WELCOME…………

six_fingers

TO

mutantdog

CHERNOBYL…..!!

Marooned and bored in Kyiv I decided to take the official tour to Chernobyl.

So I booked in and 4 disparate travellers departed the downtown area…and just before I continue…

WTF!

There are 2 Poles, an American, and myself on this tour….and while chatting to ‘Jamie’ (the American) he mentions that he lives in the US Virgin Islands and works for the US Dept of Homeland Security as a friggin Customs Border Agent!

That’s a bit spooky after meeting the Russian Customs Official…..

I’d like to state definitively and for the record that I am retired and engaging in no illicit or illegal activities during this trip!

Whew,

Now moving right along….we take a 2 hour minibus drive to the Checkpoint at the edge of the Zone.

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…and then the drive through the countryside

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to Downtown Chernobyl.

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It’s not exactly what you expect…I mean the town of Chernobyl has some 1000 inhabitants these days, people who work monitoring, cleaning up, or securing the reactor and the zone.

The forests look normal….

We saw deer on several occasions from the road…

….and beside all that, they only turned off and decommissioned the remaining reactors in 2000!

Kinda ridiculous when you consider the worlds worst nuclear disaster happened a few kilometres away, a mere 23 years ago…

I dunno….I just kind of expected ….something more devastated perhaps?

Local streets

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The local shop for local people….. and the only shop in town!

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Then to the visitors centre for a briefing on the zone and the effects on the local area

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Obviously prepared to battle the next major conflagration…

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This is the Geiger-counter you stand on like a weight machine.

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Then it’s on to the 10km zone checkpoint

Barney the Border Bloke checks our papers

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The Chernobyl site had 4 operating reactors with 2 more under construction at the time of the accident. Within a few kilometres we see the 2 unfinished reactor buildings, cranes frozen in time but looking as if the unions had called a strike only yesterday.

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The unfinished Cooling Tower…

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Readings 5 times the normal limit here

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Then onto the actual reactor site to get a briefing about what happened…what was done…and what still needs to be done

With pictures of the roof which was corroding and has just been replaced….

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And pictures from inside the reactor core and containment sarcophagus….

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…and an incredibly detailed scale model showing all the devastation within…

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…and a diagram of the new containment sarcophagus to be completed by 2011…

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The actual containment site…built in a hurry without any real planning its being maintained with a view to its eventual replacement.

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The memorial to the fire-fighters who perished as a result of their radiation exposure in the first days…

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Radiation 5 times higher than Chernobyl town centre.

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