My Trip to Chernobyl – in 2009

In all this time I had this blog (from 2013), I never thought once to put up my photos I took when I went to Chernobyl and Pripyat back in March of 2009 but I suppose the seeming popularity of the recent HBO miniseries has caused my just to add to the hive of information that is out there.

Prologue

If you are still reading this and haven’t skipped to the pictures already then I’ll just give a bit of personal background.

There was something about growing up in the 80’s that to a child it seemed to be a decade full of disasters.  The Cold War didn’t impact on me in the slightest, I was too young to understand that, but the stuff that disrupted my favourite TV programmes being shown, now that always hit home hard.

The capsizing of the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry outside of Zeebrugge in 1987, the Marchioness disaster is 1989, Hillsborough, Challenger exploding in 1986.  The impact of sudden deaths out of the blue had a big effect on me, it was a feeling that had replaced my fear of earthquakes and volcanoes; once the realisation that the UK isn’t exactly on fault lines or a hot-bed of volcanic activity and it was a paranoia that was eventually supplanted by the hysteria of mad cow disease in the early 90’s.

But one disaster held me in more awe and grim fascination that all others and that was the one that happened in reactor number 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in then Soviet Ukraine on the 26th of April 1986.

Fast forward close to 23 years and, having heard money was going to be spent on covering the disaster site more securely than the initial sarcophagus that was hastily constructed just after the disaster, I made it a mission to get out there and get some photos while I still could.

Photos

By all means share these photos, though I would like a credit if you would be so kind, any questions about my time there will be happily answered below.

This may extend to a few more posts as there are quite a few pictures.

A few “whhhaaattt” things that always got me.  Because of the energy deficiency that was met with the loss of reactor 4, I’m pretty sure I was told that the other reactors continued to operate “as normal” during the whole time period after the fall out.

And that; I think to this day, the French deny that any of the radioactivity from the disaster went anywhere near French soil.

First off I think we should all remember the immense sacrifice the liquidators (or bio robots), or just the ordinary firefighters who risked and gave their lives to clean up the site so the rest of the world would not have to suffer as much.

This tested us for radiation before and after our visit.

The road inside the exclusion zone and towards Chernobyl, with the site in the distance.

The decidedly small amount of background radiation outside the disaster site.

The school and associated playground.

It is about this time when you realise that even though it is still an active military site with exclusion zones, urban explorers can still get in.  Vandals get in there is graffiti everywhere and obviously tourists, so you do sometimes wonder just how “posed” some of the scenery is and just how things were left following the evacuation of Pripyat.

The recreation centre and the hotel I think.

Bits and pieces.

The fairground, may have been permanent may have been for the planned May Day celebrations.

The flora and fauna was radio active and we were advised not to step on any grass or moss or leaves where possible.

The tower blocks and housing with the reactor in the distance.

The nuclear research centre.

The “Red Forest” where the radioactivity detector went mental for the brief period it was held out of the van window.

Finally (maybe) is what I believe is called Chernobly-2, or “The Russian Woodpecker” – a huge radar array that was officially discovered following the accident.  With the size of this thing and the fragility of the never maintained original sarcophagus over reactor 4, it was suggested that if this thing collapsed the resulting ground tremor could have shaken and caused the collapse of the sarcophagus leading to the radioactivity still in the old reactor core being released all over again.

Makes you think.

Forward to Fukushima.

 

Thanks for reading.

6 thoughts on “My Trip to Chernobyl – in 2009

  1. How do you feel about the claim that by visiting the Chernobyl site you are actively encouraging ‘misery tourism’?

  2. That’s enough about Irradiated wastelands, what’s your take on the Boris Johnson Heck Sausages fiasco??

    • That this “fiasco” took about 4 days before salty people got really salty about it shows that sulking for 3 years can bring out quite irrational behaviour. Boycotters vs “I’ll buy from them as I’d not heard of them before” will probably even themselves out.

      Though in this day and age I doubt very much that that many people who will not buy their products actually did so in the first place.

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