Ukraine is one of the most “nuclear” countries of the world: it has four Soviet nuclear power plants. Chernobyl NPP was the first one, it was built in 1970-77, in 1986 it was the largest together with the Leningrad NPP. Why did the tragedy happen? As they say it was “a rare combination of a technical and a human factor”.
Chernobyl NPP is huge – its length is about 3,5 km long, it employed some thousands of people.
The cooling pond with area of 22 km2 is stretching to Chernobyl parallel to Pripyat. It is six meters above the level of Pripyat so it’s going to be dried soon.
Local railway is still in a satisfactory condition.
This field laboratory of animals radiobiology closed in 2008.
It was not the accident that emptied this office but economics and politics.
This place was inhabited by semi-wild dogs, cross-breed of a husky and a shepherd. They resembled wolves. They were friendly to the workers of the local base but never let strangers come close and fought with boars. But in the 00s the base degraded and the dogs disappeared, the last one was killed by boars in 2007.
There had been a fishery before the accident here.
Here they raised fry from caviar.
They were bred before being released into the pond.
The pond is shallow and streamless. Cooled water flowed back to the NPP.
Hot water from the NPP flowed here to cool down.
A flock of cormorants.
Half a kilometer away and we come to the cooling towers. They were built for 5-6 power units because the pond was not enough for the discharged amount of water.
This place is polluted so it’s better to leave as soon as possible.
Like a volcano!
Groupes of tourists get inside illegally. But it’s dangerous not because of radiation but because of plates sticking out.
Hawks often fly over the cooling towers.
Decaying and dirty scaffolding.
The construction site nearby – the crane’s lifting capacity is 640 tons. It was used for mounting reactors.
The units are almost finished.
And they will never be finished.
They planned to build a waste repository nearby but the catastrophe interrupted the construction.
The part of the NPP that was acting when the catastrophe happened. It is strictly forbidden to be photographed.
To the right is an office building, to the left is a canteen. That image on the building is a pigeon.
Another railway bridge and a canal of hot water supply. In the background is a boiler-house built in 2000.
Tourists often come here to feed catfish.
The view from the bridge. A train from Slavutich brings personnel to the station in the background five times a day.
This Prometheus stood in the centre of Pripyat, it was brought here to protect it from marauders.
The memorial to the liquidators of the accident – names are on each plate. 134 people had radiation sickness, 29 of them died in the nearest weeks. It’s hard to say how many people suffered from the accident in general…
They were trying to liquidate the accident as soon as possible being afraid that melted fuel would flow down and form a critical mass that would cause an explosion with power up to 100 kt (just compare – Hiroshima was hit by an explosion of 13kt).
The first and second power units were put into operation in 1977-78 and had been working up to 2000. They were stopped when they still had fuel inside.
The carriage for nuclear fuel transportation?
The forest was the first to be affected by the accident. Dead pines with “rusty” needles had been standing for some years till they were buried right at the place of the forest.
Soon after the tragedy the wind changed its direction and it saved Kiev.
The third and fourth power units which were put into service in 1981, 1984. They didn’t operate for long.
On the other side is an “observation site”, from which it’s officially allowed to photograph. And here’s the well-known view of the sarcophagus. The radiation background is very high there, but it’s hard to imagine the hell which is inside that “box”. Like “a locked demon”.
That gloomy building is a waste repository.
“Shelter-2” being built, its sections will be mounted one onto another and on the old sarcophagus.The new sarcophagus will look like a huge metal egg. The works are planned to be finished in 2014-16.
It’s when they also plan to dry the pond too…