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Chernobyl 20+ Years After the Accident
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User submission
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Architecture, History12 years ago

Chernobyl 20+ Years After the Accident

“I remember that day when we learnt for the first time what Chernobyl was…

It was a beautiful sunny day [26 April 1986]. My daughter and I were sitting in our yard. A soft spring wind was blowing. Suddenly a huge military truck stopped right in front of us. A man wearing a gas-mask and a protective costume jumped out of the truck and began to walk around us, gazing at some device that was hanging on his chest… Then he looked at us, fastened a little sign with a symbol that we had never seen before, got back into the truck and drove away. Everything happened in complete silence. No word was pronounced. We were just looking at the sign and the truck and had no idea what was going on… The day was not that beautiful anymore…”

From the memories of an elderly woman,

Yurovichi village

Northern Ukraine, Kyiv Oblast, near the border with Belarus. Prypyat used to be proud of being home to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers but something terrible happened on 26 April 1986… Its population had been around 50,000 prior to the infamous nuclear disaster. Today, the only residents of this ghost town are deer and wolves along with a solitary guard.

According to experts’ evaluations, the damage caused by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident equals about $235B which corresponds to 32 Belarus’ annual budgets of 1986 — the year of the disaster.

Let the story be told by the creepy pictures taken approximately 20 years after the Chernobyl disaster along with comments made by the authors of the photos. The exclusion zone was formerly off-limits to civilians but that didn’t stop these photographers from going into this irradiated area to snap these pics. Now, Pripyat is open once more and those interested in extreme tourism can visit the town with a guide.

Chernobyl Now

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

“The sign on the road to Pripyat, the town where the workers of the nuclear plant lived.”

Chernobyl Bridge of Death

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

“After the explosion at Reactor 4, the people of Pripyat flocked on the railway bridge just outside the city to get a good view of the nuclear energy reactor and see what had happened.

Initially, everyone was told that the nuclear radiation level was minimal and that they were safe. Little did they know that much of the radiation had been blown onto this bridge in a huge spike.”

They saw beautiful rainbow-colored flames of the burning graphite nuclear core, whose flames were higher than the smokestack itself. All of them are dead now — they were exposed to levels of over 500 roentgens, which is a fatal dose.

Pripyat Abandoned School Buildings

(Bamboos for: misterbisson)

“Deserted secondary school near Chernobyl, Illinsty, Ukraine. Dec 1995 0.96.07.01.19”

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben) and Anosmia)

Below: “At a 20th-anniversary Chernobyl exhibit on Capitol Hill.”

(Bamboos for: zbruch)

“Children will never run here again.”

(Bamboos for: oinkylicious)

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

“Gym class”

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

Left: “Stairs on the creche/kindergarten near the center of Pripyat”; Right: “Broken doll on top of a corner cupboard in one of the rooms in the creche/kindergarten in the center of Pripyat.”

(Bamboos for: hanszinsli)

“Nursery in the creche/kindergarten”.

Children’s Toys Left Behind

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

“Child’s big toy car in one of the rooms of the creche/kindergarten”. Notice the number plate of the car – 1984. It must have been manufactured 2 years before the accident.

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

The note says, “Rabbit.”

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

“Hay stuffed toy.”

Creepy Doll Found In Pripyat

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

Pripyat Amusement Park & Ferris Wheel

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

“The Pripyat Amusement Park and Ferris Wheel were due to be opened on May 1st. The Chernobyl disaster happened on April 26th.

No one ever managed to ride the Ferris Wheel. It remains one of the most irradiated parts of Pripyat since the disaster, making it still dangerous today, 22 years on.”

(Bamboos for: hanszinsli)

“Bumper car ride in the amusement park in central Pripyat, it was to be opened on the May 1st celebrations of 1986, five days after the accident.”

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

“Ferris wheel control or ticket booth in the amusement park … I’m sure the plush teddy bear was placed there later by someone looking for an emotional photo in this abandoned place, but it’s interesting also to document the later attempts of using the accident to achieve certain media goals.”

Abandoned Hospital in Pripyat

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

“Hospital corridor”.

Chernobyl 20+ Years After the Accident

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

“Found just outside the surgery in the hospital. This hospital received many of Reactor 4’s first victims for treatment immediately after the explosion. The hospital itself however was already exposed to huge amounts of radiation.

Every rescue worker who attended the initial explosion was killed by radiation poisoning.”

(Bamboos for: abandonia)

(Bamboos for: abandonia)

(Bamboos for: abandonia)

Pripyat Swimming Pool “Azure”

Olympic athletes must have been training here for the 70’s/80’s. The pool is really huge – this place must’ve been the best around.

(Bamboos for: oinkylicious)

(Bamboos for: oinkylicious)

More Urban Exploration In Pripyat and Chernobyl

(Bamboos for: Ruben Solaz)

“Pripyat, the ghost city abandoned after the Chernobyl catastrophe, has grown into a forest. Nature takes over, invades and collapses human creations. The views remind us of some apocalyptic films like I Am Legend; Views from the highest building in town, a former Hotel”.

(Bamboos for: Stuck in Customs)

“Radiated Apartment Building”.

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

“The Government has left us. From what I saw inside, I’d presume this was the local government building. There was a political event scheduled for a few days after the explosion and there are many pamphlets and banners still inside. “

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

“These extremely well-preserved posters are the last evidence of what the city’s inhabitants were like. I’m unsure of the details but I believe these men were politicians”.

(Bamboos for: Stuck in Customs)

We can see the hammer and sickle on the roof which is a communist symbol.

(Bamboos for: Carpetblogger)

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

Above: “Dismantled sofa-bed in one of the apartments in the 16 story residential apartment”

Below: “Elevator call button in the 16 story residential apartment building facing the central square of Pripyat.”

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

“Electrical junction box in the 16 story residential apartment building”

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

Above: “Sofa under an open back window in one of the apartments in the 16 story residential apartment building”

Below: “Broken ceiling light fixture in one of the apartments in the 16 story residential apartment”

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

“Newspaper used as a backing to glue the wallpaper in one of the apartments in the 16 story residential apartment building facing the central square of Pripyat.”

Newspapers title: “Pravda” (Truth) – the official propaganda newspaper of the Soviet Union

Newspapers date: “Wednesday, 25th of May 1983”

Articles title on the left: “Africa fights and builds”

Other title at the bottom: “Land owners”

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

Translations from the top to bottom: “Store #1 “Rainbow” Happy to provide service from 11 to 20 (?) Lunch from 14 to 15 Saturday from 9 to 17″ “Lunch from 13 to 14”

Chernobyl Reactor 4 – The Source Of The Disaster

(Bamboos for: Ruben Solaz)

“400m away from the reactor (max allowed)” – 2.0 rt being off-scale of the reader-device. Average radiation level of a non contaminated area: 0.010 rt/m2″

(Bamboos for: Stuck in Customs)

Two more reactors, no. 5 and 6, capable of producing 1 GW each, were under construction at the time of the disaster.

Giant Catfish In Chernobyl

(Bamboos for: Ruben Solaz)

“These giant catfishes survived and developed countermeasures against the deadly radiation levels of the contaminated water in the rivers surrounding Chernobyl. We didn’t dare to have a splash with them, but we fed them big chunks of bread that were guzzled in the blink of an eye!!”

Learn More

If you want to read real stories of Chernobyl survivors you should definitely check: Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

“This book is a punch in the gut. There’s no nicer way to say it. It’s downright devastating. It’s something that every single person should read. Even if you only know Chernobyl and its atomic energy disaster vaguely, two things are made painfully apparent by this book: whatever you’ve read about Chernobyl in the past has probably grossly underestimated the magnitude of the disaster, and the death and injury toll from the accident hasn’t stopped yet. Not by a long shot.” – a review from Amazon.com.

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