So heres my trip to Chernobyl in pictures.
The trip was booked with Chernobyl Tour - Ecological Tour to Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
. I just emailed firstname.lastname@example.org
, and got in touch with the guy who runs the whole place, Sergei. Really, really helpful guy who talked me through the whole process and answered numerous dumbass emails i sent him. You can book everything through them, from the flights (cost me about 500 euro) to hotel (160 euro for 2 nights), to a pickup at the airport and dropoff when leaving ($40 each).
First off we need to give props to our guide, Yuri. Yuri has worked in the zone for about 8 years now, i doubt theres many people who know the zone as well as he does.
The tour kicks off with him telling us about the zone, how polluted it still is (or isnt, in some areas)
Just outside Yuris headquarters is the monument to the firemen who died after the explosion. The monument was erected by the firemen themselves. After the explosion, firemen raced to the plant withihn 2 minutes of hearing the alarm, unknowingly exposing themselves to lethal doses of radiation.
We stop not far from the firemans memorial, at the remains of a tiny village. The village was destroyed, and then buried under orders from the soviets for being too radiactive. The geiger counter here doesnt show much radiation, Yuri believes it was buried out of the soviets desire to cover up the accident more than anything else. Ironically, the name of the village translated to english is called 'diggers', kinda prophetic really.
The sign for the 'diggers' village
Just across the road from the ex-village, Yuri points out a radar station just past the treeline. Its an abandoned military base that was used to detect incoming missiles, and for general spying on America. Aparrently, it shows up on old maps as 'pioneers camp'. We move on, closer to the plant now.
A mile or two down the road, and we get our first glimpse of the plant. Reactor 4 (left) is the one that blew up, the reactor on the right was under construction at the time, and was never finished. The geiger counter is beeping stronger here.
Its reading 0.139 Roentgens, and by the time we picked it up out of the grass, it had gone up to .2, and was climbing. Its still nowhere near being lethal, but put it this way, you wouldnt want to stretch out on the grass for the afternoon. The grass is deadly around here, the asphalt was fine however! It doesnt absorb radiation like the soil did.
Further down the road, and we get our first proper view of the reactor. Its a pretty awe (or fear) inspiring sight, and the people on the tour are getting alot quieter, and maybe a bit more nervous now. The only sound you can hear is the geiger counter beeping faster & faster. WE scramble back into the van and head off, directly to the plant.
This is just outside the plant. Everyone was wondering what in gods name this is supposed to be til Yuri told us...go on, guess what it is is. Got it yet?
Its a dove with an atom in its mouth! Yeah, we couldnt guess either.
This is a memorial to the first people to die from the explosion. Most of them died shortly afterwards, but 3rd right from the center (i think) was the first guy to die, whos body is still in the plant, under the sarcopagus somewhere.
Were directly in front of the sarcophagus now. The geiger counter is going mental. Its getting unnerving at this stage. Stand here for too long, and youll be going home with a healthy green glow. Some dumbass takes off his hat and puts it on the ground while he poses for a picture, Yuri almost kills him. 'DONT PUT STUFF ON THE GROUND!!!'. Dumbass.