jeudi 9 mai 2013

Chernobyl Today

Those who want to come to the exclusion zone of Chernobyl have to file documents for a permit two weeks before their visit. Then they are instructed at the checkpoint: visitors are not allowed to smoke, eat in the open air, take any plants or items away from the zone, drink water from the wells, rivers or any other ground sources. Bodies should be covered with clothes leaving as few exposed areas as possible (the seamless apparels are preferable).

The territory is strictly guarded.
In Chernobyl you feel like being in some parallel universe.
Wild Przewalski’s horses were once brought here in the amount of some dozens. And they got accustomed to this place. Now their population has reached seventy heads.
You see rusty construction and already can’t understand what their purposes were. But they are better to be observed from afar. Any house can contain invisible or even fatal surprises.
Today Chernobyl has six shops, 2 cafes, several gyms, the House of Culture, a library. Just like in an ordinary town. But some things will appear in Chernobyl in the distant future. According to the law persons younger than 18 are prohibited to be there. That’s why this place has not had maternity hospitals, schools, kindergartens for more than twenty years.
Almost all multistorey buildings are settled. But they are just office houses or dormitories. The law prohibits to resident any contaminated zone. Five thousand people work on a rotational basis here: they spend two weeks in the zone and two weeks – out. However not all the rules are followed: one guy, for example, admitted that he had been living in Chernobyl for a month already.
The board shows realtime background radiation.
They say that four presindents of some countries are going to come here, so they prepare for the visit. It starts looking clean but lifeless – the way makeup looks on a dead man’s face.
Sovetskaya street.
Here is a memorial of the resettled villages.
This is the monument to the rescuers of the city who were the first who came to the accident site. Every year in April, 26 thousands of people come here, to this monument. As opposed to the monument of the man with the bull on the picture above, this one is never mocked at and spoiled with paints.
This equipment helped to liquidate the aftermath of the accident. For obvious reasons visitors are not allowed to come close.
The authorities of the power plant were being tried in 1986 in this very building. The director, chief engineer and its executive were sentenced to ten years of imprisonment, the shiftman – to five years and the chief of the reactor shop – to three years of imprisonment. Two of them died in prison, the director was set free due to bad health having served 5 years in jail. It is noteworthy that only one of the all, chief engineer executive, partially admitted his guilt. Others believed they were convicted unjustly.
The only church which still functions here. They used to have fifteen churched before the accident. The priest and parishioners claim that the city background radiation is the lowest around the church.
The sarcophagus in which the exploded reactor was buried is called a “nuclear monster” worldwide. Those who regularly work here refer to it as “breadwinner”. While it is here they have jobs, and they can earn here much more than out of the zone.
These people already know which places are safe and which are better to avoid. And they do not need dosimeters. By the way, most of the places in Chernobyl have lower background radiation than Kiev.
Yes, it’s prohibited to drink alcohol in the city, but it can be bought in a local shop anyway.
“Here lives the master of the house” – this is how they indicate the inhabited houses. People who live here believe that it can scare looters away.
It was hard to say goodbye to the homeland. Some people came back in some years to find their houses fully ravaged…
“Be brave and do not be afraid”.
“Forgive me, my house, and goodbye!”
The zone ten kilometers long was evacuated by 21:00, 3rd of May, 1986. Within a week sixty thousand people including all the population of Pripyat, were resettled to other cities, such as Kiev and Chernigov. On the following day they started to evacuate the 30 km zone, whose biggest populated place was Chernobyl. They used thousands of buses and trucks to take people and their property away (12 000 families, 100 000 heads of cattle, pigs, sheep, horses).
Some hundreds of people still inhabit Chernobyl.
Evgeny Makarych had worked as a teacher before the catastrophe. His could not leave the house built by his granddad and his wife and son left the exclusion zone without him.
Locals call this place “Island”. Here had been a shipyard before the accident, and after this place was occupied by the department of forest protection in the polluted area. Scientists say that the territory should be afforested as much as possible. It can restrain the spread of radiation. Not far from the port old rusty ships jut out from the water.
Now we are leaving Chernobyl to see more of the exclusion zone: Pripyat, the sarcophagus of the exploded reactor and the radioactive railway station Yanov…

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