It’s day 2 in Ukraine with Cheryl and Dave, and Ike was taken on a trip to the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Chernobyl was one of the worst nuclear disasters in history when uncontrolled chain reactions led to a series of massive explosions over the course of the 25th and 26th April 1986. You can find out more about what happened here.
It was a chilly early morning start, and our adevnturers definitely needed their layers and big jumpers on! Then it was a 2 hour drive from Kiev to the first of 2 checkpoints. All documents were checked and from this point Cheryl and Dave had to wear monitoring devices as they entered the 30km zone.
We the arrived at the abandoned settlement of Zalissya, which is now very overgrown as nature takes over, the houses peeking through the trees, the shop now derelict and items strewn about in the a undergrowth.
Then it’s back on the bus onto the next checkpoint before entering the 10km zone and arrived at the Radar Duga-1 also known as the Russian Woodpecker. This was part of a secret over-the-horizon radar built for the cold war but it never worked properly, another had been dismantled, but this one remains due to the incident at the power plant. The size of it is huge, its 150metres high and 700 metres long.
The next stop for Ike and his companions was at the abandoned town of Kopachi, where one of the only buildings that remains is the brick built kindergarten/nursery, all the wooden buildings had been demolished and buried due to contamination and these sites are marked by a small mound with a sign on them. The trip inside the nursery was very spooky and moving.
Then the trio went towards Chernobyl power plant, first seeing it in the distance across the fields. Then past the unfinished reactor 5, then a brief stop a short distance away from the main power plant to take some photos before getting back on the bus around to the front of the New Safe Containment side of the plant. Cheryl, Dave and Ike took a moment to take in the monument to the liquidators. These were the people who were sent into the plant to try and clear the radioactive debris. They lost their lives as a result.
Ike and his fellow explorers had to go through radiation detectors when it was time to eat some warming wholesome Russian food in the power plant’s own canteen.
The following area is known as the Red Forest. It is where the trees turned red following the accident at the plant. They were bulldozed and buried as radioactive waste, but now some trees have begun to grow back.
The next stop was at Prypiat , the town which had been built for the workers of the power plant. It was built as a model Soviet town and had all the mod cons of the time. It was nicknamed the ‘town of the roses’ and they planted a lot of them. Here is the town sign, the main square, and the inside of a supermarket:
This photograph of the Palace of Culture includes another to show what is used to be like:
Then Ike met some of the approximately 300 dogs that live in the town. They are very well looked after by the guards and volunteers. Visitors can buy biscuits for them, and they were very friendly.
On their walk around the town Ike, Cheryl, and Dave saw many blocks of flats that the people used to live in, the swimming pool and the fun fair, with its bumper cars, roundabouts and the Ferris Wheel that was due to come into service for the May Day celebrations but the accident happened before it was due to open to has never turned.
And finally to Chernobyl town, and the Monument to Those Who Saved The World, erected to the memory of the firefighters who died trying to put out the fire on the night of the disaster.
Thank you Cheryl and Dave for sharing this fascinating and moving trip with us all.