Pripyat in Ukraine
Written By: ML
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Pripyat was a town founded in 1970 during the time of the Soviet Union with the purpose of providing housing for Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant employees. It is strategically located near the border of Ukraine and Belarus along the Pripyat River. It was declared as a city in 1979 and had reached a population of 49,360 by 1985 with an average age of 26 to 27 years old. The city had complete amenities such as apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, malls, and leisure establishments. It was called the city of nuclear scientists and a satellite city of the nuclear power plant.
The Worst Nuclear Disaster
It was April 26, 1986 when scientists at the Chernobyl Nuclear Station were testing to see how much power they would need to keep reactor No.4 operating in case of a blackout. This testing turned for the worst because the reactor accidentally exploded causing a massive fire, destruction of the building, and the release of radioactive chemicals into the air. Some Pripyat residents experienced physical illness just moments after the explosion. Radiation even reached nearby European countries.
Aside from Pripyat, the areas included in the exclusion zone around the power plant were also evacuated. This was the 30 kilometer danger zone around the power plant.
Creepiness of the Sudden Abandonment
Pripyat was the nearest city to reactor No.4 with just a distance of less than 3 kilometers. Residents were forced to evacuate around 11:00am which was 36 hours after the incident on April 27 in a matter of 3 hours. Just like that, it was abandoned. A ghost town left abruptly with people’s belongings still untouched.
It seemed as though time stopped in Pripyat and people disappeared. Nobody knew that disaster would strike. It was an ordinary day for them. They left their lives and everything behind in an instant with only themselves to carry. Houses, workplaces, and schools were all abandoned as they were that day. As photographers describe, it was post-apocalyptic.
The Ghost City Today
Pripyat was declared too dangerous for human habitation for at least 24,000 years because of the radiation levels. To this day, the scenes from when the evacuation happened still lie untouched. When the radiation levels subsided, the wildlife and nature took over. Animals began appearing. Trees and plants started growing everywhere. But there are still radioactive dust and leftover chemical elements in the area. These are mostly found on the ground where wild plants absorb radiation. Visitors must follow health precautions because the radiation levels are still comparable to a flight on an airplane.
After more than 30 years, the structures are slowly decaying and rotting in Pripyat. The eerie atmosphere in this city attracts mostly photographers who wanted to document the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. Since 2010, tours have been encouraged in Pripyat and the exclusion zone. Visitors and tourists must get a day pass from the government-approved touring agencies located in Kiev. Due to the lack of maintenance, tourists are not allowed to enter the buildings and other structures because it might collapse.
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