Lost Places - Chornobyl Zone

Pripyat, Chornobyl area and other abandoned places

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Chornobyl-2. Summer 2010

We did not have any specific aims for this trip, and decided that we will simply leave our plans to chance. I have noticed that the most interesting and productive trips happen when you do not build any grandiose plans, and operate purely on intuition.

7.30 AM We leave Kyiv. This week was hot. Weather forecasters said that it is the hottest in 64 years of recording! It’s early morning, but the sun is hot and the air-con in the car is on full. Folk in shorts and sandals are spending a lazy day on the beach, whereas we are in closed clothes, as is normal for radiating safety, to go to the Chornobyl Zone.

And so - the legendary "Chornobyl-2". Chornobyl-2 is an over-the-horizon radar station for detecting rockets launched from the USA. However, it never began active duty, due of the failure on ChNPP in 1986. The last time I was here was in the autumn of 2007 (see the small report Chornobyl-2)

In that report there were no photos of the antennas themselves. I had considered it senseless to photograph such grandiose structures at close quarters, as photos of these huge antennas are already published enough. Afterwards I began to regret my decision, as it left in my photo-archive the Zone incomplete - it was like being in India, and has not photographing the Taj Mahal. This time, I decided to rectify this mistake.

Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2

I already wrote in the previous report “Chornobyl-2” about the general condition of metal in the antenna itself. In the intervening three years, it has certainly not improved. I would like to go into a little detail on the destiny of these unique antennas, as it has been predetermined. Nobody will restore them, nor simply keep them supported in their more or less current state. While they are not dismantled yet, it is only a matter of time, but the problem is how to do it.

Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2

The cheapest option is simply to "fell" the antennae with controlled detonations. This was what happened to a similar, smaller antenna, near the city of Mykolaiv, as well as a transfer aerial near Lubech, which was dismantled in nineties.

Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2

But here, in the Chornobyl Zone, 10 km from ChNPP, explosive works is impossible to carry out. Felling such a large-tonnage object will cause a minor earthquake, and will generate an appreciable, radioactive dust cloud. Because of this danger, the felling option is not possible. The alternative is a piece-by-piece dismantling using specially designed cranes. Examples of such cranes are the massive “Demags” which helped build the "Sarcophagus" over the destroyed 4th reactor. The drawback is simply that this option is expensive, requiring lots of equipment and skilled workers.

Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2

Well for now, the "Complex" - the organisation which has jurisdiction over the object -  has not begun either. Presently, the antenna simply sit and rusts, silent except for creaking in the wind, a dream destination for bungee jumpers, paraglider pilots and the extreme people of the world.

At the end of this report, are photos in premises of both an industrial complex and a military camp nearby.

Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2
Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2
The military camp has overgrown thoroughly, and the absence of wide streets makes it difficult to take good photos, as it is difficult to discern buildings in the dense foliage. Only four objects are visible through the thickets: the shop, the club, one of the hostels and an apartment building.

Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2
Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2 Chornobyl-2

In the second part of my report we will visit a cemetery of Pidlisne, Pripyat’s cargo port and the village Stari Shepelychi.

Autor: Yevgen "KRANZ" Goncharenko


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Die Sperrzone von Tschornobyl

By Yevgen KRANZ Goncharenko

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