vrijdag 29 augustus 2014

Chernobyl: Radioactive sideseeing


Long time no see.
This summer in July, in a country between revolution and war, I had the chance to go and visite Chernobyl.

One year ago If you would talk about Ukraine, people would have generaly said: "Ah, one of these countries from the former Soviet Union (CCCP). Now everybody should at least know how to locate it. 
After the planecrash (17-07-2014) of public flight MH17 Malaysia Airlines (Amsterdam - Kuala Lumpur). All the 298 people inside died. I flew the next day to Kiev.
First moment when I got the news from the plane crash I was terrified and scared to leave. But after some research if found out that the this war was only located in a specific part of the Ukranian borders with Russia. So, in Kiev there was no danger.

So on friday 18 july, I left to Kiev to visit my good friend Oleksandr Topachevskyi.
One of the highlights of my trip would be a guided visit to Chernobyl.

I'm born 3 months after the explosion (24-04-1986) of Reactor 4 of the nuclear powerplant of Chernobyl.
So for me the catastrophy of Chernobyl is a very important happening that unites all people born in 1986, we are all Cherno-Billies.
Oleksandr, my friend from Kiev was born in 1987. For health reasons his mother, like all pregnant women from Kiev, was transported to Georgia to give birth to her son. 

A long time a lot of information has been hidden for the people from the region of Chernobyl, the USSR, and the rest of the world. Even our governments have been lying about the impact of the explosion and the reach of the radioactive cloud that past trough all of Europe, except from Spain and Portugal.

The Belgian and French government denied that the radioactive cloud would have passed over their country.
If the government would have informed their citizens, it would take us very little to protect us for the dangerous cloud. Radiation transports its self in piece of dust. Our body takes iodine from the air and doing this radioactive particles are accepted in our body. By taking iodine tablets, our body doesn't kneed to take Iodin from the air. But if the government lies, the citizens don't know they have to protect hemselves.

The most common diseases and death causes related to this disaster are certain cancers (thyriod cancer and Leukaemia) and birth defects.
Going back to the first message I put on my blog, before going travelling Latin-America I did a large bloodtest and my doctor detected thyroide cancer. Luckily at the end we found out it is only a disfunction of my thyroide. Does this disfunction have something to do with Chernobyl? I don't know, but at least I feel even more Cherno-Billy now.

We booked our tour to Chernobyl with: www.tourkiev.com
On our visit there was an Australian couple born in '86 and 4 guys from the Netherlands.

I'm not going to talk to much, here are some photos of my trip and some links to a documentary (FR/ING) that explains the whole Chernobyl disaster and the concequences very well.

The embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev 2 days after the planecrash.

Flowers and messages from angry and shocked people.

Maidan, the mainsquare of the city center, was still filled with barricades from the revolution last winter. 
Apart from this Kiev is a big and beautiful city certainly worth visiting! Beautiful nature, parks riverbeaches, sun and important history.

Shields taken from the police.

A monument for the more than 100 people that died during the revolution last winter in Kiev. 

Trip to Chernobyl 

Two checkpoints 30km and 10km from the nuclear powerplant.

 A monument for all the villages in the area that have been abandoned or buried.

An abandoned house in a small village close to the powerplant, still full of devices and furniture. 

A statue to bring tribute to the 'liquidators', more than 350.000 people put in risk or sacrificed their lifes, by cleaning up the nuclear waste and building the first sarcophagus over the     reactor 4, to prevent it from leaking more radioactive material.   

 The machines the liquidators used for their work. They designed some remote-controlled machines for coordinating the work from a distance, but the machines all blocked after a while because the high radiation. So the people had to go and do al the work with bare hands and handtools.

A kindergarten in the 10 km zone. 

At the moment of the explotion nuclear powerplant had 4 reactors working and they were building 2 more reactors. Reactor 1, 2 and 3 kept on being used for years after the explosion of reactor 4. They stopped the building of reactor 5 and 6 after the disaster in 1986.

Reactor 5

Reactor 6 

Reactor 3

On the right reactor 4 covered by first sarcophagus, on the left the permanent sarcophagus that is being build to cover the reactor definitively. 

Our gide brings us less than 300 meters from reactor 4, 

A normal dose of radiation in open air is around 0,12 uSv/hour.
In front of the powerplant and on certain hotspots in the area the radiation goes still way up.

The new sarcophagus for covering reactor 4 in construction.

Some people contruction the new sarcophagus.
There are several companies with activities in the area of Chernobyl, there would be about 3.000 people still working in Chernobyl. They work 2 weeks and than they need to go 2 weeks outside of the radiation zone.

A picture taken right after the explosion in April 1986.

An image of some liquidators on the rooftop days after the explosion cleaning up the roof of reactor 4, in improvised safetycostumes, working with their hands and spades as their only tools. At the bottom of the picture you can see the effect of the radiation on the negatives.

Pripyat or Chernobyl City

Me and Oleksandr (Sasha) at the monument of Pripyat. In 1970 Ukrain Constructed Pripyat A.K.A. Chernobyl City, created for the people and their family who were working in the powerplant. Only 3km from the powerplant. 

The ministry of culture from the main square

Backstage of the theatre, paintings with impartant faces of the soviet era. 

The famous carousel!
Chernobyl city was ahead of it's time and more luxurious than the general soviet cities. They constructed a whole theme park and a sportstadium and sports facilities for the Pripyat citizens. The stadion and theme park were about to open officialy 5 days after the explosion on the 1st of May, Labour Day! So they never were put into use. 

The sportstadium

Caution wet paint!
Buckets of paint at the entrance of the stadium.

School in Pripyat

In every book or educational poster, doesn't metter for which age there's an image of Lenin.

The massive amount of gassmasks in Pripyat, as protection for an attack from U.S.A., have not been used on the evacuation day, to avoid panic.

Want to have a swim?

Before leaving the exclusionzone around Chernobyl we have to check on radiation.

For knowing the full story of Chernobyl see this documentary (FR/ING):

see you later 

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