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Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Disaster

Northern Ukraine - Oct. 2008

  • On April 26th, 1986 reactor #4 exploded, sending a huge plume of radioactive particles high into the atmosphere. The fire burned for days and the area was evacuated. The reactor is still there and the neighboring city of Pripyat still lies abandoned. A 30 km exclusion zone is in effect around the area and there are several military checkpoints along the way. I had the privilege of visiting the reactor site and seeing the abandoned city. In total, I spent 2 days inside the exclusion zone and made short trips into the more contaminated areas.
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  • More historical information can be found here regarding Chernobyl and Pripyat
  • Into The Chernobyl Radioactive Disaster Zone

    Reactor # 4

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    The "sarcophagus" which was built around reactor #4 to help contain the radioactivity.

    The steel and concrete structure is going to get an overhaul in the next few years since it is at the end of its operational lifespan.

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    Welcome to Chernobyl. The Soviet Union was very ambitious and proud of their atomic program at the time.

    A memorial to the fire fighters that died at Chernobyl. They were the first ones in and they received the highest doses of radiation.

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    In front of the reactor. I was only allowed to stay here for 15 minutes due to the radiation.

    Measuring the radiation levels with a radiometer.

     

    The Abandoned Town of Pripyat
  • 36 hours after the explosion in the reactor, the residents of the nearby town of Pripyat were evacuated. The city of over 45,000 people remains frozen in time, slowly decaying. Visiting this place was an amazing, creepy, eye opening experience. it was truly one of the most disturbing places I've ever been to. Because the city is still so radioactive, our time there was limited.
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    Trees and other foliage overgrow the abandoned office buildings and apartments in Pripyat.

    A small travelling amusement park was coming to town and they were going to open up a few days after the disaster. The bumper cars sit unused since 1986.

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    The ferris wheel is still standing but is in a bad state of decay.

    The view from inside the ferris wheel ticket booth.

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    The children never had the chance to enjoy the rides before they were bussed out of town.

    The radioactive remains of Pripyat. Everything here is contaminated.

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    A building entrance near the hospital.

    One of the hospital hallways.

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    books and medical records scattered across the floor of this hospital office.

    One of the many health & safety posters that remain on the hospital walls.

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    Radioactive medicine bottles.

    An examination room at the hospital.

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    In the maternity ward. Rusting baby cribs lined up.

    Every room in the hospital was full of items left behind during the evacuations.

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    The gymnasium at one of the schools. The floor was rotting away but the basketball hoops remain.

    Soviet posters with pictures of Lenin and communist slogans still adorn the walls in some of the classrooms.

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    In Pripyat, the students learned the 4 R's - Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Radiation... Class dismissed.

    A gas mask on the countertop in one of the classrooms.

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    The exterior of the school.

    Most of the cars in Pripyat were buried because they were so radioactive. This bus is one of the only ones remaining.

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    Rusting boats near Pripyat that are too radioactive to salvage.

    Radioactive tanks, left behind during the evacuations and cleanup.