Chernobyl: From a Traveller's Eyes

Chernobyl: From a Traveller's Eyes

Chernobyl: From a Traveller's Eyes

By Pooja Biyani

26 April, 1986; The day that marked the most disastrous nuclear accident- The Chernobyl disaster. As a result of a flawed reactor design managed inappropriately, deadly amount of radiation was released into the air and a settled town was evacuated in no time, a large number of deaths were reported and the effects of radiation exposure were adverse in many. The town in Ukraine that once experienced an established lifestyle was abandoned. The residents were resettled in the less contaminated areas leaving 2,600 sq. km as an area of the exclusion zone.

The exclusion zone, supposed to be radiologically the most hazardous zone has some parts considered to be safe for tourists to visit. However, it is only through the local guides that you can visit this place for precautionary reasons. Before you enter Chernobyl, you are given a device that measures the radiation level and are advised to wear clothes that would pretty much cover your skin. A crazy fact about this place is that there are still over 100 people living in the exclusion zone, going about their daily lives.

As a tourist, you are allowed to visit a radius of very few kilometres near the reactor 4, the actual plant site where it all began. A massive shelter structure made up of steel and concrete covers the reactor 4. The idea behind the largest movable structure ever made is to gradually restrict and subside the radiations. As you pass through the exclusion zone, you can see various abandoned building and structures corroded and devastated over all these years. To restrict the effects of radiations they were buried under and hence the Geiger counter shows the maximum radiation level when placed near the ground.

The Red Forest is an area surrounding the plant. After the release of radioactive substances in the air, the forest was completely destroyed and turned red, as a sign of it being dead. This is where you will find the maximum radiation in the air. The surprising part is that a hotel and a grocery store, completely functioning are open for the localities and the people who visit this place. Here, every structure is now made with complete care including the pipelines that don’t touch the ground.

This isn’t a place where you would find nature at it’s best or wildlife or magnificent man-made formations but this is an experience. An eerie but a surreal experience that would live with you for a lifetime.