What the Chernobyl zone looks like 35 years later

The Chernobyl disaster, which changed the fate of millions of people instantly, brought with it radioactive pollution, which for many years made huge areas in Belarus and Ukraine an exclusion zone. However, the land, which 35 years ago became a symbol of grief and sorrow, is now quite accessible to visitors.

Although the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which stopped after the fatal accident, does not generate electricity, people work at the station, and people live in Chernobyl. Mostly employees of the zone and the staff of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The so-called self-settlers, who are drawn to places abandoned in a hurry many years ago, and stalkers enter the zone. The latter are attracted by the romance of the Chernobyl zone, fueled by computer games and the work of science fiction writers.

Now the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is stopped. Work is underway to decommission the station. For 10 years, a new sarcophagus was built over the fourth power unit of the NPP. The plant is building a new burial ground for nuclear waste from all Ukrainian nuclear power plants. Two thousand people work at the station, and three thousand employees of the zone and the NPP live in Chernobyl; they work on a shift basis. There are 130 self-settlers living in and around Chernobyl. The city has shops, a cultural center, a cinema, hotels, and a church. The current territory of the exclusion zone is about 2,600 hectares. Humans will never inhabit part of it because the half-life of one of the isotopes of plutonium, which is the most radiotoxic element, is 24 thousand years.

Without health consequences, tourists can stay in the zone for up to 5 days. Stalkers get here all the time, despite the possibility of free access. Illegal tourists risk both their own and other people’s health. After all, there are many radioactive “spots” on the territory of the Chernobyl zone, and walking around the zone, you can not only grab a dose of radiation but also take out radioactive dust on clothes. On the eve of the 35th anniversary of the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the territory of the zone, asphalt was laid on most of the highways that are used for economic activities.

Once upon a time, 46 thousand people lived in Pripyat. All of them were evacuated within days of the explosion at the station.

On the territory of an abandoned automobile base in Pripyat, a museum of equipment that took part in eliminating the consequences of the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is being created.

The famous Ferris wheel in Pripyat never worked. Its launch was scheduled for May 1, 1986.

Special object “Red Forest” – the territory of heavy contamination with radionuclides. Visiting this territory is still prohibited.

Checkpoint at the entrance to Pripyat.

The movement of tourists in Pripyat is limited. It is better not to walk on grass and bushes — the dust is radioactive and settles on clothes. You can only move around the city as part of a group and with a guide, and it is officially forbidden to enter the buildings. On the photo — the central square of Pripyat.

The territory of the exclusion zone suffers greatly from fires in the summer.

Author: Julia Harris
Graduated from Stanford University. Previously, he worked in various free news media. Currently, it is a columnist of the economy section in the Free News editors.
Function: Reporter
E-mail: supecoxx3@gmail.com