How far is Chernobyl?

Feb 23, 2011 by

How far is Chernobyl?

Chernobyl nuclear Power Plant was located on the outskirts of the Ukrainian town of Pripyat.

April 26th 1986 is the day on which the most serious nuclear accident in history occurred: the fallout of radioactivity was 400 times higher than that caused by the two bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

That day Pripyat had less than fifty thousand residents.

No one can live there anymore and everything has remained as it was. Still, the heart of the radioactive “Reactor 4” still burns, it melts the rock and continues to sink into the ground.

Today there is only one road that leads there. The whole area is closed off by police checks. To access it you need a special permit and must comply with a number of precautions to limit exposure to residual radiation.

But it takes very little to realize that instead of being contained behind a strict formality, it is a flourishing tourist industry itself.

80 € are enough to visit Pripyat and Chernobyl. Tours are “all included”: English speaking guide, a small bus with a driver and lunch at the cafeteria with the workers who are restoring the remains of the sarcophagus of “Reactor 4”.

Click to view slideshow

Nevertheless, exploring these enormous concrete skeletons (being erased after 24 years of oblivion) gives food for thought.

In Pripyat nature has taken back much of suburban lawns.

Following the hasty evacuation, many people took away everything that could still be used and all homes are now empty.

The paint cracks, curls and falls from the walls. Broken dolls lie scattered in what was one of the kindergartens, now suffocating in dust. The floors of dark rooms sparkle with broken glass…

Click to view slideshow

Outside, someone has drawn graffiti, black figures reminiscent of the “shadows” left on the buildings in Hiroshima by those who perished instantly, incinerated by the atomic bomb. There are also color figures of children playing. What a contrast.

Yet…something does not fit.

In the high school some of the abandoned books are too well-preserved considered they have spent 24 Ukrainian winters.

On the steps of what was once the largest hotel, lie – nicely posed – a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush.

It is clear that someone has started to realize the potential of the ruins of Pripyat.

Click to view slideshow

It’s about time to decide whether the  Chernobyl area has to become a tourist trap or should remain a mementum of past mistakes.

Photos and article by Giovanni Baldini for S4C

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26 Comments

  1. Thanks for the Chernobyl article. It is helpful to read facts about the region. Previously, The History Channel’s Life After People showed Pripyat as a ghost town. It is cool to read further into the long-term effects that radiation has on an abandoned city. Thanks again.

  2. Liza Siler via Facebook

    32 miles.

  3. John Sanders via Facebook

    MOVE !!!!!!!!

  4. Regarding the efficacy of France’s dependency on Nuclear Energy here is some vital information for consideration.

    France’s Nuclear Accidents:
    These are accidents and problems having caused contaminations to persons, full or partial closures of plants for periods of time, threats to ground water and a host of other issues. I have listed them by date of incident, not by level of significance. Additionally, it should be noted it was not until pressure was placed on the French government following two extremely high profile radioactive releasing accidents in 2008 that Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo acknowledged that France’s nuclear facilities had experienced a total of 115 “small irregularities” in 2008 ALONE.
    I question the safety of France’s nuclear energy, as at this point, a good portion of the French citizenry does.

    November 1967
    October 1968
    October 1969
    July 1979
    March 1980
    September 1980
    January 1981
    October 1983
    April 1984
    May 1986
    August 1986
    April 1987
    April 1988
    December 1988
    April 1989
    January 1990
    May 1990
    September 1990
    December 1990
    June 1991
    July 1992
    2nd incident July 1992
    August 1992
    November 1992
    January 1993
    October 1993
    December 1999
    January 2002
    May 2005
    June 2008
    June 2008
    July 2008
    July 2008
    July 2008
    July 2008
    July 2008
    July 2008
    August 2009

  5. That is one great idea – thanks Brooke and ready to hit the couch and will probably fall asleepand wak up some time a go to bed – nighty, night and hope you have a great one – Hugs

  6. Put your feet up and relax, sweet Jane. oxo!!! <3

  7. That is so neat Caroll – thanks so much for posting it – I was going to look it up and see if I could find a site – thanks so much – you saved me a lot of time – I thought I knew how close we were to one but not sure – thanks again – OK I’m rampling – that it the kind of day I have had – I’m ready to put on the brakes 😉

  8. No, I don’t really know but not close I don’t think as we live in North Eastern Indiana – Guess I could check couldn’t I? 😉 I hope you know the rules of ditching out real fast if you have to since you live pretty close – stay safe and well – Thanks for another great post

  9. Dean Fancy via Facebook

    I have a loud-azz evacuation siren mounted on a light pole right down the street. That puts me within the 20 mile radius, I think. If the thing goes off we’re all supposed to get in our cars and drive to Maine. I’m not sure if emergency response planning factored in contingencies for when the draw bridge is up.

  10. Dean Fancy via Facebook

    I have a loud-azz evacuation siren mounted on a light pole right down the street. That puts me within the 20 mile radius, I think. If the thing goes off we’re all supposed to get in our cars and drive to Maine. I’m not sure if emergency response planning factored in contingencies for when the draw bridge is up.

  11. Minh-Hanh Nguyen via Facebook

    Thank you for bringing this into our radar screen. We used to live not too far from one when we were in Dalat, Vietnam.

  12. Most people don’t realize that here in California there was an early nuclear reactor “accident”. The Santa Susana Sodium Reactor Experimental (SRE) was a small sodium-cooled experimental reactor built by Southern California Edison and Atomics International at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, near Moorpark in Ventura County. It came on line in April 1957, began feeding electricity to the grid on July 12, 1957, and closed February 1964. This reactor used sodium rather than water as a coolant and produced a maximum of about 7.5 to 20 megawatts (electric). It was considered as the country’s first civilian nuclear plant and the first “commmercial” nuclear power plant to provide electricity to the public by powering the near-by city of Moorpark in 1957.

    Here is the significant issue —–On July 26, 1959, the SRE suffered a partial core meltdown. Ten of 43 fuel assemblies were damaged due to lack of heat transfer and radioactive contamination was released in California.

  13. Dearest Jagoda, I’m sorry you had difficulty with the link please try again. Thank you for your interest and your thoughts. b : )

  14. David Traub via Facebook

    All of France is powered by Nuclear power. It can be safe.

  15. Tanya Kasim via Facebook

    I live pretty near an olive press and I can sometimes smell the nasty stuff coming from there.

  16. well said and my point exactly.

  17. We actually live 3 blocks from a now closed, non-operating nuclear power plant, and I don’t feel any better about it. Didn’t we drive through Love Canal in Niagara Falls on our tip back east? Remember that horror?

  18. David Traub via Facebook

    It’s okay Ruth, thanks. It’s 12 years and cancer free! I wish I had my thyroid back though.

  19. Kathryn J. Stiles via Facebook

    I live 20 miles from a nuclear reactor.

  20. David Traub via Facebook

    When I got Thyroid cancer in 1999. They told me I had 2 kinds of cancer at the same time. Papillary and folicular! They asked if I grew up near a nuclear reactor. I was glib and said I grew up in Connecticut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They said they’d that they had never seen a case like mine. I’ve always been an over achiever.

  21. Understandably, not knowing what products could be imported from fallout zones…..

  22. We were told not to buy anything off base… had to buy from the commisarry things that came from America..

  23. Whew…..What was that like for all of you, Kathleen?

  24. I was stationed in Germany when Chernobyl happened.