A day in Chernobyl

In March 2020, my friend and I were visiting Ukraine, our 6th country on our European Tour. (Before that were Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania). While in this country, we partnered with Chernobyl Travel in order to spend a day on the site of one of the biggest catastrophe of all times. Keep reading this article in order to know more about this journey and check some crazy footage!

Jeetees

Below you can watch the video I created summering our experience on site:

As you might (or should) already know The Chernobyl Disaster was caused by a nuclear accident that occurred on Saturday 26 April 1986, at the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history and was caused by one of only two nuclear energy accidents rated at seven—the maximum severity—on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

We met our Tour Guide at 7.30 in the morning in the centre of Kiev and hopped in a bus that would lead us to the site, located further North. During the drive, our guide made us watch a documentary about the events so we weren’t going there unaware.

Arrival

Morning

We started the visit by Dytyatky Checkpoint, an official entrance to the Exclusion Zone to then walk to the giant radar antenna “DUGA-1”, secret town of Chernobyl-2 which provided the efficiency of antennas and horizon tracking of the launching of ballistic missiles. This was extremely impressive. We then walked around the town of Chernobyl where we witness the world’s best memorial “To those who saved the World” as well as a kind of open air exhibition of transport vehicles and robots used in 1986-clean up activities.

We then entered Pripyat which was populated by 50 000 people before the evacuation. This part of the site isn’t allowing visitors to walk inside the buildings but we could walk around the hospital (receiving the firefighters and NPP workers, badly affected by the accident), the river port, the Pripyat Café, the town hall (the first headquarters for mitigation of the accident consequences), the Energetic Palace of culture and the main recreational site for the youth back then, holding the famous Ferris wheel and amusement park which, sadly, never got the chance to be opened to the public.

After that…


After that we walked by the Pripyat Stadium before hoping back in the bus to drive through the village of Zalissya with its abandoned houses and barns. There we witnessed an former shop with still everything inside, almost untouched. We then drove to the almost fully buried village of Kopachi with a remaining kindergarten.

After lunch in the real Chernobyl Cafeteria, we drove towards the Sarcophagus and the New Safe Confinement (“Arch”) at an observation point at a 300 m distance. This was insane. To realize we were standing almost exactly where it all started!

Finally, we drove by the decontaminated Red Forest at place of the first and worst radioactive fall-out before heading back to Kiev around 19. This was such an intense day and we were pretty tired but had to leave on the same evening in order to start driving to Odessa.

Jeetees