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Old Posted Jan 6, 2019, 1:55 AM
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A summer walk in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Last summer, on my way back from my traditional summer trip in Siberia, I decided to stop in Ukraine. There I visited Kiev and also took a two days tour in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
Despite my love for abandoned and other eerie places, I must say that for years I was rather reluctant to visit the Exclusion Zone, not because of any fear of radiations, but because I was afraid that the place had become some sort of tourist trap for people looking for a cheap thrill, and because I prefer the less known spots.
Anyway, since I was in Ukraine, I couldn't pass the opportunity.

On the negative side :
The place is indeed becoming some sort of tourist trap. There is even a souvenir shop at the entry of the zone ! And like in any tourist trap, they are not specially honest (they sell postcards and, for an extra, they propose to post it for you from Chernobyl... I still haven't received mine).
Also, in the most iconic spots (like the Pripyat sign, the ferris wheel or the power plant itself), there were quite a few groups at the same time. Obviously it's not as crowded as Venice or Times Square, but sill.

On the positive side :
I didn't expect to see so many things in just two days, and to have such freedom in some spots, like roaming freely despite all the risks (and I am not talking about the radiations here, but about the crumbling buildings). Of course, to be able to see so many things, we never stayed for a very long time in each spot. I wished I could have stayed a little longer sometimes.
Also, despite all the "tourist trap" thing, the place still retain all of its eeriness, especially when the Geiger counter suddenly goes mad (the levels of radioactivity vary greatly from one spot to another).

If you ever want to visit the zone, I can only recommend you to take at least a two days tour. I think most tourists go for a one day tour, they are indeed a lot cheaper, but in just a few hours I guess you only have the time to see the most iconic spots which happen to be the most "crowded" too. In two days, we saw these iconic places, but also a lot of other places, more lonely and less seen in all the documentaries or threads about Pripyat all over the internet.
If I ever come back to Chernobyl, I think I will go for an even longer tour (at least three days, or why not a week ?).

Here is a video I edited from I what I shot during the tour :

Video Link


The pics :

1- A vehicle that was used by the liquidators to clear contaminated waste :


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5- This used to be a theatre :


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11- In front of the Chernobyl sign :


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13- Trumpet of Apocalypse ?


14- The names of all the towns evacuated forever in 1986 :


15- On the other side :


16- Pripyat :


17- Chernobyl :


18- Some kind of monument to the other nuclear disasters :


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20- It's probably the only statue of Lenin left in Ukraine !


21- Contaminated shipwrecks :


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23- A monument to the liquidators :


24- Contaminated robots that were used to clear the nuclear wastes :


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28- Local monument to the soldiers who died during the Great Patriotic War (WW2) :


29- Here, 1.52 microsievert/hour. The natural radioactivity in Ukraine is between 0.15 and 0.30 microsievert/hour, but 1.52 is still not really dangerous.


30- The radioactivity varies greatly from one spot to another. The highest levels are measured on certain grounds (especially on the moss) :


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To be continued (lot of pics to post)...

Last edited by Nantais; Jan 6, 2019 at 11:05 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2019, 2:09 AM
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Interesting! What is new to me is that Chernobyl is so big, that you need to explore it in a couple days. I figured it was about the size of a small town or a city neighborhood. It sounds like it's much bigger.

By the way, you need to fix your link for #7.
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Old Posted Jan 6, 2019, 2:16 AM
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fantastic - thanks for sharing - looking forward to more.
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Old Posted Jan 6, 2019, 5:29 AM
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I guess no pics from inside the power plant!!
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  #5  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2019, 5:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
Interesting! What is new to me is that Chernobyl is so big, that you need to explore it in a couple days. I figured it was about the size of a small town or a city neighborhood. It sounds like it's much bigger.
Actually the Exclusion Zone is pretty large, it covers some 2,600 km² and there is a few dozens of villages and two main towns : Pripyat and Chernobyl, which is still partly inhabited by the soldiers charged of watching the zone and controlling the check points, and by the workers charged of maintaining the power plant (but they only live there temporarily). There are also a few hundreds of permanent inhabitants who refused to leave their home in 1986. Those are old now and are fewer and fewer each year.



Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
By the way, you need to fix your link for #7.
Thanks ! Fixed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcexpress69 View Post
I guess no pics from inside the power plant!!
No, of course ! Though we had our lunch in the power plant canteen on the second day.


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55- Portraits of the first responders (workers of the power plant and firefighters) who intervened right after the accident. They all died within weeks. These men are heroes, they prevented an even more serious disaster which would have affected the whole world :



To be continued...

Last edited by Nantais; Jan 6, 2019 at 5:51 PM.
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Old Posted Jan 6, 2019, 6:17 AM
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thanks for the photos and advice.

one of these days i want to go there.

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Old Posted Jan 6, 2019, 6:45 PM
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This led to the Khitomer accords right?
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  #8  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2019, 10:15 PM
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59- This used to be a supermarket :


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72- Now that's radioactive !
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  #9  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2019, 10:16 PM
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Fascinating.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2019, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nantais View Post
20- It's probably the only statue of Lenin left in Ukraine !
Obviously because the place has to be abandoned, right?
They didn't even take time to tear down the last statue picturing the dude.

However, it is said that this guy was actually a rather honest man.
You know, 'intègre' as we say in our language, but a bit like mad Robespierre that would decapitate anyone not as fiercely honest as he was.
Though their Russian Lenin was definitely softer than our Robespierre...

I would've been shocked by a Stalin statue, but this one is still ok.
You got to have respect for intègre men.
They own a rare virtue in this world.
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Old Posted Jan 8, 2019, 12:22 AM
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You could never get me to go there.

Interesting pics, though.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2019, 11:10 PM
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73- This used to be a football field. Now it's a forest :


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77- The other side :


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83- Getting inside a tower block :


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87- The elevator machine room :


88- View from the roof (the power plant sarcophagus can be seen in the distance) :


89- A fellow urban explorer on the roof :


90- The sarcophagus :


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To be continued...
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  #13  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2019, 9:42 PM
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The "Duga" radar near Chernobyl was one of the two of its kind operated by the Soviet Union during the 1970's and 1980's. Back then, it was obviously a secret military place (these radars were used for the missile defense of USSR). This place is huge, and as abandoned as all the other structures in the Chernobyl zone.

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99- Going inside the command centre :


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  #14  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2019, 12:17 AM
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Thanks for the tour! Never seen or heard about this huge Duga radar.
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  #15  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2019, 9:23 PM
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106- Inside the training room of the young officers who were in charge of the Duga radar :


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109- A model of the town built near the Duga radar to accomodate the soldiers who worked on the site :


110- Inside an apartment block :


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114- A playground :


115- A wooden plane for the kids :



To be continued...
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