Monday, April 25, 2016

Chernobyl, 30 Years On

Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, where a routine test at the facility triggered the largest and most devastating nuclear meltdown in history. Here's a throwback to a few years ago, when Anita and I toured the exclusion zone around the evacuation area just an hour away from Kiev, Ukraine.  

We were initially taken to a little briefing centre where our slightly kamikaze guide explained how he figured it was no less bad for your health to sit in daily traffic jams in Kiev, than to live and work in a radiation exclusion zone such as the area surrounding Chernobyl.  I'm not so sure his science was as sound as he seemed to believe, but whatever.  Without him, we would not have been granted access to see the remains of the actual reactor that exploded that fateful day, nor the surrounding ghost town of Pripyat, which had forcibly evacuated on short notice, leaving behind a time capsule of everyday life in Soviet era Ukraine circa1986, only slightly worse for wear from decades of reclamation by nature and the elements. Urban exploration enthusiasts would have a heyday in this town site.

Regardless of your feelings about the utility vs safety of nuclear power, these photos demonstrate the very real human impacts associated with it when it things go awry.



Inside an abandoned school in Pripyat.




The rotting floor and remains of the gymnasium.



There's something incredibly sad and haunting about seeing an abandoned amusement park.


This ferris wheel in Pripyat never got to take it's maiden voyage...




Our guide, using some kind of geiger counter, attempts to explain how even the most irradiated military vehicles used in the cleanup are only mildly radioactive anymore. I'm not so sure I believed his meter, but considering I was standing pretty close, it's probably too late for me.

Reactor number 4, which exploded on April 26, 1986. It was subsequently 'entombed' in a concrete sarcophagus to reduce radioactive emissions.

Chernobyl - Holga-7

Chernobyl - Holga-6

Chernobyl - Holga-5

Chernobyl - Holga-9

Chernobyl - Holga-10

Chernobyl - Holga-11

Chernobyl - Holga-14

Chernobyl - Holga-12

Chernobyl - Holga-4

Black and white photos shot with the crap Holga toy camera on Ilford XP2 Super 400. Colour photos taken with the Nikon D300.

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