A Winter’s Day in Chernobyl

It is widely known that on the 26th April 1986 Reactor No. 4 at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in Ukraine exploded during a test spewing out radiation into the air.  The nearby town Pripyat which was built to house the workers of the Plant and their families  was evacuated, approximately 50,000 people left leaving everything behind. Tours are available from Kiev to Pripyat and this is the only way to get inside the 30km exclusion zone, and whilst its costly, I paid $160USD and the tour companies require just about everything off you but your left arm (I recommend contacting a tour company about 2 weeks before you decide to go) I would recommend a visit.  Most pictures I’ve seen of the Nuclear Reactor and Pripyat are taken in the summer, I headed there in winter which I think makes the town look a lot more eerie and I shot a lot of photos in black and white which added to the effect (not that it needed it).

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On the mini bus on the drive into Chernobyl

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Standing outside Reactor No. 4

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The entrance sign to the ghost town of Pripyat

After going through numerous security check points and stopping in Chernobyl town for a talk about what happened at Chernobyl we boarded the mini bus once again and headed towards the reactor, whilst driving past the Nuclear Plant our guide made it clear we could not take any photos until we were stopped at a viewing spot for the reactor, our guide pulled out a device to show the radiation levels which measured at 1.91 uSv/h normal is around 0.06.   We headed to Pripyat afterwards and spent the next few hours walking around in the snow and also inside the Palace of Culture, a school and an apartment building as well as the famous amusement park.

Images of Pripyat

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It’s hard to imagine that 25 years ago Pripyat was a thriving town, many of the buildings were looted and what is left is now falling apart having to be careful where you walk inside due to broken glass, collapsing floors and ceilings and debris scattered throughout the buildings.

Photo of the ferris wheel taken from inside the Palace of Culture

Photo of the ferris wheel taken from inside the Palace of Culture

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Reactor No. 4 as can been seen from Pripyat

Once we left Pripyat we went back to the security checkpoint and entered a building which had large radiation detectors which we had to walk through and get the green light before we could leave.  Back in Chernobyl town we sat down to a lunch which was included as part of the tour before heading back to Kiev.

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Checking our radiation levels

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Ukrainian lunch to finish the tour

I found this to be a very interesting day and am glad I got to experience it.  I have read as of April 2012 tours are not able to enter the buildings anymore due to a floor collapsing injuring tourists.  I would still recommend spending a day walking amongst the buildings and amusement park area and to see what the effects of a Nuclear meltdown can have on an area. Travelled to Chernobyl: 1 March 2010 copyright

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