel slightly out of touch with the community, so having had the pleasure of seeing Chernobyl last October i thought this gives me the perfect opportunity to re-introduce myself. Anyway, enough of my dribble, on with the report. Brief history The Chernobyl disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 (30th anniversary this year kids!) at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine (then officially the Ukrainian SSR), which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities of the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of the western USSR and Europe. The Chernobyl disaster was the worst nuclear power plant accident in history in terms of cost and casualties. It is one of only two classified as a level 7 event (the maximum classification) on the International Nuclear Event Scale, The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles. During the accident itself, 31 people died. The rest as they say is history. Visited October 2015 with a load of other lunatics. Enjoy Cheers for looking
  4. Ukrane Pripyat, Oct 2013

    For those who don't know - and to be honest, I didn't until my planned trip, Pripyat is the name of the town that was built to house the workers of the Chernobyl Power plant. It is located about 2km from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (ChNPP) When the town was founded in 1970 it was a very modern and the facilities were incredible. I am sure that at the time, people would have been very jealous of living in such a great new town. At the outskirts, the town sign is now more of a memorial than merely marking the town limits At the time of the accident it had a population of around 49,000 people. This figure included people from over 134 different nationalities from within the USSR. The average age in Pripyat was just 26 and each year saw more than 1000 children born. I got the impression that the main government buildings were decorated in a way that promoted how proud the USSR was of achievements across multiple areas. This is the mural in what was the Post Office Within the town a newly constructed amusement park was built. Before it would ever see a single child, the explosion at the power plant turned the area in to a barren wasteland. This is the now infamous ferris wheel as viewed from the boxing ring located in the Cultural Centre Another well documented view is the bumper cars One of the things that struck me when I got off the bus on arrival at Pripyat was the sound, or rather lack of sound. Just the wind through the trees. No laughter, no town murmur, no traffic, no birds, no dogs, nothing. Just the rustling of the leaves in the light wind. I made it to one of the rooftops, and the scary thing is, on the night of the explosion, residents also did the same. Whilst watching the fire, they would have had no idea that they were receiving a massive dose of radiation too. There are many stories of heroism during that night and the days and nights that followed. From the firefighters who were sent to battle the raging ferno with no clue as to what they were really dealing with to, what is in my opinion, the most heroic action - if there could be such a classification.... The reactor core was melting through the concrete structure of the build. As it bore through, it was heading towards a large pool of water - massive pool of water. According to some accounts, this pool was a back up to the cooling systems of the power plant. The main thing to understand though is that this pool, were the reactor core and surrounding radioactive mush, to come in contact with each other, the water would turn to super heated steam and cause a massive explosion. This explosion would have turned the most of Europe in to a wasteland. Frankly, neither you nor I would be sat here today had that happened. In order for this to be avoided, the pool had to be drained. Valeri Bezpalov and Alexie Ananenko and Boris Baranov volunteered. Wearing only basic suba gear, they dove in to the highly toxic radioactive water to drain the pool. They knew they were diving to their deaths, but they did it. There are so many images from the very short visit to this place, please feel free to check out my flickr album
  5. Pripyat is a ghost town in northern Ukraine, near the border with Belarus. Named after the nearby Pripyat River, Pripyat was founded on 4 February 1970, the ninth nuclear city in the Soviet Union, for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It was officially proclaimed a city in 1979, and had grown to a population of 49,360 before being evacuated a few days after the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Though Pripyat is located within the administrative district of Ivankiv Raion, the abandoned city now has a special status within the larger Kiev Oblast (province), being administered directly from Kiev. Pripyat is also supervised by Ukraine's Ministry of Emergencies, which manages activities for the entire Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. We took a look around in some of the apartment blocks, there were some random bits of furniture here and there but mostly empty flats rotting away. The real highlight was the view from the rooftops overlooking the silent town of Pripyat with the Chernobyl power plant in the background. It's a spectacle that you will never forget, a town once home to 50,000 people now overgrown with trees and nothing but the whistling of the wind to break the silence. Well, with the exception of us burping, farting, laughing and swearing for three days Took these pictures from two different rooftops. Saw a few of these paintings dotted around Trashed flat with bits of furniture Piano in a flat The hospital with the sarcophagus covering reactor 4 in the background More artwork The ferris wheel in the distance One of the tallest buildings in Pripyat, it was from here that people watched the multicoloured plume of burning blue, yellow and green fire from the reactor light up the night sky, unaware they were receiving a potentially lethal dose of radiation. Power plant covered with a sarcophagus to contain the mess Throughout Eastern Europe symbols of the Soviet Union have been torn down, but in Pripyat, where the year is still 1986, the wreathed hammer, sickle and star of the USSR still adorns buildings (on the left of shot). Looking down The sunset Empty streets Thanks for looking
  6. This latest report from the zone will be completely dedicated to the film project "The Zone in 4K", the goal of which is to collect film documentation of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone at a new standard of TV and film resolution. This standard, which is just now becoming popular, has twice the resolution of Full HD and four times more pixels. Thanks to this, the recorded image is extremely sharp and has significantly more details. I've already talked about my idea in the report from the last journey during which I decided to come back and record everything in 4K because I was disturbed by the devastation of the zone and how quickly it was being destroyed. Why 4K? After all, very few people have this kind of television or monitor, not to mention a player or computer that would be able to process such a huge amount of information. The answer is simple – by the time 4K technology becomes widely available, by the time it's become the norm, the majority of the places described in my reports will have disappeared. That's why they have to be filmed now, before it's too late. To be captured in the highest image quality possible. I can't put it off any longer. In the future, the collected film material can be used for various documentary films relating to the Chernobyl disaster. I have been visiting the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone continuously for over 7 years. Fifteen, maybe twenty times? I stopped counting ages ago. This whole time I have been constantly collecting photo and film documentation of the places I visited. A short tally – several thousand pictures, hundreds of hours of video and two documentary films. Alongside the documentation of the zone that I've collected in 4K, it will be the largest collection of film and photographic materials of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. So this time I'm going back to the zone armed with 2 professional cameras recording in 4K. The main camera is a Sony FS700 which records in 4K RAW format. Recording in the loss-free RAW format means significantly greater possibility for processing video material later on. Thanks to the variable lens, it’s also possible to establish the wide-angle POV necessary for shooting in small rooms. We can also get more valuable shots using this camera, e.g. from the inside of block 4. The second camera is a Sony Z100 which, given its more compact size, is useful for shots that require more dexterity and mobility. It's much easier to get to the top of DUGA with this kind of camera. Additional cameras are a Panasonic Lumix GH4 and GoPro, which were useful for filming aerial shots from the drone thanks to their small size and light weight. 3-4 days used to be enough to see all the most interesting places. Now, especially after the last few trips as described in the two reports from the cycle "Off the beaten track", I need at least a week. Poliske town, visiting re-settlers, distant but much better preserved villages. Every visit brings something new, which is why I'm going for 8 days this time, and I also hope to find something new. I don't manage to get to all the places, including the waste storage yard in Buriakivka. This almost 100 ha terrain consists of 30 huge ditches (150x50 metres each) where radioactive waste from all over the zone was buried. This terrain also includes a storage yard of vehicles which were used to liquidate the effects of the accident. I have managed to visit Buriakivka many times before. The result of these visits was a short film and interview with the manager of the storage yard which were attached to the second part of Alone in the Zone. However, for over a year permission has no longer been issued. Many years of visiting the zone has taught me one thing: if you can't go somewhere, that can only mean that metal is being cut up for scrap there. That's how it was with the storage yard in Rosocha (which no longer exists), Chernobyl-2 (part of the antenna was cut from the masts), recently Yanov station was closed for some time (some of the wagons were cut up). Now it's the turn of the waste storage yard in Buriakivka. Initially I believed that only the abandoned vehicles there were being cut up, but I probably underestimated the Ukrainian entrepreneurial spirit. Whole ditches at the storage yard, where radioactive waste was once buried, are opened to get the most valuable metal elements out of them. Visits to other places such as the nuclear plant, particularly block 4 and the construction site of the new arch, were once again put off until the next visit. And especially until the situation in Ukraine has stabilised – this has led to increase in the security regime at the power plant and suspending our visit until the situation has improved. DRONE Documentation of the zone wouldn't be complete without aerial photos. Looking at large structures such as the cooling towers, DUGA radar antenna and unfinished block 5 from a different, rarely seen, perspective will definitely add to the attractiveness of many a film. I invited my friend Phil to work with me on the aerial shots, he's the same person who was responsible for aerial shots for the second part of Alone in the Zone. This time Phil brought a smaller drone that also had a much better image stabilisation system. Thanks to this, it won't be necessary to apply additional stabilising programmes to the images, which significantly degrade the image quality. This time it was much harder to take the planned shots than before. Flying without GPS, inside buildings, cooling tower, i.e. blindly (beyond the range of vision and signal transmitting the image) demanded much greater skills. We made the first series of flights above the DUGA antenna. This is one of the places that should be filmed from the air. The dense forest growing around the antenna effectively limits wide shots of the antenna from the ground. Only flying over the trees, from a short distance, allows us to get the whole antenna and fully appreciate its powerful scale. The next flights we did were over Pripyat. One of the most important shots I wanted to get was a flight along Lenin street, the main street of the town, in the direction of the main square of Pripyat. The drone was to fly precisely between the two rows of high trees leading to the centre and then fly over the central square and the “Energetik†house of culture. I intend to use this shot for the opening sequence of a film dedicated to Pripyat. Then we made several flights over the amusement park and, finally, we repeated the flight over the 16 storey block to film the emblem on its roof. We made the next series of flights on the area of the cooling towers structure. Previously we weren't able to make the flight inside the cooling tower because the GPS signal didn't reach inside it. This time we managed without it. We decided to set off from the same point in the direction of block 5. This is very far from the cooling tower, so because of the great distance it was the kind of flight whose final phase happened blindly, i.e. beyond the range of vision and signal transmitting the image. The increasingly risky shots were sure to eventually end in catastrophe. Taking shots at the Yanov train station, I planned a flight along the tracks towards the nuclear power plant. The drone was supposed to take off from one of the wagons, rise above the overhead contact line and then fly along the tracks to the bridge leading to Pripyat, fly across it and then turn slightly to the right and fly for a short while towards block 4. Everything went off without a hitch until the expected loss of video signal showing the controller the location of the drone and what it was filming. For unknown reasons, almost simultaneously with the loss of video signal, we also lost connection with the drone itself. The situation isn't that serious yet – the system steering the drone is programmed so that the drone can safely return and land when connection is lost. In this kind of situation, FAIL SAFE mode automatically activates and the drone, using GPS and the remembered route of the flight, is able to return to the place of take-off and land automatically. Unfortunately, the controller didn't foresee that the GPS signal has a certain level of imprecision (several metres). This was enough for the drone to hit the contact line and it fell to the ground from a height of about 10 metres. It seemed like we wouldn't get anything from the drone after a fall like that. Luckily, apart from damage to the propellers and wire connections, nothing too serious happened. Unfortunately, despite having spare propellers, it turned out to be impossible to replace the wires on site. So we'll take the rest of the shots on the next visit. THE HOSPITAL The basement of the hospital is one of the most radioactive places in Pripyat, at least it was before tourists started visiting it and taking the radioactive firefighters’ uniforms out. Two firefighters' helmets have also disappeared and it's not impossible that they're now decorating the home of some collector of radioactive souvenirs. As a result of these actions, the radioactivity in the room which used to have the most clothing in it has fallen from over 2 mSv/h to less than 1 mSv/h. A significant part of that contamination was taken out on the clothing of tourists who were unaware of the threat. And in their bodies, if they weren't wearing protective masks. I'm not exaggerating, I've heard stories about people who have bragged about their bravery (and stupidity), putting a radioactive helmet on their head or trying on clothing and taking it out of the rooms. Even when you’re being really careful it's very easy to become contaminated. The last time it also happened to me, when filming the abandoned clothes I accidentally touched the floor or an item of clothing with my knee. I only found out about it when undergoing the compulsory dosimeter examination when leaving the zone. But if you’re aware of the risk and know how to act, it's very easy to deal with the problem. JUPITER The basement of the Jupiter factory is another place where you should be particularly careful. You can still find various unknown and radioactive substances in the laboratories there. I'm particularly interested in 4 metal boxes with radioactive contents whose purpose I still haven't managed to figure out, despite dosimeter tests. The high level of ground water and spring rains mean that the basement has been flooded for a year and a half. In a certain sense, this is a benefit, as the water effectively blocks radiation. The dosimeter doesn't show any heightened radiation when held over the surface of the water. However, on the other hand, we don't know how radioactive the places and things we're walking through are now. Especially because there are metallic, multicoloured stains on the surface of the water everywhere, which show that the unknown chemical substances the basement is full of have seeped into the water. One thing is sure – half a metre of water is effective at putting off curious tourists. SUNRISE Judging by the number of comments and e-mails I've received, the undisputed hit of the last journey to the zone were the pictures of Pripyat at sunrise. Particularly pictures taken from the roof in the centre of Pripyat with the emblem of Ukraine and the power plant in the background, which a certain fan of the zone wanted in 2 metre format as the main feature of his living room. This type of picture is quite hard to take because it's necessary to get additional permission to stay in zone I at night and the ban on going onto the roofs of buildings is more often and more meticulously followed. But the uniqueness and fleeting nature of this place and the moment led me back again. This time with a camera. Where in the zone can you still watch the sunrise? From the top of DUGA of course! You just have to remember to get up early enough to climb to the top before the sun rises. I also wanted to film and photograph the power plant with the background of the sunrise up close. To establish the best place to take such pictures, I used the website suncalc.net which lets you determine the position of the sun at a specific time and place. Unfortunately, the sun's position at this time of the year made it impossible to get these pictures at sunrise, but it turned out to be possible at sunset. From the roof of the unfinished block 5. DISCOVERIES Probably every visitor to the Chernobyl zone has dreamt about someday discovering an untouched house or flat. One that by some miracle avoided the attention of thieves and curious tourists. Shut by the inhabitants leaving it, full of scattered items from a bygone era. This is my dream, too, and it finally came true. That was the greatest discovery of this trip. Every time I visit the zone, I try to dedicate 1-2 days to visiting completely new places. I often get several dozen kilometres into the depths of the zone. Most often without much success as the majority of houses are collapsed, ruined or empty. Sometimes I find some pictures, furniture or a newspaper or calendar that reveals when the house was abandoned. That's why I try to find public buildings like schools, kindergartens, clubs, where you can find interesting things more often. Books, notebooks, albums, postcards, photos, musical instruments – objects that have been preserved to this day because they're not valuable to thieves. During the last visit I was lucky enough to find two well-preserved schools. Often information on the internet about what villages can be visited usually helps me in these discoveries. Sometimes information about the size of the village itself, the number of former inhabitants or distance from other places can very likely determine whether you can find a school or other interesting building there. Sometimes former inhabitants of these villages help me to precisely locate them. Satellite maps of the zone are also really useful. When preparing for this journey I also did the appropriate research, and then designated several promising places. One turned out to be a hit – a small village several dozen kilometres from Chernobyl. My attention was drawn to the wooden houses at the very edge of it. Several houses were closed with padlocks or metal bars. I went around one of the houses looking for another entrance or broken window that someone else had gone through already. I didn't find anything of the sort. I couldn't believe that there was an untouched house. The village is completely abandoned, so it's not possible that a re-settler was still living here. But I don't have the heart to force the door open and find out. Luckily the doors to several other houses weren't closed with any key or padlock. Sometimes the door is just protected by a latch or piece of needle stuck around the lock. I take a look in these houses. For someone used to empty, pillaged and ruined places, interiors full of various objects make an amazing impression. Scattered pillows, blankets, tapestries, photos, plates and other everyday items. The inhabitants must have left their homes in a hurry, but this rush definitely wasn't connected with the evacuation of inhabitants because of the disaster. Judging by the dates on the newspapers and calendars, these are the houses of former re-settlers: forcibly removed inhabitants who, against the decision of the authorities, returned to their homes and lived there for several years or sometimes over a decade after the disaster. In this time some of them were looked after by their children or grandchildren who lived outside the closed zone. They brought them stocks of food and medicine, chopped trees for fuel and sometimes they finally took the family member who was ailing and unable to live independently to live with them. The ones who weren't so lucky were dependant on dwindling state aid or disinterested help of zone workers. The personal mementos found in abandoned homes, especially photos and personal notes, show that their inhabitants probably died lonely. Without family or friends who would surely have taken all family mementos after their death. But left in place, they give us, the people returning here now, an image of what these houses that were abandoned almost 30 years ago, whose interiors are now completely looted and destroyed, once looked like. I definitely have to come back here again. Another emotional moment was finding several wooden boxes in one of the basements in Pripyat. The rusty metal rings wrapped around the boxes indicated that they had never been opened. Of course this piqued my interest. But the contents were easy to predict. Masks. Dozens of children's gas masks, evenly laid out. Never used, waiting for to be discovered for over 30 years. And under them were evenly laid out filters and the linen shoulder bags they were carried in. Beside it were plastic phials with a post to prevent the glass fogging up. A full set in the event of nuclear conflict. Full report is here: http://www.podniesinski.pl/portal/the-zone-in-4k/
  7. Sunrise in Pripyat? Why not! I've been to Pripyat so many times, in different seasons, day and night. It's finally time to greet the city at the break of day. I get up before 4 in the morning and at 5 I'm already standing on the roof of a 16 storey building which has an excellent view of the town centre and nearby power plant. Sleepy Pripyat slowly emerges from the shadows and comes to life. A strange feeling. As if any moment now people will appear, hurrying on their way to work. Or mothers taking kids to kindergarten. Soon there will be hustle and bustle, the noise of cars, and shouts of children playing. But that's just my imagination at work. In the abandoned city, nature is the only thing springing to life. Everything else died 28 years ago. But Pripyat isn't the main reason I returned to the zone. For some time I've been coming here less often and for shorter times. There is just one reason. Pripyat is systematically falling apart. Plaster is falling off of buildings, concrete and bricks are crumbling, then the floors rot and collapse. In the end whole walls and ceilings collapse. The books, newspapers and posters left inside them turn into a pile of damp mush. The city is disappearing. Tourists who come for the first time and often only visit the zone generally aren't able to notice the changes, the progress of the destruction, the ever decreasing number of objects. It looks to them like time stopped here. That's just an illusion. LOST VILLAGES In my search for traces of the past, I’ve been leaving Pripyat more often and getting farther and farther away from it. I venture into unknown regions of the zone. I know from experience that the farther away, the more chance there is of finding something truly exceptional. That's why I decide to visit more far-flung places in the northern corners of the zone. Villages located right by the border with Belarus. 40 km in one direction, two hours drive. Regular tourists don't make it here. Initially asphalt, the potholed roads soon give way to narrow, overgrown dirt roads. Eventually there are no roads at all. It's only possible to go farther with an off-road vehicle. Scattered trees, dense foliage, no sign of any human presence. And animals are appearing more and more often. The marshy terrain, uninhabited by people, is the ideal place for deer, moose, wild boars and a multitude of birds. I'm looking for interesting places, objects, traces of the bygone system. It's easiest to find them in abandoned schools, kindergartens and clubs. In places that tourists haven't discovered, only known by former residents. Some of them still visit the places they used to live. They regularly stick calendars with the passing years up in empty homes. They leave inscriptions on school desks as souvenirs. All the larger villages have a school. You just have to spot them through the dense vegetation. Experience comes in handy: the school is most often located on Lenin street – the main street of every village. You can spot schools more easily if you know that they're usually made of brick rather than wood. Then it's just a matter of luck – if the school has stood the test of time, the roof hasn't caved in or the glass hasn't been broken you can still find real gems from the bygone era. THE RED FOREST I've already written about the Red Forest while looking for radioactive remains of the power plant disaster. To recap – as a result of the catastrophe, radioactive isotopes entered the atmosphere from the reactor and were distributed by the air stream over a significant portion of Europe. Most of these fell near the power plant, contaminating tens of thousands of nearby trees. Most of these are located directly next to the power plant. All the coniferous trees (trunks) in this area died and their needles turned red. Hence the name Red Forest. Shortly after the catastrophe, the decision was made to cut down and bury all the dead trees. Leaving them posed a risk of re-distributing the radiation, for example, as a result of a fire or high traffic of cars passing by the forest. Cutting down and burying the trees also significantly decreased the background radiation which is currently around 20-30 uSv/h. Despite the fact that almost 30 years have passed since the catastrophe, the Red Forest is still one of the most radioactive places in the zone. The last time I was here I found a highly radioactive fragment (around 100 mSv/h) pretty easily, which was probably a fragment of graphite from reactor 4. This time I'm checking the place where the radioactive trees were buried. It's easy to identify the burial place – the long, brown ditches and the mounds sticking up above ground level are clearly visible on satellite pictures. As I get closer to the burial location of the trees, the background radiation increases, reaching a level of around 100 uSv/h. It reaches its maximum, around 200 uSv/h, several metres away, where rainwater flowing from the mounds and washing radioactive isotopes with it gathers in the troughs. In the Red Forest I happen to come across a building where there are several well-preserved objects. KRUG I've visited the Chernobyl-2 military complex, where the DUGA over-the-horizon radar is located, many times. This time I'm visiting two places that are inextricably linked to it. Overgrown roads that are now impossible to see and can only be navigated by off-road vehicle or on foot lead to them. The first of these is the auxiliary DUGA radar system, known as Krug. It consists of 240 antennae (each 12 metres high), laid out in two circles with a diameter of 300 metres. In the centre of the construction there is a one-storey building which serves as control centre, on the roof of which is the main antenna. Despite the fact that there is no longer any equipment in the building that would make it possible to tell what the complex is for, it's generally known that its task was to optimise the angular frequency modes of the over-the-horizon radar's operation. Supposedly the equipment used was so sensitive that it could detect a signal that had already been around the world twice. After approaching the antennae, it turns out that 120 antennae, in one circle, have already been dismantled and are lying beside the concrete foundations they once stood on. Some of them have already been cut up for scrap. The majority of the 120 antennae, making up the second – outer – circle and the net serving as wave reflectors, are still in very good condition. "> Over the significant amount of time that has passed, all the antennae have been almost completely hidden by trees, making it hard to see more than one at a time. You can only see all of them at once from the air, best in the autumn when the leaves have fallen off the trees. ANTI-AIRCRAFT DEFENSE SYSTEM The second object near Chernobyl-2 is the firing position of the defence missile squadron, built for anti-aircraft defence of the DUGA radar complex. The system consisted of 6 SM-90 rocket launchers which were disguised and surrounded by earthen ramparts, equipped with Volkhov S-75M missile sets placed in a circle around a centrally located missile homing station. While nearby the over-the-horizon radar, I decide to also check its height. Different sources give different results. With this purpose in mind, I climb up the side mast which the net serving as wave reflector is attached to. It's the same height as the mast supporting the antenna. The official height reading is 156 metres (including the top mast). Full report (more text, photos and short film) you can see here http://www.podniesinski.pl/portal/chernobyl-off-the-beaten-track-2/ Arek
  8. Evening all, Part of the first full day we went to the Police and Firestation and junkyard attached to the Police station. The majority of the photos were taken in the junkyard as it was a little dark in the police cells. Next time will do a proper recce of the police station (if I can slip away) History as per - Pripyat town part of the area that was effected by the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident. Most of the vehicle left here were from the town and were dumped. The photos Thanks for looking in.
  9. Evening all, As you already know from my previous Chernobyl village report, I was part of a 35 man group which went in April. Part of the trip was two full days mooching in Pripyat which is the main objective for anyone especially with access to buildings too. We were basically taken here and left to wander around for over 2 hours which was plenty for such a massive complex. I'm sure on revisit I will find more rooms I didn't get to see. Part of day one was a visit to Hospital 126 (MSCh 126) which is a large hospital based at the North end of Priypat. The basement contains liquidators uniforms which are highly radioactive. On this note, it is not recommended to go into the basement for this reason alone. The hospital is a vast complex occupying the largest part of the first micro-district of Pripyat. The building is adorned with huge letters on its roof that read: “health of a people - riches of the countryâ€Â. It was at this hospital on the 26th April 1986 that the first victims of the disaster were delivered by ambulance: firemen and personnel of the Chernobyl Powerplant. The majority of those had already received deadly doses of external and internal radiation also having severe skin burning from beta radiation. After such doses, most did not survive; they still stood up, tried to joke about it but the days or even hours of their lives were already numbered. Hospitals are not a cheery place to be but this one was full of dereliction, dark corridors, doors slamming with the wind. Ghosts of the past still haunting this building. The victims stayed here less than a day; were then transported to Kiev, and then by plane to Moscow. Everybody, except engineer Shashenok, died in hospital, he was the first one to die in the night of April, 26th. There were 6 firemen, 22 powerplant workers who died of sharp radiation sickness in the 6th radiological clinic of Moscow in the course of several months after the initial disaster. Named for the nearby Pripyat River, Pripyat was founded on 4 February 1970, the ninth nuclear city in the Soviet Union, for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It was officially proclaimed a city in 1979, and had grown to a population of 49,360 before being evacuated a few days after the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Though Pripyat is located within the administrative district of Ivankiv Raion, the abandoned city now has a special status within the larger Kiev Oblast (province), being administered directly from Kiev. Pripyat is also supervised by Ukraine's Ministry of Emergencies, which manages activities for the entire Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Access to Pripyat, unlike cities of military importance, was not restricted before the disaster as nuclear power stations were seen by the Soviet Union as safer than other types of power plants. Nuclear power stations were presented as being an achievement of Soviet engineering, where nuclear power was harnessed for peaceful projects. The slogan "peaceful atom" (Russian: ?????? ????, mirnyj atom) was popular during those times. The original plan had been to build the plant only 25 km (16 mi) from Kiev, but the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, among other bodies, expressed concern about it being too close to the city. As a result, the power station and Pripyat were built at their current locations, about 100 km (62 mi) from Kiev. After the disaster the city of Pripyat was evacuated in two days. On with the photos 1. Front foyer at main entrance to the Hospital 2. Maternity ward and wards close by 3. 4. 5. 6. Staff social club - complete with moss carpet 7. 8. 9. Iron lung 10. 11. 12. Details 13. Corridors 14. 15. 16. Visiting hours 17. Various chairs 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. Plant life More to process but this is the main jist of what I wanted to put on here. Cheers for looking in
  10. Evening all, A selection of images from several of the kindergartens and middle schools that we managed to get around on our 2 full days in the zone in Pripyat. also included a few from the music school. Hard to believe that some of the items still remain 28 years since the disaster. Named for the nearby Pripyat River, Pripyat was founded on 4 February 1970, the ninth nuclear city in the Soviet Union, for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It was officially proclaimed a city in 1979, and had grown to a population of 49,360 before being evacuated a few days after the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Though Pripyat is located within the administrative district of Ivankiv Raion, the abandoned city now has a special status within the larger Kiev Oblast (province), being administered directly from Kiev. Pripyat is also supervised by Ukraine's Ministry of Emergencies, which manages activities for the entire Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Access to Pripyat, unlike cities of military importance, was not restricted before the disaster as nuclear power stations were seen by the Soviet Union as safer than other types of power plants. Nuclear power stations were presented as being an achievement of Soviet engineering, where nuclear power was harnessed for peaceful projects. The slogan "peaceful atom" (mirnyj atom) was popular during those times. The original plan had been to build the plant only 25 km (16 mi) from Kiev, but the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, among other bodies, expressed concern about it being too close to the city. As a result, the power station and Pripyat were built at their current locations, about 100 km (62 mi) from Kiev. After the disaster the city of Pripyat was evacuated in two days. Lots more to come but this gives a flavour of what I've processed so far. Hopefully will get a different set of photos from the next trip and visit some more of the schools in the city. Thanks for looking in.
  11. Hospital No. 126 was the general infirmary for Pripyat. The first firemen to respond to the Chernobyl Disaster were taken here and their clothing remains radioactive. 1. Operating Room Hospital MsCh-126 Medico-Sanitary unit was the general infirmary in Pripyat, serving the workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and their families. The hospital has been abandoned since the evacuation of Pripyat following the Chernobyl disaster. The hospital could accommodate up to 410 patients and had a further three clinics. The hospital is a large complex of buildings of five interconnected buildings of 6 stories each. The building sits on Druzhby Narodov street (Friendship of the People street) and occupies most of Microdistrict 1. The large letters on the roof read “×ôþрþò’Ѡýðрþôу – ñðóðтÑÂтòþ úрðїýø†or “health of the people – riches of the countryâ€Â. The basement of the hospital contains the suits worn by the firemen who attended the scene at Chernobyl after the explosion. The firemen weretaken to the hospital by albulance after being exposed to such high levels of radiation that even after 28 years their suits still emit a lethal dose of radiation. Needless to say we avoided the basement where the suits were left, however part of a fireman’s hat has been moved into the reception area. Our dosimeters were capable of reading up to a maximum 999 millisieverts per hour. When placed near the hat, the reading was 999, we do not know how much higher than that the radiation actually was. Average background radiation is around 0.02 millisieverts per hour! The hospital was one of my favourite buildings to visit in Pripyat. There were plenty of things to photograph – something different and intriguing in almost every room. When exploring abandoned hospitals it’s common to find repetitive layouts, each floor built to the same design for example, but Pripyat Hospital has a different feel to each area, something different to offer every each corner. 2. Gynaecology chair with vaginal dilator!! 3. Room with bed and shelves 4. A bed in a patient room 5. Medical items left behind 6. Patient room 7. A room full of cots in the maternity ward 8. Crib between partitions 9. Operating Theatre 10. Signs demonstrating what to do in the event of an emergency 11. Newspapers from before the disaster 12. Medical Records 13. Book shelves 14. Doll in hospital bed 15. Wheel chair 16. Room with items left 17. View into a room 18. Items on shelves 19. Another patient room 20. Records strewn across the floor 21. A messy room 22. Twin beds 23. More items on shelves 24. Corridor in the hospital 25. Sofa with 1985 throw 26. Photos of nurses 27. Waiting room 28. Examination room 29. Sign on door 30. Dosimeter reaching it’s maximum reading 999 millisieverts per hour – a dangerously high level – when placed next to an item of clothing worn by a fire fighter who attended the Chernobyl disaster. Backround radiation is 0.02 millisieverts per hour. Thanks for looking. Now, its cheeky self promo time..... If you liked this why not check out my website - www.bcd-urbex.com
  12. This was organised by some great lads who worked it out so we had decent accommodation Very good guides and made the trip worth every penny. The list of names of those present is never ending but Bigjobs and Hils, SX-riffraff where there as where quite a few other bods some of who you know.Cant be doing with a 5 part report documenting the place from start to finish from every location/area we visited so what ive done was narrow it down from just under 900 pics to 130 for Flickr and 30 for here,so there is many many more on my hdd but these will give you a taste of what i did,with a cheeky video of me shooting teh Guns at the end of the trip..Went into Kiev on the last day for a wander about but im not the poke your camera in someones face type especially when hes holding an axe and is wearing a stab vest!! For me this was something id thought about but due to finances never thought id get to see so big shout out to me Mum and the wife for finding the funds,BigJobs as ever was entertaining and at the same time respectful to the wishes of the guides who explained you climb you fuck it for everyone if police see you so it was a chilled affair.I dont mix well with people if i cant speak their lingo so cheers to those who saved me the hassle of trying to order stuff by grabbing me cola while at the bar.. Pics in no particular order as photobucket likes to mess the order i uploaded them.. When the Hdr boys found this room and lined up for their shots the sound of 7 brackets being fired off from them all was quite a deafening sound Thanks for looking and you will be glad to know there is no part 2 or 3 etc ..job done
  13. Hi everyone! Today I want to tell you about a project that might interest urban explorers. This project is called "The Road to Chernobyl." What is it? My team and I want to create an autonomous quadrocopter and send it to Chernobyl. You know the tragic fate of the Soviet city? But I remind you a little bit. Chernobyl or rather Pripyat - a Soviet city, which is located on the territory of modern Ukraine. Unfortunately, in 1986 near Pripyat there was one of the largest man-made accidents - an explosion of one of the Chernobyl NPP. This led to the formation of a radioactive cloud and deaths (as civilians and rescuers who tried to destroy the effects of the accident). Many researchers and politicians put forward most different theories about the origin of the accident. Some are talking about negligence of maintenance personnel Chernobyl NPP, some are inclined to theories of political sabotages. But is it so important? This is own opinion of each person. But the fact remains that Now we have a dead city where time stopped still in 1986. Everyone who visited Pripyat, saw things exciting consciousness. Dead atmosphere unharvested linen and several scattered toys - nothing was touched since the accident. And thanks to this we can see the consequences of urbanization. And now back to the project. So my team and I (we all enter into a creative and scientific association "Points") want to show the world the "life" of this dead city. But we want to show this original. To do this, we will build a standalone quadrocopter. It will be equipped with the following devices: 1) two cameras (one for video and one for photos) 2) radiation sensor 3) temperature sensors, humidity and pressure. 4) gps-unit How did he fly? At the quadrocopter will be recorded route on which he will fly using gps-navigation. The path starts from Simferopol (Crimea, Ukraine) and ends in Pripyat. In general quadrocopter will have to go about 780 miles! Maintaining power to operate will be due to the installation of two alternative energy sources - wind turbine and solar panel. And what happened? Along the way and in the dead city quadrocopter will photograph the area and take the data from the sensors. Then it sends them along with gps coordinates to the server, where they are processed and posted for everyone to see. For some people will have access to a video camera, which is mounted on a rotary mechanism. That is, they will be able to direct the camera. And, ultimately, we have launched this project on indiegogo, which is a platform of ÑÂrowd funding. If you are interested in this project, «welcome, join us." If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer all. If you want to learn more: our blog: http://asuglasses.blogspot.com/ our project on indiegogo: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/road-to-chernobyl/x/5469924 Yours! I hope you enjoy our project
  14. No doubt this place has been done a fair few times and you all know the history, so I'll get on with the photos. This was a visit that was mainly organised by Strefazero, but also by Carbonangel on another well-known UrbEx forum. This was my first time here. I'm hoping to go back. Anyway... There were a fair few scary-looking dolls lying around, this was one! There's some incredible artwork and murals on walls in buildings! This was in the Post Office. ...and what's an UrbEx trip without a rooftop with a decent view? There are many other photos I didn't include here, so for the full collection, please click here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesstified/collections/72157631746057973/. Thanks for looking!
  15. To help keep this long report concise: Deafult = In the Zone/Relevant Green= Out of the Zone/Non Relevant ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Part 1 At 1:33 am on the April 26th 1986, a routine emergency drill conducted under unsafe circumstances, possibly due to strict management and cost cutting, Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant overheated and went into meltdown. Fire-fighters were fast to act, but were not aware of the severity of the situation and treated it as if it was a normal fire. 31 workers and fire-fighters died in the weeks after the incident. The final death toll is in its thousands as many cancer deaths are believed to be linked. 3 of the plant workers displayed bravery on unimaginable levels. This blog is dedicated to those people, not just to the liquidators and fire fighters whom I will explain later, but to Engineers Alexi Ananenko, Valeri Bezpalov and Boris Baranov. The 1200 Celsius Corium was burning through the floors at such a rate that if it hit the cooling reservoir, it would cause a steam explosion so severe it could have made Europe uninhabitable and killed millions. The only way to drain this was manually, so Ananenko and Bezpalov; kitted with just diving suits dived into the highly contaminated water, taking in radiation at extremely high doses, to open the sluice gates and prevent the explosion, with Baranov holding a faulty torch. As the torch flickered the two engineers successfully drained the reservoir, but the damage was already done. They sacrificed their lives for you and me several days later. The next day the entire population of Pripyat was evacuated; residents believed that they would return in 3 days. That was in 1986 and they will never return to their homes. The government put in a 30km exclusion zone which makes up for 1,100 square miles; an estimated 200,000 people made homeless. Many people forced their way back to their former abodes against government order, and still live there today. Some 600,000 “Liquidators†were called upon, or volunteered to try and reduce the level of radiation on the grounds of the exclusion zone between 86 and 92. The Plant continued operating till 2000, despite radiation, with some amenities in Pripyat such as the pool staying open till as late as 1996. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ We arrived on the evening of my 23rd Birthday at Kiev Airport to a nice hot and sunny evening, after a fairly uneventful flight of three hours on an extreme budget, no frills airline. We were excited about our adventure in part of the ex-Soviet Union. After being collected from the airport, we walked what seemed like a fair way to our driver’s car. He didn’t speak any English, and we didn’t speak any Ukrainian. On the short journey to our hostel in the centre of Kiev we got to see many Soviet cars, to mine and Scott’s delight, and also some pretty defensive driving! So the driver dropped us off outside an old apartment building, and helped us with our bags. He put us into a rickety old lift, clad with Formica which couldn’t have been more than 5 foot by 6 foot, and claimed to take 6 people. He pressed one of the huge buttons on the aluminium plated control bar with the number “6†written next to it in permanent marker. We went up in two groups as there were people already waiting to go up in the lift which bumped its way up the floors, which you could clearly see whizzing past between the middle of the two doors. It was excellent! So, we finally find our way to our hostel. This apartment block was old, pre Soviet Union, and was made up of several hostels and apartment rooms. We knock on the door and the owner answers. He has no idea of our booking, and insists he has no rooms available. 3 hours and 1,500 miles from home, we are without a room! So we phone back our tour firm owner on his emergency number, and we relay messages; deciding we should go down two floors and try the hostel down there. We have already been paid the money for the hostel at this point, so we do have the available funds We are approached by about three people, none of whom speak English. By this point I wish I had bought a phrase book with me! We kick about outside the hostel for a bit, throw some ideas about, and we decide that we should one at a time withdraw our Hirviniya; a currency unavailable outside the Ukraine. I was a little nervous after hearing the stories of ex Soviet countries, as an English boy with sterling in my pocket, and withdrawing money with my Barclays Bank Card. Finally with several hundred UAH; barely £50, I start walking back to the hostel and receive a phone call. The proprietor we have been waiting for has found us a room! The girl is young, our age, and speaks perfect English. She supplies us with a map marked with the best Ukrainian restaurants and bars in the local area. After a bit of walking, we have our best meal on the whole trip in a Ukrainian eatery, and then decided to explore the streets. We grab 3 good quality lagers from a street vendor; £2.90 for the entire round, and walk down the pedestrian strip. We are surprised to see packets of cigarettes for about 75p a pack on similar street stalls to the one we bought the beer from. Kiev has lots of really pretty buildings, but the Soviet Union was still apparent in places, one minute a brand new G-Wagon would pass by, the next a beaten Lada, Moskvich, Volga, UAZ, VAZ or Zaporozhet would chug past, which wasn’t a bad thing for me and Scott, the two car buffs. Soviet concrete also reared its head between historic buildings. After Tom and Scott proceeded to stock up on booze (a bottle of vodka is normally no more than £3 for a litre), we decided to go back to our hotel rooms. By the time we got to sleep it was 2am, (midnight at home), setting our alarms for 6 as we want to get some daytime photos of Kiev. The sun and heat are pretty impressive compared to the cloudy, grey weather we left behind in the UK. After this we eat a breakfast a buffet type café, which cost us tuppance, and walk back to the Hostel. After check out we wait in anticipation for our guide to arrive. I am looking forward to driving the old Lada from our holiday cottage to the zone, but when we are picked up in Kiev, the guide has no idea of this arrangement, and we would be using his car over the two days. During a phone call between our guide and someone in the office, I hear the words â€ÂPripyat†and Lada be thrown around several times, and eventually it is agreed I drive the Lada after we arrive at the cottage for a few hours as an experience of Ukrainian roads. I was happy with this arrangement as not only did I pay for an International Driving Permit; I also wanted to use the Lada as promised! This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I did not know the roads, and valuable touring time would have been lost in driving to the zone in a 32 year old VAZ-2101. On the way to the first checkpoint; our knowledgeable guide points out various things by the roadside, such as the largest battery chicken farm in Europe, and old Soviet Era vehicle inspection ramps dotted about… After the long drive from Kiev and checkpoints, we arrive in Chernobyl. There are a lot of survivors live here, and people who work at the plant today, as scientists, government agents etc. The plant isn’t actually located in Chernobyl and shares only the name. There are memorials here, both for Fukishima and the Chernobyl disaster. In the memorial park are signs to remember villagers who have died, but not in the Chernobyl Disaster, they have died of old age. The average age of death here is high, around 96. The Fukishima Memorial is made of two metal origami swans, remembering the 2011 meltdown. From here, we drove down to the area of abandoned boats. These boats, like everything else were abandoned here in 1986, but are not believed to be dangerously radioactive. Kopachi was evacuated by the 3trd of May, all 1,114 inhabitants. It was the only part of the Chernobyl exclusion zone to have all of its buildings demolished and buried as part of an experiment of cleaning up radiation leaving only this nursery behind. This nursery is one of the touristy hotspots. When we arrived, our guide showed us the two Geiger counters, one for Beta, one for Gamma. Beta was almost non existent, and Gamma was low, except in the soil round the nursery. Take some time to look at these pictures and realise what was left behind. Believe me, this is the tip of the iceberg… http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3768/9261530444_f73d78c968_z.jpg We take the old road to the power plant, and stop of next to the cooling ponds to take in the scenery. From here we can see almost everything, the destroyed reactor, the three remaining reactors which operated till 2000, and reactor 5 and 6, due for completion in 1988. Chernobyl was intended to be the largest Nuclear Plant in the world with 12 reactors. It was in the top five largest in the 1986 disaster. Huge Catfish swim these ponds, but are only huge due to having no people to fish them. They are not mutated. Unfinished Cooling Tower Unfinished Reactor Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Reactor Cooling Ponds Another View of the Unfinished Reactor
  16. I am not sure where to start with this one to be honest. I visited last year with my brother and 14 other friends, acquaintances and alcoholics. Our trip had been organised by someone who had been there regularly for about 5 years, so we were able to organise a longer amount of time within the zone. We even went as far as staying at the workers barracks, eating with the workers and being subjected to the same curfew as the whole zone. Which meant that we experienced a small slice of what it was like living in communism. Our journey started with a short hop in a plane to Kiev and having got our tickets cheap we did not arrive at the usual airport. Rather, we arrived at Zhuliany, only to find that it had only reopened to public traffic in the recent months. This meant the arrival lounge was a marque on the side of the runway, and customs was a single burly man. The baggage handling facility were two guys named Boris and Antonov, who happily threw the bags from the airplane and through the side of the marque with a thump. Due to the massive insufficiencies, one border guard and 4 plane loads of passengers, we very nearly did not make it to the exclusion zone before it was closed. A mad dash across the Ukrainian outback ensued, with us listening to Armin van Bureen loudly and having the driver pay more attention to showing us his weapon collection than the road! Eventually we arrived. Short of dinner, water and anything to do, we hit the hay for the night. You may notice it is day time in the photo below, we snapped this on the way home Check Point One Our morning started early, we were up for breakfast within the canteen at 7:30am to eat with the locals. After this, we drove all of 100m down the road to one of the 4 shops within Chernobyl Village. This shop was an experience, the owner spoke no English and we spoke no Ukrainian. And our guide did not offer any help. We also experience a slightly backward way in thinking, the shop owner would add up the totals on an abacus and the present the total using a modern calculator It was here I discovered Kvass. Chernobyl004 Chernobyl006 Our first day took us to a large number of sites that were far from the beaten tourist trails that are run out of Kiev. We saw the fire fighters memorial, 5&6 Cooling Towers, Reactor 4, Pripyat, Fire House, Police Station, Leisure Centre, Middle School, Laboratory, Greenhouses, Chernobyl Village. The Most important memorial in the World The cooling towers for Reactors 5 & 6. This place had a high background radiations, so we spent little time here. It was worth it for the acoustics and the birds of prey soaring above... Cooling We then hopped back into the minibus and headed round to the old railway bridge to feed the giant catfish. This was the only time I saw any active security away from the checkpoints - out of no where, a man with dog and gun appeared out of the bushes and strolled off into another set of bushes. Bugger knows who he was, or where he was heading. Chernobyl019 Chernobyl023 After this, we went round to the main reactor memorial and entrance to piss about with group photos etc etc. We did pass the French built reprocessing plant, and from what I understand, they tooled it wrong and it is a $500 million white elephant. Only 50 times higher than background After this, it was into Pripyat itself. Pripyat 1970 Here we saw the fire station, police station, swimming pool, one of the many middle schools and the streets of Pripyat. We also saw the filming of Young and Radioactive - from the title you can probably guess that this was on the bluer side of the spectrum! Fire Station: Maintenance Bay Police Station, complete with Soviet Symbols: The Red Star Chernobyl068 Scrap Value The swimming pool / leisure centre. This was still in use in 1996 when the power station was still switched on! Pripyat Leisure Centre Chernobyl085 Swimming Pool Pripyat Leisure Centre The Middle Schoool #5 Pripyat Middle School number 5 Something Blue Type Face Kindergarten / Soil Sample Labs - this kindergarten was converted to a laboratory which tested the soil samples collected from all of the zone. This allowed for the relief map to be created showing the most devastated areas. Kindergarten/Laboratory Kindergarten/Laboratory Greenhouse Our final stop for the say was the radioactive sandbucket. Which measured an impressive 2500 times background radiation! Sand Buket After a busy first day, we jumped back in the van to experience more Eastern Europe delicacies, beer and slightly wild cats Cat
  17. We all know Pripyat and the story. I went there last week and although its totally played out and is now a full-on tourist attraction it still is shocking to see first hand. This was on the first day of a 2 day tour I did with a non-forum friend and one of the many buildings we hit up. I recommend anyone thinking of going to get over there ASAP. Pipryiat bus station closed in April 1986 after the explosion in Chernobyl. The station is situated just on the city border and is a fairly small building still containing lots of character. And finally the bus route map still hanging on the wall.... Thanks for looking.
  18. Pripyat - 2012

    Evening all, Covered some of this as part of our trip to Chernobyl. Private tour and partial free roam next time. History Pripyat is a ghost town near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, part of Kiev Oblast (province) of northern Ukraine, near the border with Belarus. Pripyat was founded in 1970 to house workers for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It was officially proclaimed a city in 1979 but was abandoned in 1986 following the Chernobyl disaster. It was the ninth nuclear city (Russian: ????????? atomograd) in the Soviet Union at the time and its population was around 50,000 before the accident. After the disaster the city of Pripyat was evacuated in two days.Along with its prime goal as being home to nuclear power plant's employees, Pripyat had been viewed as a major railroad and river cargo port in northern Ukraine. The urban nomenclature was quite typical for the time. There were traditional ideological names on the city map such as Lenin Avenue, International Friendship Street, Heroes of Stalingrad Street, etc. There also were some street names that had local bearings, e.g. Embankment Street, Builders Avenue, and Enthusiasts Avenue. Lesya Ukrainka Street has cultural implications: it bears the name of one of the greatest poets of Ukraine. The standard Soviet theme was also included in the naming scheme: Igor Kurchatov Street was named after the "Father of the Soviet Atomic Bomb". Pripyat had a defined city centre where the city hall (or city council), the largest shopping centres, major recreational and public catering facilities and the Polissya hotel were located. The official evacuation note: "For the attention of the residents of Pripyat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station in the city of Pripyat the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating. The Communist Party, its officials and the armed forces are taking necessary steps to combat this. Nevertheless, with the view to keep people as safe and healthy as possible, the children being top priority, we need to temporarily evacuate the citizens in the nearest towns of Kiev Oblast. For these reasons, starting from April 27, 1986 2 p.m. each apartment block will be able to have a bus at its disposal, supervised by the police and the city officials. It is highly advisable to take your documents, some vital personal belongings and a certain amount of food, just in case, with you. The senior executives of public and industrial facilities of the city has decided on the list of employees needed to stay in Pripyat to maintain these facilities in a good working order. All the houses will be guarded by the police during the evacuation period. Comrades, leaving your residences temporarily please make sure you have turned off the lights, electrical equipment and water off and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short-term evacuation." They never did return. #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 Thanks for looking in.
  19. Evening all, Had the opportunity to visit Chernobyl and Pripyat last October. This involved time to explore Pripyat and the abandoned funfair which is an Urbex icon. Welcome to Chernobyl - edge of the Red Forest. History Pripyat was a city in the Ukraine built to house workers for the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. At its height it had around 50,000 inhabitants with provision for up to 70,000. The city was built in a triangular plan and featured alternating five-story buildings and high-rises, with the city lined with broad vistas, open spaces, and the horizon visible from almost every corner. Unlike the old cities with their tiny yards and narrow streets, Pripyat had been initially planned to look free and vivid, all for the comfort of its inhabitants. Besides the calculated boost of street space, the goal had been achieved by making the streets and blocks symmetrical. Taken together, these solutions were intended to immunize Pripyat from such scourges of modern times as traffic jams. Facilities in the city included: - Population: 49,400 before the disaster. The average age was about 26 years old. Total living space was 658,700 m2: 13,414 apartments in 160 apartment blocks, 18 halls of residence accommodating up to 7,621 single males or females, and 8 halls of residence for married couples. - Education: 15 primary schools for about 5,000 children, 5 secondary schools, 1 professional school. - Healthcare: 1 hospital that could accommodate up to 410 patients, and 3 clinics. - Trade: 25 stores and malls; 27 cafes, cafeterias and restaurants could serve up to 5,535 customers simultaneously. 10 warehouses could hold 4,430 tons of goods. - Culture: 3 facilities: a culture palace, a cinema and a school of arts, with 8 different societies. - Sports: 10 gyms, 3 indoor swimming-pools, 10 shooting galleries, 2 stadiums. - Recreation: 1 park, 35 playgrounds, 18,136 trees, 249,247 shrubs, 33,000 rose plants. - Industry: 4 factories with total annual turnover of 477,000,000 rubles. 1 nuclear power plant. - Transportation: Yanov railway station, 167 urban buses, plus the nuclear power plant car park of about 400 units. - Telecommunication: 2,926 local phones managed by the Prypiat Phone Company, plus 1,950 phones owned by Chernobyl power station's administration, Jupiter plant and Department of Architecture and Urban Development. On 26th April 1986 an experiment involving a power-down of the reactor caused an explosion at Reactor 4. The resulting fire burned for over 9 days, sending radioactive clouds over most of Europe. The inhabitants of Pripyat were told to take a minimum of belongings for a temporary evacuation, and everyone was bussed out of the city over 48hours. Little did they know they were never to return. A link to the movie we were shown when we were there is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKKz45ORPQQ I think we can all admit before even watching this how sad and upsetting such a disaster is for the world. On with some photos from the funfair. #1 #2 #3 #4 - from the roof of the hotel #5 Thanks for looking in.
  20. I found this Kindergarten very very sad indeed,with all the reminders left behind in a hurry as the citizens were evacuated.I also wondered about how many children had perished since this dreadful accident occurred.Was glad I saw it but it was my least favorite explore out of the 20 plus buildings we saw. I personally found this Kindergarten quite hard to visit..one of those places,where afterwards,no-one really spoke about what we had seen....
  21. The funfair is situated in the city park to the rear of the Palace of Culture.Sadly the fair never opened on May Day,as planned.When we visited,our guide put her Geiger counter down on the tarmac and it went into overdrive..needlessly to say,we didnt spend too long here.For me,this was my favourite part,being a huge fan of fun fairs. That was the Fair Ground..wished we had more time there,but the Geiger counter put paid to that. Thanks for looking folks.
  22. One of many mini explores we did whilst at Pripyat,Chernobyl.The Azure swimming pool is the most well known of the three pools in Pripyat.Used by Pripyat workers until 1996,it quickly fell into disrepair. In 1996 But now... Sorry about the last two if you dont like HDR, Many thanks for looking.
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