Jump to content
Forum update Read more... ×

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'chernobyl'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • General Discussion & Forum information
    • Forum information
    • Just take a moment & say Hi
    • General Discussion
  • Exploration Forums
    • Military Sites
    • Industrial Locations
    • Hospitals & Asylums
    • Public buildings, Education & Leisure
    • Underground Explores
    • High Places
    • Manors, Mansions & Residential
    • Religious Sites
    • Anything Else
  • Other Forums
    • Video Reports
    • Short Reports
    • Themed Threads


  • About the Forum
  • Urban Exploring information
  • Photography and camera advice
  • Technical Help

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start



Website URL



Found 27 results

  1. I think everybody knows about this area and must not say much about it. We where there for 3 days in February and it was amazing. Enjoy the pics.
  2. was lucky enough to spend 3 days in the exclusion zone earlier this year; some shote within the former USSR "secret" Radar Station
  3. 3 days in the exclusuion zone reactor No 4 Prypyat Chernobyl; overnight stays within the zone locked in the hotel at 10pm curfew and restricted access to beer!! Also getting to meet some of the self settlers who returned to the area of their own accord not long after the disaster; just a few representative pictures taken
  4. 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. 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: 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.
  5. How to post a report using Flickr Flickr seems to change every time the wind changes direction so here's a quick guide on how to use it to post a report... Step 1 - Explore and take pictures Step 2 - Upload your chosen pictures to Flickr like this.. Step 3 - Once your images are successfully uploaded to flickr choose a category for the location that you have visited... Step 4 - Then "Start New Topic".. You will then see this screen... Step 5 - Now you are ready to add the image "links", known as "BBcodes", which allow your images to display correctly on forums.. Step 6 - Then click "select" followed by "view on photo page".. Now select "Share" shown below.. Step 7-13 - You will then see this screen... Just repeat those steps for each image until you're happy with your report and click "submit topic"! You can edit your report for 24 hours after posting to correct errors. If you notice a mistake outside of this window contact a moderator and they will happily rectify the problem for you
  6. I have been wanting to go here for years and finally got round to going earlier this month on a 2 day tour. It was awesome to go and so hard to explain what its like there. The Chernobyl disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities of the Soviet Union, Id put more but you all must know about it. Here are a few of the photos I took
  7. 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 Cheers The Baron
  8. Next set from this amazing place Cheers The Baron
  9. Following on from my Pripyat post, one of the other places on the mini tour was a visit to the Chernobyl power plant. I must admit that this was an extra, and to this day I am not sure that it was a good thing. But go I did. Outside the entrance to the power plant is the memorial to the Liquidators. These were the people who took on the job of "cleaning up" after the nuclear explosion. Interestingly a number of studies indicate that there is no increase in incidents of cancer among the Liquidators. The cynic in me wonders if the government that only allowed the world to know of the explosion after it was obvious to do the massively high radio active readings in Scandinavia, would allow a report which indicated more casualties were the result of the accident? In the background is the sarcophagus which is the structure that "contains" the nuclear core of Reactor 4. The sarcophagus is corroding, far quicker than the scientists thought, and should it breakdown completely, the reactor core would be exposed. In order to prevent this from happening, a new structure is being constructed to encase the reactor. Known as the "New Safe Confinement", the NSC is an incredible structure. I watched a short video on how it was constructed. The dome was assembled first, and then lifted so that the remainder of the arch could be raised in to place. The idea is that the completed arch could be slid over the top of the reactor building. This could only be done once the chimney was removed. Seen in the image below on the left - the chimney has now been removed. I learned on my return from Chernobyl that the removal started the day I returned to the UK. More by luck than any sort of judgement, I had seen, in a manner of speaking, how the reactor would have looked before that fateful day in 1986. As part of the visit to the power plant, we had a talk / presentation on the disaster, the explosion and how that affected the structure of the reactor. After this, we went to one of the control rooms - similar in design to the one that the operators looking after Reactor 4 would have worked in. The processes and procedures governing the operation of the nuclear power plant were so important that only the president could sanction a change in them. However, people will find a way of doing things more quickly, maybe skipping out a step or two here and there. Over the years, and without incident, the strict procedures were not all followed. On the fateful night, there was an experiment. It went horribly wrong. A power surge occurred and when the operators attempted to shut the reactor down, a larger power spike occurred. This cause a series of explosions resulting in the reactor being exposed to the air - the fire that raged sent radioactive particles in to the atmosphere. As the group walked through various corridors, we passed this large red door. I asked our guide what was behind the door. Reactor 4 I was told. I thought he was joking. I mean, why would anyone want to go anywhere near Reactor 4. The reactor that was at the centre of the world's biggest nuclear disaster. I later learned that it was no joke, that is what lurked behind the red door. At the end of the corridor was a memorial to the first person who died as as result of the nuclear disaster. Valery Ilyich Khodemchuk was stationed in the southern main circulating pumps engine room, likely killed immediately; his body never found, buried under the wreckage of the steam separator drums. Valery was posthumously awarded the Order "For Courage" of third degree. As we gathered near the memorial, the air was filled with the sound of our radiation detectors. With so many going off, warning of the levels of radiation, the sound was eerie, scary and hypnotic all at the same time. We were asked to turn them off, so that we could have a 2 minutes silence in memory of those who died. A few seconds after turning off the radiation detectors, the realisation that we were standing very close to the centre of the world's biggest nuclear disaster slowly seeped in. Almost without saying anything we started to move away and walk back down the corridor we had walked along to get to this point. Once outside, we visited a memorial to all those who had died in the explosion. There are no official figures for the number of deaths that could be attributed to the disaster. I am not referring to those that may have contracted cancer of some description as a result of the exposure to radiation, that number will never be known. Rather the workers, both military and civilian who worked around the power plant to contain and make the area... safer. There are 28, I think, official deaths as a result of the explosion. The statue of Prometheus is part of that memorial. It was originally located in Pripyat, and was moved to this spot after the disaster. Hopefully I haven't offended anyone with my, sometimes scathing report, thank you for viewing
  10. Construction of Chernobyl's reactors number 5 & 6 continued throughout the night of the explosion at the 4th nuclear power plant. If the glow of the fire wasn't visible from the upper levels then as dawn broke the smoke must have been. Despite the disaster unfolding next door at 8am that morning the 286 construction workers of the day shift clocked on. Construction work on 5 and 6 was soon stopped but resumed again on the 10th October 1986. Six months later on the 24 April 1987 work was once again halted and on May 23 1989 the decision was made not to complete the reactors. Reactor 5 was approximately 70% complete at the time of the accident. The 6th was scheduled for completion in 1994. When functioning Reactors 5 and 6 would have been capable of producing 1,000 MWs each. This was a highlight of the trip, somewhere none of us were expecting to see and a crazy experience involving many sketchy obstacles. Definitely not one for the faint hearted, some of the rusty staircases and ladders would've made a whore blush (sorry I couldn't think of the right metaphor). Then we had to balance on wobbly beams with drops disappearing into the darkness to reach the reactor room. Still amazed that we were allowed to go up there in all honesty but it's a different set of rules over there. The tourist trade has been slow since the conflict with Russia began so the guides were keen to impress. Hope you enjoy the pics. 1. Our first look at the place the day we arrived in the zone 2. On the approach we had no idea we would be allowed to climb to the top 3. One of many rusty old cranes surrounding the plant 4. 5. 6. Construction materials strewn everywhere on the ground 7. Some of the better steps and ladders.... 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. A collapsed crane lies on it's side below 13. 14. Some of the sketchier ladders.... 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. This was the room where the nuclear reactors were destined to be placed 22. A murky view across to reactors 1, 2, 3 & 4 Cheers for looking
  11. The Chernobyl disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. An explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of the western USSR and Europe. It was the worst nuclear power plant accident in history in terms of cost and casualties, and is one of only two classified as a level 7 event (the maximum classification) on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011). Kopachi was a small village near Chernobyl, it was entirely torn down as it was heavily contaminated, only the kindergarten - which was too solid to tear down quickly - remained..... Thanks for looking
  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. I have been meaning to get here for years and over Halloween weekend I finally made it. It didn’t disappoint, the place is awesome packed full of treasures that have been left behind after the 1986 evacuation. We had a two day private tour of the zone and took in various sights over the two days. We had a cracking guide who had no problem in letting us into the buildings even though the official line is that it is prohibited to enter them! I'm not sure how many guides actually stick to those rules and that's fine by me! So, in no particular order here a few pictures of some of the stuff we did see. #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24
  14. Duga 3 (OTH) Radar During our trip to Chernobyl and Pripyat our man on the ground informed us we were off to Duga-3. We jumped in the van and headed off into the countryside a few kilometres from the centre of Pripyat through the vast forests of northern Ukraine to the site. The sight of Duga from the road as we headed in was intimidating, this behemoth of Soviet steel that stood before us getting taller and taller the closer we got started to make my palms sweat and my heart rate rise. I only had one thought on my mind. History The Russian Woodpecker was a notorious Soviet signal that could be heard on the shortwave radio bands worldwide between July 1976 and December 1989. It sounded like a sharp, repetitive tapping noise, at 10 Hz, giving rise to the "Woodpecker" name. The random frequency hops disrupted legitimate broadcast, amateur radio, utility transmissions, and resulted in thousands of complaints by many countries worldwide. The signal was long believed to be that of an over-the-horizon radar (OTH) system. This theory was publicly confirmed after the fall of the Soviet Union, and is now known to be the Duga-3 system, part of the Soviet Anti-ballistic missile early-warning network. The Soviets had been working on early warning radar for their anti-ballistic missile systems through the 1960s, but most of these had been line-of-sight systems that were useful for raid analysis and interception only. None of these systems had the capability to provide early warning of a launch, which would give the defences time to study the attack and plan a response. At the time the Soviet early-warning satellite network was not well developed, and there were questions about their ability to operate in a hostile environment including anti-satellite efforts. An over-the-horizon radar sited in the USSR would not have any of these problems, and work on such a system for this associated role started in the late 1960s. The first experimental system, Duga-1, was built outside Mykolaiv in Ukraine, successfully detecting rocket launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 2,500 kilometres. This was followed by the prototype Duga-2, built on the same site, which was able to track launches from the far east and submarines in the Pacific Ocean as the missiles flew towards Novaya Zemlya. Both of these radar systems were aimed east and were fairly low power, but with the concept proven work began on an operational system. The new Duga-3 systems used a transmitter and receiver separated by about 60 km. Starting in 1976 a new and powerful radio signal was detected worldwide, and quickly dubbed the Woodpecker by amateur radio operators. Transmission power on some woodpecker transmitters was estimated to be as high as 10 MW EIRP. As well as disrupting shortwave amateur radio and broadcasting it could sometimes be heard over telephone circuits due to the strength of the signals. This led to a thriving industry of "Woodpecker filters" and noise blankers. Example of the signal Triangulation quickly revealed the signals came from Ukraine. Confusion due to small differences in the reports being made from various military sources led to the site being alternately located near Kiev, Minsk, Chernobyl, Gomel or Chernihiv. All of these reports were describing the same deployment, with the transmitter only a few kilometers southwest of Chernobyl (south of Minsk, northwest of Kiev) and the receiver about 50 km northeast of Chernobyl (just west of Chernihiv, south of Gomel). Starting in the late 1980s, even as the Federal Communications Comission (FCC) was publishing studies of the signal, the signals became less frequent, and in 1989 disappeared altogether. Although the reasons for the eventual shutdown of the Duga-3 systems have not been made public, the changing strategic balance with the end of the cold war in the late 1980s likely had a major part to play. Another factor was the success of the US-KS early-warning satellites, which entered preliminary service in the early 1980s, and by this time had grown into a complete network. The satellites provide immediate, direct and highly secure warnings, whereas any radar-based system is subject to jamming, and the effectiveness of OTH systems is also subject to atmospheric conditions. According to some reports, the installation was taken off combat alert duty in November 1989, and some of its equipment was subsequently scrapped. The original Duga-3 site lies within the 30 kilometer Zone of Alienation around the Chernobyl Plant. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Thanks for Looking
  15. 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/
  16. 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
  17. Evening all, As part of our 35 man tour in April this year, one of the early morning stops on our first day was at this village on the outskirts of the powerplant and within the exclusion zone. The Chernobyl contamination was divided into four exclusion zones based on radiation amounts. The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with highest contamination is officially uninhabited. In truth, over 2,000 elderly villagers illegally resettled their homes and farms inside the Zone. Today nearly 400 remain. More than 3,000 workers manage the Zone, living in Chernobyl town during 4-day and 15-day shifts. Another 3,800 personnel commute daily to work at the Chernobyl plant from their new home in Slavutych. After the accident in 1986, over 160 towns and villages nearby were evacuated. Many were demolished, some were simply abandoned. This village that is beyond the main zone of exclusion where radiation fell but evacuation was not mandatory. In Ukraine, this included over two thousand villages. The accident and indirect consequences continue to affect these residents physically, economically, socially and psychologically. The questions remain - Why do people stay? No alternatives or a sense of duty or because this is their home? On wandering around in the time we had, there were a few villagers who came out to see what was going on as someone attempted to access their home. Just goes to show that people are resilient and decide to plod on, regardless of the situation. One had cattle and crops in the garden. Some of the photos. Thanks for looking in.
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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!
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. These are my short vids from in and around Pripyat..again,best viewed with the sound down really..I would never get a job with ITN as a cameraman The Azure swimming pool. Main Square in front of the Palace of Culture Main Square incorporating Lenin Avenue The Bridge of Death near Pripyat where many residents flocked to view the Reactor after the explosion Reactor4,viewed from the cooling canal road Driving away from Reactor4 towards Reactor5 Middle school 3 or more popularly known for where all the gas masks are The Avangard Stadium Avangard Stadium2 The Jupiter Plant,more well known for its use in the STALKER game..one of our party actually knew what to expect before he saw the place. And finally,the Funfair..starts off shakily but it gets better..I had never used the camera before as I bought it for this trip Thats it folks..it gives anyone planning on going here a sneak preview of what to expect,
  25. Evening all, Obviously, I couldn't get closer than these photos, as you will be aware the reactors are derelict and work is ongoing to continue to house them in the new sarcophagus that is a constant exercise in ensuring that the fallout from this disaster is sealed so I thought I'd post a few photos of the reactors we are allowed to take photos of and some history of the firefighters. History The Chernobyl disaster is widely considered to have been the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and is one of only two classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011). The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles. #1 - Reactor 4 #2 - Reactor 4 on the way to the plant #3 - Reactors 5 & 6 The Firefighters An article on the 25 years + since the "liquidators" faced the fires of Chernobyl news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2011/04/110426/ch... The Chernobyl disaster is widely considered to have been the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and is one of only two classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011). The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles. The official Soviet casualty count of 31 deaths has been disputed, and long-term effects such as cancers and deformities are still being accounted for. Shortly after the accident, firefighters arrived to try to extinguish the fires. First on the scene was a Chernobyl Power Station firefighter brigade under the command of Lieutenant Volodymyr Pravik, who died on 9 May 1986 of acute radiation sickness. They were not told how dangerously radioactive the smoke and the debris were, and may not even have known that the accident was anything more than a regular electrical fire: "We didn't know it was the reactor. No one had told us." Grigorii Khmel, the driver of one of the fire engines, later described what happened: We arrived there at 10 or 15 minutes to two in the morning... We saw graphite scattered about. Misha asked: "Is that graphite?" I kicked it away. But one of the fighters on the other truck picked it up. "It's hot," he said. The pieces of graphite were of different sizes, some big, some small, enough to pick them up... We didn't know much about radiation. Even those who worked there had no idea. There was no water left in the trucks. Misha filled a cistern and we aimed the water at the top. Then those boys who died went up to the roof – Vashchik, Kolya and others, and Volodya Pravik.... They went up the ladder ... and I never saw them again. However, Anatoli Zakharov, a fireman stationed in Chernobyl since 1980, offers a different description: I remember joking to the others, "There must be an incredible amount of radiation here. We'll be lucky if we're all still alive in the morning." Twenty years after the disaster, he said the firefighters from the Fire Station No. 2 were aware of the risks. Of course we knew! If we'd followed regulations, we would never have gone near the reactor. But it was a moral obligation – our duty. We were like kamikaze. The immediate priority was to extinguish fires on the roof of the station and the area around the building containing Reactor No. 4 to protect No. 3 and keep its core cooling systems intact. The fires were extinguished by 5:00, but many firefighters received high doses of radiation. The fire inside reactor 4 continued to burn until 10 May 1986; it is possible that well over half of the graphite burned out. The fire was extinguished by a combined effort of helicopters dropping over 5,000 metric tons of sand, lead, clay, and neutron absorbing boron onto the burning reactor and injection of liquid nitrogen. The Ukrainian filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko captured film footage of an Mi-8 helicopter as its main rotor collided with a nearby construction crane cable, causing the helicopter to fall near the damaged reactor building and killing its four-man crew. It is now known that virtually none of the neutron absorbers reached the core. From eyewitness accounts of the firefighters involved before they died (as reported on the CBC television series Witness), one described his experience of the radiation as "tasting like metal," and feeling a sensation similar to that of pins and needles all over his face. (This is similar to the description given by Louis Slotin, a Manhattan Project physicist who died days after a fatal radiation overdose from a criticality accident.) The explosion and fire threw hot particles of the nuclear fuel and also far more dangerous fission products, radioactive isotopes such as caesium-137, iodine-131, strontium-90 and other radionuclides, into the air: the residents of the surrounding area observed the radioactive cloud on the night of the explosion. Timeline 1:26:03 – fire alarm activated 1:28 – arrival of local firefighters, Pravik's guard 1:35 – arrival of firefighters from Pripyat, Kibenok's guard 1:40 – arrival of Telyatnikov 2:10 – turbine hall roof fire extinguished 2:30 – main reactor hall roof fires suppressed 3:30 – arrival of Kiev firefighters 4:50 – fires mostly localized 6:35 – all fires extinguished With the exception of the fire contained inside Reactor 4, which continued to burn for many days In the city of Chernobyl there stands a simple memorial to the liquidators who rushed to reactor number four in the immediate aftermath of the explosion. The firefighters who initially responded to the disaster on the morning of April 26, 1986 were unaware that they were entering a radioactive environment, and rushed to the plant without donning protective suits and respirators. While they labored to extinguish the fires, their bodies absorbed lethal doses of radiation, and many of them later died of Acute Radiation Sickness. Overall, some 600,000 workers, including scientists, miners, and Soviet military conscripts, participated in the Chernobyl cleanup efforts. To this day, many of them continue to experience a variety of health problems stemming from their time spent in the zone. The plaque on the monument is inscribed “To those who saved the world.†#1 the Firefighters memorial #2 #3 Finally...the plant 25th anniversary memorial This memorial was made of the same substance that the sarcophagus is made out of, hence when putting the dosimeter near to it, the meter calmed right down. Nothing to worry though, it was quite a low reading and not dangerous to anyone before you ask #1 #2 #3 - robotic clean up vehicle As you can appreciate, its one hell of an experience to go there and see the place and what they are doing there constantly to stop the nuclear fall out entering the atmosphere. Thanks for looking in.