Chernobyl, here’s the one ill-advised destination that drew the most criticism. Today I visited the abandoned town of Pryprat directly next to the exploded reactor #4 as well as the reactor itself and a few surrounding areas.
First off I’m going to bore you with the science. You’ll see my Geiger counter in the video and a number of the photos. To get an idea of what the figures mean, here’s a few common doses of radiation that we all get regularly, listed from lowest to highest (these measurements I took myself):
|Sitting at my desk at work||0.15 μSv/h|
|Enjoying the Australian sunshine||0.18 μSv/h|
|Using the marbled lifts||0.22 μSv/h|
|Maximum considered to be natural radiation||0.30 μSv/h|
|The international flight to get here||0.80 μSv/h|
The video and a number of the photos show readings well above any of these. Before anyone freaks out about my person safety, there’s really no cause for concern. I didn’t hang around those areas long and my total exposure for the day according to to my Geiger counter was about 0.012 mSv. About what you would get from a few days sun baking. Probably not much more than i got on the flight to get here.
Anyway, about Chernobyl. Yes it is still very contaminated and will be for many years. Many areas made the Geiger counter complain bitterly. More disturbing though is the abandoned town of Pryprat.
Much is left as it was on that day in 1986. The school menu is still up on the board, Bumper cars are still in the children’s playgrounds, medical equipment is still left in the hospital with no one to treat, pictures of Lenin are still on the walls.
It’s a stark reminder that many people died or were displaced in the disaster or got sick later on.
On the bright side, a lot of areas even very close to the reactor are now remarkably clean. Radiation levels drop every year.
Also there are many people who do live and work there for at least short periods of time. Many of these people work in often in hazardous circumstances to make the place as safe as possible. There were many hero’s on the day of the disaster and there are still many more quietly working away to this day.
Photo’s and video follow. I’d highly recommend you take the time to download the better quality version, you cant see much in the low quality preview.
Or download Windows Media High quality (near DVD) Right click, Save as..
(62MB – 16 minutes or less on broadband or up to 4 hours on dialup)