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:
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.
"[...] 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":
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:
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.
By TheBaronof Scotland
Day 1 of a very memorable trip, wanted to do this for so long and as such the opportunity arose a few weeks back to make it happen.
With it being very short notice, I went on my own and joined a public tour for 2 days, with 5 other folk, only 1 other person taking pictures !! time was limited in each location as we tried to cram in as many different locations as possible.
As such I only had approx 45 mins in here............. first of a few reports to follow of each place i thought worthy of a report
By The Wombat
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.
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