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About APOD

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  • Birthday 03/02/1977

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  1. Because of the limits - full report (4x longer) is available here: http://www.podniesinski.pl/portal/fukushima/
  2. MADE IN JAPAN When I visited Chernobyl for the first time 7 years ago, I didn’t think that a similar disaster could take place anywhere ever again, and certainly not in Japan. After all, nuclear power is safe and the technology is less and less prone to failure, and therefore a similar disaster cannot happen in the future. Scientists said this, firms that build nuclear power stations said this, and the government said this. But it did happen. When I was planning my trip to Fukushima I didn’t know what to expect. There the language, culture, traditions and customs are different, and what would I find there four years after the accident? Would it be something similar to Chernobyl? NO-GO ZONE The decision not to come to Fukushima until four years after the disaster is a deliberate one, as most of the destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami has been cleared up. Above all, I would like to focus on the accident at the nuclear power station and the effects it had on the environment and the evacuated residents, and compare it to Chernobyl. For this reason, what I would like to do the most is see the orange zone and the red zone, the most contaminated and completely deserted. In the latter, no clearing up or decontamination work is going on. Here time has stood still, as if the accident happened yesterday. A separate permit is required for each of the towns in the red zone, which is issued only to people who have a legitimate, official reason to go there. No tourists are allowed. Even journalists are not welcome. The authorities are wary, they enquire after the reason, the topic being covered, and attitude towards the disaster. They are worried that journalists will not be accurate and objective when presenting the topic, but they are most likely scared of being criticized for their actions. I try to arrange entry into the no-go zone while still in Poland. I get help from colleagues, authors of books, and journalists who write about Fukushima. They recommend their friends, they recommend their friends, and they recommend their friends. It is not until I travel to Fukushima and spend two weeks there that I am able to make contact with the right people. It turns out that the knowledge I have and the photographs I have taken in my career from numerous visits to Chernobyl convince these people to help me. NAMIE A week later I have the permit in my hand and can finally make my way to Namie, one of three towns in the no-go zone. Although the town is completely deserted, the traffic lights still work, and the street lamps come on in the evening. Now and again a police patrol also drives by, stopping at every red light despite the area being completely empty. They also stop next to our car and check our permits carefully. Checkpoint Off-licence Police patrol In order to see the effects of the tsunami we go to the coast, where all of the buildings were destroyed. Although four years have passed, the clean-up is still going on, although most of the damage has now been cleared up. Behind the buildings one concrete building stands out, which was capable of withstanding the destructive force of the tsunami. It is a school, built using TEPCO money, where the schoolchildren luckily survived by escaping to the nearby hills. The primary school building that survived is situated a mere 300 metres from the ocean. On the tower, as in all of the classrooms, there are clocks which stopped at the moment the tsunami came (at the time the power went off). Remains of destruction in the aftermath of the tsunami. A photograph from the school’s observation tower. School computers One of the classrooms on the first floor in the school. There is still a mark below the blackboard showing the level of the tsunami wave. On the blackboard in the classroom are words written by former residents, schoolchildren and workers in an attempt to keep up the morale of all of the victims, such as / we will be reborn / we can do it, Fukushima! / stupid TEPCO / we were rivals in softball, but always united in our hearts! / We will definitely be back! / Despite everything now is precisely the beginning of our rebirth / I am proud to have graduated from the Ukedo primary school / Fukushima is strong / Don’t give up, live on! / Ukedo primary school, you can do it! / if only we could return to our life by the sea / it’s been two years now and Ukedo primary school is the same as it was on 11 March 2011, this is the beginning of a rebirth./ Gymnasium Namie at dusk. Despite the area being totally deserted the traffic lights and streetlamps still work. FUTABA Another week of waiting and finally I receive the permit to go to Futaba, another town in the no-go zone. This town, which borders the ruined power station, is the town with the highest level of contamination in the zone. There has not been any clearing up or decontamination due to the radiation being too high. For this reason we are also issued with protective clothing, masks, and dosimeters. The checkpoint in front of the Fukushima II power station. In the background a building of one of the reactors. Deserted streets in Futaba Go-Kart racing track The town’s close ties with the nearby power station are not just a question of the short distance between them. Next to the main road leading to the town centre I come across a sign across the street, and in fact it is a slogan promoting nuclear energy, saying „Nuclear energy is the energy of a bright future†– today it is an ironic reminder of the destructive effects of using nuclear power. A few hundred metres further on there is a similar sign. A message of propaganda above one of the main streets of Futaba – „Nuclear energy is the energy of a bright future†When visiting Futaba, which borders the damaged nuclear power station Fukushima I, I can’t help but try to photograph the main culprit of the nuclear disaster, but unfortunately all of the roads leading to the power station are closed and are heavily guarded. With a little ingenuity one can see it, however. But first I go to see a nearby school. A school in Futaba. A dosimeter showing a radiation level of (2,3 uSv/h) Musical instruments left behind The damaged Fukushima I power station When leaving the red zone there is a compulsory dosimeter checkpoint. Our turn In the vicinity of the red zone I happen to notice an abandoned car. It is hard to make it out from a distance, it is almost completely overgrown with green creepers. When I get up closer I notice that there are more vehicles, neatly organised in several rows. I guess that the cars became contaminated and then were abandoned by the residents. A moment later the beep of the dosimeter confirms this. One of the abandoned cars Site where vehicles have been dumped. Aerial photograph. INTERIORS While I am in the zone I devote a lot of time and attention to taking photographs of the interiors. Photographs of this kind give a very good illustration of the human and highly personal dimension of the tragedy. They also make us aware of what the residents of Fukushima lost and the very short time they had for the evacuation. When taking photographs of the interiors of the buildings the similarities to Chernobyl are even more striking, although in Chernobyl, after almost 30 years since the disaster and thousands of tourists visiting it, it is hard to find any untouched objects. One time a teddy bear is lying completely covered with gasmasks, and a month later it is next to the window, put there so that a tourist could take a photograph in better light. These are things that were staged subsequent to the incident. In Fukushima, the disaster remains seared into the memories of residents, the evacuation order still in force, and the total lack of tourists mean that everything is in the same place as it was four years ago. Toys, electronic devices, musical instruments, and even money, have been left behind. Only a tragedy on this scale can produce such depressing scenes. Restaurant KFC Gaming saloon Cash desk in a gaming saloon Off-licence Hairdresser’s Children’s bedroom Supermarket Supermarket Supermarket CONCLUSION I came to Fukushima as a photographer and a filmmaker, trying above all to put together a story using pictures. I was convinced that seeing the effects of the disaster with my own eyes would mean I could assess the effects of the power station failure and understand the scale of the tragedy, especially the tragedy of the evacuated residents, in a better way. This was a way of drawing my own conclusions without being influenced by any media sensation, government propaganda, or nuclear lobbyists who are trying to play down the effects of the disaster, and pass on the information obtained to as wider a public as possible. This was only the first trip, I am coming back to Fukushima in the autumn, and there is nothing to suggest that I will stop in the near future. This should not be understood as a farewell to Chernobyl, I will be visiting both places regularly. Seven years ago I ended my first documentary on Chernobyl with these words: „An immense experience, not comparable to anything else. Silence, lack of cries, laughter, tears and only the wind answers. Prypiat is a huge lesson for our generation.†Have we learnt anything since then?
  3. 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/
  4. 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