The best travel takes you to a place you have researched about for a long period of time. Chernobyl was a one of these special places for me. My favourite photography focuses on the interaction of humans with the environment around them. Chernobyl and Pripyat give you the unique perspective of what a built environment looks like 30 years after humans have left. It is the ultimate location for Urban Exploration (URBEX).
This disaster in Chernobyl occurred on 26 April 1986. A combination of factors during a late night stress test of the reactor resulted in an intense explosion. An open air graphite fire burned for 9 days spreading radioactive material across 13 European countries (162,000 square kilometers). Chernobyl remains the site of the most disastrous nuclear power plant accident in history, both in terms of cost and casualties.
Two people died as a direct result of the explosion within the facility. Over the following months around 30 firefighters, first responders and employees would die from acute radiation poisoning. However, the long term effects of cancers and shortened lifespans are still being investigated.
The exclusion zones surrounding the power plant extend for a radius of 10 and 30km. Around 300 residents live inside the 30km exclusion zone. Employees of the exclusion zone (office workers, firefighters, security, tourism etc.) are only permitted to work around 50% of the time. The remainder of the time they must live outside the exclusion zone.
We had a private tour for one day departing from Kiev with a private driver and a tour guide. Prices vary between companies and is dependant on what is included in your package. You can expect to pay around £80-90 p/p including lunch. Putting this into perspective, in Kiev, a beer in a bar costs around £1.50 and a night's accommodation for 4 people was around £20. So the tour was relatively expensive, but a truly memorable experience.
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The most common question is what gear did you take xxx with. I have taken the liberty of answering that in the description of each video.
Before the disaster...
The following photos were supplied by our wonderful guide Misha at Solo East Travel. One of the best guys ever!
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Ben - Cultured Kiwi Photography