Thursday, May 10, 2018

Chernobyl Tour, Ukraine

ChernobylЧорнобиль, is about 104 km (65 miles) north of Kyiv.  It was founded in 1193 and gained city status in 1941.  Chernobyl is most known for the world's worst nuclear accident which occurred on 26 April 1986 in what was the Soviet Union.

Here's a video I found on YouTube that does a very good job of simplifying the science behind what went wrong.
©Radio Free Europe
And here's an RT video about some of the delays in evacuating people following the accident.

©RT News

First Responders Memorial
Prior to the accident, Chernobyl was home to about 14,000 people.  Today the population is about 690.  Chernobyl falls within the 30 km (18.5 miles) exclusion zone.  It's pretty much a ghost town and many of the people there work two-week shifts there and then leave for two weeks.

In 2015, Ukraine passed legislation for decommunisation.  Street names and public places with communist-related themes received new names while communist symbols were removed.  But there's still a statue of Lenin standing in Chernobyl.

There were about 160 villages that fell within the exclusion zone and were evacuated.

ZalissyaЗалісся, was home to 2,849 people.  Nature has taken over the village and it really looks like something out a zombie apocalypse movie.

Within the exclusion zone is the once top-secret Duga radar station. It was an over-the-horizon radar system that functioned as an anti-ballistic missile early-warning system.  The system used to produce powerful shortwave radio bursts that produced a repetitive tapping sound so it became known as the Russian Woodpecker.

The station  was in service from July 1976 until December 1989.

The other two stations that made up the system have since been destroyed.  However, this site can't be demolished because of the radioactive particles that would be released in to the air.

KopachiКопачі, is another village that has been evacuated since 1986.  All of the houses were torn down and buried but at the time the government hadn't realised that this further contaminated the soil and water.

There's a WW2 monument and just a kindergarten and another brick building still standing.  Going in to the kindergarten is hauntingly surreal.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is 14,5 km (9 miles) from Chernobyl and 16 km (10 miles) from the border with Belarus.

It used to be called the Lenin Nuclear Power Station and in Soviet times it produced 10% of the electricity in Ukraine.

Reactor #4 was the one that exploded.  Even still, the other three reactors remained in service.

It is now covered with the new sarcophagus which was the world's largest movable structure.

Here's a video about the new sarcophagus.
©NBC News

PripyatПрипять, is 1.5 km (1 mile) from power plant and it was built for the workers.  It was founded in 1970 and declared a city in 1979.  It had been home to 49,360 people before everyone was eventually evacuated in the afternoon on 27 April 1986.

It was once a model Soviet city but today it is a full on ghost town.

The city's amusement park never actually opened.  It was scheduled to open on 1 May in time for the annual May Day festivities.

There are strict rules to be followed while on the Chernobyl tour.  As a safety precaution, we were scanned three different times throughout the day.

Visiting Chernobyl and Pripyat is another item I get to cross off of my bucket list.  I've been on many tours before but I must say that this was by far the best one I've ever been on.  It's a long day but definitely a must do.

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