Visited with The Stig.
The Chernobyl disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. The disaster began during a systems test on Saturday, 26 April 1986 at reactor number four of the Chernobyl plant. An explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive contamination into the atmosphere, there was a sudden power output surge, and when an emergency shutdown was attempted, a more extreme spike in power output occurred, which led to a reactor vessel rupture and a series of explosions. These events exposed the graphite moderator of the reactor to air, causing it to ignite. The resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive smoke fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area, including Pripyat. Between 1986 to 2000, 350,400 people were evacuated and resettled from the most severely contaminated areas of Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine.
It is widely considered to have been the worst uclear power plant accident in history. The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers.
The nearby city of Prypiat was not evacuated immediately after the explosion. The people that lived in Prypiat went about their usual business, completely oblivious to what had happened. However, within a few hours of the explosion, dozens of people fell ill. Later, they reported severe headaches and metallic tastes in their mouths, along with uncontrollable fits of coughing and vomiting. The general population of the Soviet Union was not informed of the disaster until Monday, April 28, 2 days later, with a 20 second announcement in the TV news.
During that time, all radio broadcasts run by the state were replaced with classical music, which was a common method of preparing the public for an announcement of a tragedy that had taken place. A investigation into the accident took place on the evening of the 26th April, by the time the investigators arrived 52 people were receiving hospital treatment and 2 had already died. Over 24 hours after the explosion the evidence from the investigation showed extremely high levels of radiation. Based on the evidence the evacuation of Prypiat was announced.
On the morning of April 27, buses arrived in Prypiat to start the evacuation at 11:00. By 15:00, 53,000 people were evacuated to various villages of Kyiv. At first it was decided to evacuate the population temporarily for three days, however later it was postponed permanently. Many took only the most necessary items and their documents leaving all the rest behind.
We arrived in Chernobyl Town where we were to leave our bags at Hotel de Chernobyl before heading through to Chernobyl Power Station and Prypiat.
When we arrived at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station there was quite a few wondering around, it was only when we asked that we were informed that it was still a working plant, and they had filled reactor 4 with concrete and covered it with a roof and continuted to work.
Cooling Towers for Reactor
Appartment block / roof views
We see these from the roof and were unsure of what they were, until we found this
We headed out for lunch then back to Hotel de Chernobyl. On route we stopped and had a look at the machines that were used as part of the first clean up operation.
Not far from the Hotel there are various monuments around remembering the people of Prypiat and Chernobyl and also the Fire Fighters involved.
The Red Forest