- CRITTER TALK
In the zone of alienation in northern Ukraine, Kiev Oblast, near the border with Belarus. Its population had been around 50,000 prior to the accident. Today, the only residents are deer and wolves along with a solitary guard.
Prypiat used to be proud for being home to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers. But something happened on 26 April 1986…
It took three days before all permanent residents of Chernobyl and the Zone of alienation were evacuated due to unsafe levels of radioactivity. People from around the Soviet Union were forced to come and work here in order to liquidate the danger and evacuate the residents. Many of the workers died or had serious illness from radiation. My father was also recruited for this operation, but he bribed corrupt local officers with some good sausages which were rare and a valuable item at those times, so he’s fine an alive today.
Let the story be told by these magical pictures taken ~35 years after the accident.
All the texts put in the quotation-marks are mostly the quotations of comments made by the authors of the photos.
“The sign on the road to Pripyat, the town where the workers of the nuclear plant lived.”
“After the explosion at Reactor 4 the people of Pripyat flocked on the railway bridge just outside the city to get a good view of the reactor and see what had happened.
Initially, everyone was told that radiation level was minimal and that they were safe. Little did they know that much of the radiation had been blown onto this bridge in a huge spike.”
They saw a beautiful rainbow coloured flames of the burning graphite nuclear core, whose flames were higher than the smoke stack itself. All of them are dead now – they were exposed to levels of over 500 roentgens, which is a fatal dose.
P.S.: note that the photo above is made from 2 different photos (top photo of the reactor and bottom photo of the bridge in Pripyat joined together)
“Deserted secondary school near Chernobyl, Illinsty, Ukraine. Dec 1995 0.96.07.01.19”
“One of the five schools of Pripyat, each teaching about 1000 children. The schools have remained relatively intact considering the problems with looters eight years ago. I guess books don’t hold much value to the poor. “
”At a 20th anniversary Chernobyl exhibit on Capitol Hill.”
“Children will never run here again.”
On the left: “Stairs on the creche/kindergarten near the center of Pripyat.”; on the right: “Broken doll on top of a corner cupboard in one of the rooms in the creche/kindergarten in the center of Pripyat.”
“Nursery in the creche/kindergarten”.
”Child’s big toy car in one of the rooms of the creche/kindergarten”. Notice the number plate of the car – 1984. It must be manufactured 2 years before the accident.
The note says “Rabbit”. I love those old-school soviet style drawings.
“Hay stuffed toy”.
“Pripyat funfair was due to be opened on May 1st. The Chernobyl disaster happened April 26th.
No one ever managed to ride the ferries wheel. It remains one of the most irradiated parts of Pripyat since the disaster, making it still dangerous today, 22 years on.”
“Bumper car ride in the amusement park in central Pripyat, it was to be opened on the May 1st celebrations of 1986, five days after the accident”
“Ferris wheel control or ticket booth in the amusement park .. I’m sure the plush teddy bear was placed there later by someone looking for an emotional photo, but it’s interesting also to document the later attempts of using the accident to achieve certain media goals.”
“Found just outside the surgery in the hospital. This hospital received many of Reactor 4′s first victims for treatment immediately after the explosion. The hospital itself however was already exposed to huge amounts of radiation.
Every rescue worker who attended the initial explosion was killed by radiation poisoning.”
Olympic athletes must have been training here for the 70′s/80′s. The pool is really huge – this place must’ve been the best around.
“Pripyat, ghost city abandoned after chernobyl catastrophe, has grown to a forest. nature takes over and invades and collapses human creations the views remind some apocalipthic films like I am a Legend; Views from highst building in town, a former Hotel“.
“Radiated Apartment Building”.
The Government have left us – “From what I saw inside, I’d presume this was the local government building. There was a political event scheduled for a few days after the explosion and there are many pamphlets and banners still inside. “
“These extremely well preserved posters are the last evidence of what the city’s inhabitants were like. I’m unsure of the details but I believe these men were politicians”.
We can see hammer and sickle on the roof.
Left: “Dismantled sofa-bed in one of the apartments in the 16 story residential apartment”
Right: “Elevator call button in the 16 story residential apartment building facing the central square of Pripyat.”
“Electrical junction box in the 16 story residential apartment building”
Left: “Sofa under an open back window in one of the apartments in the 16 story residential apartment building”
Right: “Broken ceiling light fixture in one of the apartments in the 16 story residential apartment”
“Newspaper used as a backing to glue the wallpaper in one of the apartments in the 16 story residential apartment building facing the central square of Pripyat.”
Newspapers title: “Pravda” (Truth) – the official propaganda newspaper of the Soviet Union
Newspapers date: “Wednesday, 25th of May 1983”
Articles title on the left: “Africa fights and builds”
Other title at the bottom: “Land owners”
Translations from the top to bottom:
“Happy to provide service from 11 to 20 (?)
Lunch from 14 to 15”
“Saturday from 9 to 17
Lunch from 13 to 14”
“400m away from the reactor (max allowed)” “2.0 rt being off-scale of the reader-device. average radiation level of a non contaminated area: 0.010 rt/m2″
Two more reactors, no. 5 and 6, capable of producing 1 GW each, were under construction at the time of the disaster.
“These whikeers-fish survived and devolped countermeasures against the deadly radiation levels of the contaminated water in the rivers surrounding Chernobyl. we didnt there to have a splash with them but we fed them big chunks of bread that were guzzled in the blink of an eye !! “.
If you want to read real stories of Chernobyl survivors you should definitely check: Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“This book is a punch in the gut. There’s no nicer way to say it. It’s downright devastating. It’s something that every single person should read. Even if you only know Chernobyl vaguely, two things are made painfully apparent by this book: whatever you’ve read about Chernobyl in the past has probably grossly underestimated the magnitude of the disaster; and the death and injury toll from the accident hasn’t stopped yet. Not by a long shot.” – a review from Amazon.com.
From our friends at the Village of Joy