I made one of the most interesting and trailing trips of my life to Chernobyl, Ukraine, in September 2011. Since the Chernobyl region was evacuated a long time ago, it can only be visited with special permission. That’s why I went on a tour of the http://tourkiev.com/chernobyltour/ travel agency. At 9 a.m., we met 16 people in Kiev and started our 2-hour journey. We watched the documentary Battle of Chernobil, which I found very successful during the journey.
The 4th reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded at 01:20 a.m. on April 26, 1986, when an energy saving experiment was out of control, leading to a centuries-long disaster. Two people died in the first explosion, while about 50 people were reported dead the following week. Then there is no definitive figure explained about the people who work to prevent the disaster and live in the surrounding area. Construction of new reactors was halted when the explosion occurred, but other reactors continued to generate electricity until 2000. Today, since power lines are still connected here, cleanliness and insulation continues at the 4th reactor, and since there is still nuclear fuel waiting to be moved to another power plant, about 5,000 people work in Chernobil.
Our first stop became a checkpoint, and after passport control, we moved on. The signs at the checkpoint were monumental. Then we arrived in the town of Chernobyl, where we stopped by the monument of firefighters who heroically struggled to put out the first fire, and then most of them died. The town of Chernobyl is the closest town to the power plant after Pripyat; Workers who work at the plant for 15 days now live here. No return to the public has been granted.
Our next stop was the Chernobyl office, where we declared that we participated in this trip and received the Gayger counters. In the first measurement I made here, I saw the normal level of 0.14 μSv/h. Measurements up to 0.50 are considered normal for Ukraine.
Then our first stop is Pripyat, a ghost town next to the plant, where 40,000 people lived at the time of the accident. When the nuclear leak was discovered 36 hours after the crash, the public was asked to pack their belongings within two hours to return, and the city was evacuated by 1,000 buses. But no one was allowed to come back. I’ve never seen a city that’s been abandoned this size in my life, where not a single person lives. Although everything has been stolen in the past time, you can’t be affected when you enter the hotel, the entertainment center, the houses, the amusement park, the swimming pool, the basketball court and the grocery store. The measurement here reached 8 μSv/h, especially at the bottom of plants, which was the highest radiation we’ve seen on the trip.
We had lunch with the workers at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant dining hall. Although it’s forbidden, you can see the picture of the power plant on the left. The first chimney here belongs to the reactor, which came out of use in 2000, and the large chimney that appeared in the back belongs to the 4th reactor that exploded. The building in front is the office building where work is still underway. On the right, you can see the detector measuring the radiation that your body was exposed to at the entrance to the mess hall, we all came out clean.
After dinner, we fed about 1 meter of carp fish in the man-made river that provided cooling water to Chernobyl, and then went to the famous 4th reactor, 300 meters away. After the environmental cleanup in 1986 and beyond, the most important problem left is to stop the leak of the rector who was opened after the explosion. For this, the photo for 25 years is made of lead cage scaffolding behind yellow piers. It’s empty for your cage, so they shoot and measure with cameras all the time. In addition, a new lattice is planned to be built by 2015 at a cost of USD 1 billion, then the remaining nuclear fuel will be discharged.
500,000 soldiers are mobilised for cleanup after the explosion. A lot of them wear simple dresses and throw this waste off the roofs with 1-2 minute shifts. Many miners dig tunnels from 3rd reactor to a 4th reactor, draining cooling water that can cause an explosion 10 times larger and injecting concrete into its place. It is not known how many died afterwards, but the fact is that they were not so aware of their heroism. They are all awarded 100 rubles (about $100).
After the disaster, all the surrounding villages are falling apart and covered with dirt. The dead trees are being cut down, all animals are killed. The nearby air radar center is being shut down and one of the Soviet most secretive facilities is left to rot.
The world and the Ukrainians are not ified for days of disaster. Thousands of people walk the streets in Kiev during the May 1st celebrations. The Baltic states and Belarus are most affected by the disaster as the wind initially blew north. They don’t understand where they came from because they detected radiation at a nuclear plant in Sweden, sweden was the first to notice the disaster around the world after measuring with Swedish air force aircraft.
Here’s the summary of chernobyl’s very sad, and intriguing story. I recommend to enthusiasts to watch the magnificent documentary that Gorbachev has made a statement for 1.5 hours.