Thursday, July 9, 2015

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Posing as I hold my trusty Dosimeter. 
If you cannot read Cyrillic you will not know the sign reads Chernobyl and is the entrance to the city. 

Chernobly is the entrance to the start of the 10 km exclusion zone. When arriving you need to pass through two check points. One at 25km out and the second at 10km from the epicentre of the explosion.

In order to get entrance too the exclusion zone you have to apply for permission from the government. Your paperwork must match your passport at the time of entrance. If anything does not match you will not be allowed access.

This statue was made personally by the men from the #1 fire department in the back. The unit from this fire department was the first too respond. The statue is dedicated to "the men who saved the world".

Over 200 villages were evacuated between Ukraine and Belarus. This village sits in the 25km exclusion zone. As you can see everything is overgrown and falling apart.

An old playground merry-go-round

Had a chance to visit one of the old schools in the 25 km zone.

While still in the 25 km zone I decided to take a radiation reading. Typical radiation found in our daily life in a normal city is around .11 to .17. The device was set to warn you with a bell at 3.3 and as you can see it was surpassed in this particular area around the school.

Empty classroom

These cots were just for the students for afternoon naps.

Reminders of children everywhere.

Just plain creepy

Nuclear reactor #4 and the new sarcophagus being built in the background. 

Of the 6 nuclear reactors only #4 had the meltdown. You can see the old sarcophagus surrounding the  reactor. 

I consider myself extremely lucky that I get to view the original structure. As of 2017 the new sarcophagus shown will be completed and slid over the existing building. After that they will began to deconstruct the reactor. Every piece of material will remain inside this structure even after deconstruction. 

It was 37 degrees the day I visited but you will notice the long sleeves and pants. you are not allowed into the zone with exposed skin. This is to protect you from radiation particle. You are also not allowed to touch anything or sit on anything while in the zone. The readings on the dosimeter from this range was in the area of 7-8.

It has been 29 years since the disaster and studies have shown that natures has bounced back. But some better than others. These are giant catfish that live in the contaminated cooling ponds that were used for the reactors.

They were HUGE!!!! Each was about 2 meters in length and looked like bloody sharks swimming in the pool.

A monument dedicated to the first 30 people who died. 
A lethal does of radiation for an extended period is around 8. The men who worked at putting out the fire from the start were exposed to a dose of 300.

One of the highest concentrations of radiation is an area just west of reactor #4 called the red forest. The dosimeter goes off the charts when you pass through here. You do not leave the asphalt road!!!! Signs are everywhere warning you of the dangers.

Centre square of Pripyat

As with myself many think Chernobyl was the actual city where the majority of people were evacuated. But this is wrong the city where 50,000 people were evacuated in 3 hours was the town of Pripyat. It was founded in 1970 specifically to support the workers and there families of the nuclear facility. 

Abandoned amusement park

This was one of the higher readings of the day and was found near the amusement grounds. When you walk around the city you will notice that the soil level was lower once you stepped off the asphalt area. I was told that this was due to the fact that they actually stripped off all the top soil within the city assuming that this would remove the contaminated soil.
 Allowing residence to move back into the city. 
The fact is scientist now know that the area will be uninhabitable for permanent residency for over 240,000 years!!!!!!!!!

Gas mask found in a high school

Someone with a sick sense of humour

Climbed to the roof of a building to get a better perspective. Please take note of the trees. In many places they are as tall as the buildings.

We need to remember the accident happened April 26, 1986 over 29 years ago.
 Nature has come back in full force here and has claimed the city back as her own

Upon leaving the zone you must be tested for radiation particles at both the 10 mile zone and the 25 mile zone. If the machine does not give you a pass you have three options.

1) Get your clothes decontaminated while you wait in the zone
2) Leave your clothes there and drive home naked
3) Stay in the zone forever

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