On the 26th April 1986 a catastrophic nuclear accident occurred in the No.4 light water graphite moderated reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near the city of Pripyat within what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union.
It was one of only two accidents to be classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.
The battle to avert potentially greater catastrophes and the following decontamination efforts involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles. The initial explosion caused the deaths of 2 workers within the facility, 134 employees and firemen were later hospitalised with acute radiation symptoms, 28 would die within next couple of months as result of the effects of acute radiation syndrome.
Following the disaster an exclusion zone initially extending 30 kilometres in all directions from the plant was formed, officially known as the "zone of alienation". Largely uninhabited, with the exception of a few hundred residents who either refused to leave or have since returned and the few thousand works responsible for the works within the plant facilities. Even today thirty years on, radiation levels are at such a high level that the workers are only allowed to work five hours a day for one month before taking 15 days of rest outside of the zone.
In September 2017 I visited the Ukraine with a group of friends, some I'd known for a while and others I'd just met in the days before. We started our visit with some time around Kiev before setting off towards the zone the following morning. Our first experience of the zone was one of the 30km checkpoint, as summarised within these few photos. At the checkpoint our passports and permit were checked by a guard before we were allowed to enter.
The checkpoint would of made for a nice photograph but unfortunately this is not permitted. Bizarrely due to the development of the tourist trade within this region there is now a gift shop here for you to buy souvenirs.
During our time within the zone we stayed in a hotel within Chernobyl town, Chernobyl whilst far smaller than Pripyat also contains a huge amount of abandoned buildings, the population now being considerably less prior to the accident. It would be nice to go back at some point in the future to spend a bit more time around here.
Across the 3 days we spent in the zone we visited approximately 50 different sites to see various monuments, abandoned buildings and the wildlife that has taken hold, over the coming months I will slowly be adding the photos from these places.