Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

The Chernobyl Disaster has been on my brain recently and I've been cruising the ol' interweb taking a look at the footage, pictures and accounts of that day (April 26, 1986) and the following years in what's now known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. I did these thumbnails from memory, based mainly on the archives over at Ghost Town and the Unexplained Mysteries Forum. I can clearly remember these events from when I was a kid and this really shook people up at the time. Now, I'm amazed at the folks who have no idea what happened that day and aren't aware of the monsters that lurk beneath the sarcophagus of reactor 4.


The Chernobyl Nuclear Site was comprised of six reactors, two of which were still under construction at the time of the accident



Some believe that Chernobyl is foretold in the Book of Revelations from the Christian Bible, apparently the name in Russian is somehow related to Wormwood from said book. Others reported seeing what is known as "The Black Bird of Chernobyl". They described a winged headless human flying above the site in the days leading up to the accident.


There were also reports of a large disk that hovered over reactor 4 for six hours the night of the accident. There are no known photos or film of these events.


The explosion hurled radioactive chunks of graphite onto the reactor roof , blew a hole in the side of the building and released a tremendous cloud of radioactive gas. Eyewitnesses said that you could see the glow of the reactor going into meltdown through the crack and that the sky was a spectacle of colors. The forest next to the plant glowed bright red that night as well. Almost everyone who was witness to these events died within 48 hours of radiation poisoning.


The clean-up of the radioactive debris was costly in lives. Workers on the roof of reactor 4 had two minutes shifts due to the radiation levels and they were in full protective gear. They just shoveled up the debris and threw it into the core once the radioactive fire had been put out. Once that was complete they erected a concrete sarcophagus around the reactor four building to contain over 90% of the radioactive debris


This hastily built structure spared further contamination but parts of what are now the Ukraine and Belorus are saturated and uninhabitable. It may be up to 900 years before it is safe for humans to return to live permanently in the exclusion zone.



Pripyat, forgive my misspelling above, was home to 300,000 people. It originally sprung up for the plant workers and was a good sized city. It was evacuated just hours after the accident and no one had lived there since. It's a time capsule of the former might of the Soviet Union. There was also an Olympic training facility in Pripyat.


The land outside of Pripyat is known as the Land of the Wolves. It's hundreds of square miles and filled with abandoned villages and smaller towns. Some of the most radioactive villages were bulldozed to try to stop the further spread of materials. The wildlife is flourishing in the Exclusion Zone despite the radiation. At some point these sketches may get developed into something more tangible...this will all go somewhere, I'm just not sure yet.
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