We seen a memorial of all the little villages within the Chernobyl area and I was very surprised to see how many there were. Some people have returned to the 30km zone, of course, like us all, they wished to return home.
Next up we went to visit the nuclear power plant, just looking at it drew back memories of happened in April of 1986 and the Soviet Union’s leaders reactions to it. Believe it or not, when the blast first occurred, they convinced themselves that the plant would be reopened at the end of the Summer and really downplayed the accident! For more on this, take a peak at the following newspaper article (which includes Soviet newspaper clippings from the time), bearing in mind that it is written by an American rag (Washington Post on Soviet silence on Chernobyl).
It’s unfathomable to think of how they built the Chernobyl reactor with no containment building (which would have held radioactive materials instead of them being released into the air, into people’s homes and indeed lungs and bodies… Whatever, your opinions are on the Soviet Union, Socialism and Communism (it is my personal belief they did many good things, as well as bad and their ideologies on social cohesion (i.e.everyone working together to survie and prosper) was a good goal (or maybe that’s just from watching too many episodes of The Americans!), this was a massive failure on their behalf. We seen the new confinement structure being build which will cover the reactor and keep us all safe for another 100 years , check out the live feed to see it’s progress 🙂 (Progress of new confinement stucture) Our Geiger counter was singing like mad so we were only allowed to stay here for 10 minutes and that was more than fine by me.
Only a stone’s throw from the Nuclear reactor site, is a river teeming with fish and Sergei (our guide) was saying flora and fauna are thriving in Chernobyl, guess that is due to the lack of our interference and they don’t even have two heads! We seen further evidence of this as we moved on with our tour to Pripyat (main town in Chernobyl) and National Geographic have written up on how wildlife is ruling Chernobyl now. 🙂
Speaking of Pripyat, this is where our tour brought us next. I would like to share with you, the video we watched on the way to Chernobyl which begins speaking about the people of Pripyat and the disaster that changed their lives forever Chernobyl Documentary. Before the accident, Pripyat was a dream town with a funfair, pool and cinema built to facilitate the many workers of the nuclear plant and their families. We explored the town in eerie silence, imagining the people living happily here before disaster struck. We went to the funfair and seen the ferris wheel, the most well known symbol of Pripyat, for me anyway. As we walked around, the funfair and the cinema and stadium grounds, I thought of all the excitement that would have been brewing in the people for the official opening of it all in May. It is sad to think the Pripyat people never even got to enjoy this as the disaster struck before they had the chance to. We seen plants and stray dogs, showing that wildlife really does adapt and how strong it is, even in the face of radiation. We also toured the school which featured music rooms and really seemed like it would have been a fantastic place to educate your children. There were so many gas masks everywhere which struck me as strange, they were there, stored in cupboards in case of an invasion from the US or their allies and then pulled out by the clean up crew after the disaster struck. Sergei told us of people who sneak through the forest and into pripyat to camp for a few days, guess this is what you could call extremist tourism! Our geiger counters got some very high readings in spots so it’s not something I would be chancing over several days. Perhaps they are interested in dark tourism, or in truly feeling how eerie it is, maybe they have an interest in the several computers games filmed here (e.g. call of duty), who knows what happens after hours, perhaps the wolves come out to play.