This trip to the alienated Zone of the Chernobyl atomic power station was much more interesting than last year. We left early so that we would have more time.
As to the risk (as many ask) I will say the following: the background level in the Zone is not a big danger (except for several places where one would not think of going). The intenisty of the exposure dose of radiation at 10 km from site is not high. The dose received by us for a day is comparable to what would be received on one transatlantic flight. Greatest danger is risk of inhaling a hot particle, a slice of nuclear fuel from a reactor. The probability of this is low, as compliance with the safety precautions and rules of behaviour in the Zone aims for zero, but the possibility exists, therefore everyone solves it for themselves, and I have, for a long time, solved it for all.
Having left Kiev at 7:30am by minibus with air conditioning (hurrah!) we stopped at the village Zalese which is now a completely impassable jungle though it once had a population of more than two thousand people, then called into Chernobyl for a short briefing. We were surprised by the huge, monumental constructions intended for cooling water. The closer we approached, the higher our radiometres read, these places did not previously pass activation test and visitors did not go in the general area, we appeared to be the first visitors allowed there. Still not too close as readings rapidly increased on approach.
We then went to a viewing place called "Shelter". The wind blew from station to us, the background level on the platform was one third of what it was in June last year, the work on strengthening and repair of a sarcophagus goes on effectively enough.
Pripyata phantom cityis not present on maps anymore, a city about which many people will know nothing, a city which will reduce to ruins over the years but which for the people who were involved it is important and will always be remembered. In the street it is hot, more than 30°C, every couple of hours we are in the bus to be cooled down and have a bite.
We found a strongly radiation infected ladle-capture. It was amusing to observe how some people with radiometres were hysterically peeping with excitement to find the hottest point on it, and other people, on the sly, departed far away from it.
Village of Zalese
Incomplete buildings as they were left
Near to Chernobyl reactors
A view and our group
Sport center, sports hall, we come back to a recreation center
Park of attractions
Court yard of the house on Lenin's street
A "dirty" place
The fallen off wing of school
School books, children's gas masks, chemistry class room
Court yard of fire brigade
The big pool
The view from the top
A tree, growing on the roof