Lost Places - Chornobyl Zone

Pripyat, Chornobyl area and other abandoned places

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Classmates. Fukushima Prefecture. The Second Day

Classmates. Fukushima Prefecture. The Second DayDeparted yesterday, December 22, from warm and sunny as in autumn, Nihonmatsu and slept a couple hours in the van, we woke up in the snowy cold mountains district of Iwase (岩瀬郡), in Hatoriko Highland Regina Forest Resort.

Hatoriko Highland Regina Forest Resort

Mountain spa resort is near the Ten'ei village (天栄村). Despite the fact that it is almost 90 km from the ill-fated nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi and its radioactive contamination is rather small, the resort is going through hard times now. As the whole Fukushima Prefecture, though. The resort, famous for its hot springs and spa treatments are on the verge of default – the stream of tourists to Fukushima has run out.

Hatoriko Highland Regina Forest Resort

December 23, 2011. Morning. On the outside is -50С and a cold piercing wind. I even can’t believe that yesterday I walked on the green grass wearing the autumn lightweight jacket. Before breakfast I went for a walk on the territory of Regina Forest (for convenience, I have contracted a little a long name of the resort) and at the same time once again to test my dosimeter “Stora-TU” in liaison with a GPS navigator. Gamma background is in the range of 0.15–0.2 µSv/h. The search dosimeter-radiometer MKS-11 “Spectra” shows a bit more, 0.2–0.4 µSv/h (affects a higher sensitivity of the scintillator CsJ, if compare with GM sensors of Stora-TU).

Regina Forest Regina Forest Regina Forest

Meeting of classmates

Today here, in Regina Forest Sports Complex, will be meeting of primary and secondary schools pupils, who were evacuated from the town of Tomioka nine months ago. Meeting has been organized by the Association of Teachers and parents of evacuee children.

Town Tomioka (富冈町), Futaba district (双叶郡), Fukushima Prefecture (福島県). Before the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant about 16 thousand people lived in Tomioka. Distance to atomic plant – about 8 km.

The name of the town is rather typical for Japan; such names have few towns in different prefectures. The town was famous for having one of the longest cherry blossom tunnels in Japan. In early April, in the Yonomori town park a Sakura Festival took place. Cars lined up at 3-km-long line to drive under one of three cherry blossoms canopies. At night, sakura canopies were illuminated by hundreds of lanterns. Thanks to this tradition, Tomioka considered as one of the best places for viewing cherry blossoms.

There is a nuclear power plant Fukushima Dai-ni (number 2) in Tomioka (as well as in the neighbouring Naraha).Which provided a certain wealth to the town at its time. Located on the ocean coast, Tomioka was severely affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. March 12, 2011 the town was evacuated.

In Tomioka were two primary schools, two secondary schools and one high school.

By eleven in the morning we drive to the central sports hall of Regina Forest. Around the sports hall all is already taken by busses.

Children evacuated from Tomioka Children evacuated from Tomioka Children evacuated from Tomioka

It is noisy and cheerful inside the sports hall. Children exchanged phone numbers and new addresses, take pictures for the memory. The smallest kids focused tinkering around the tables, where rows of boxes with coloured sand and shells are. Children poured it all into glasses which will be filled up with gel – they are making candles. It turns out beautifully.

Children evacuated from Tomioka Children evacuated from Tomioka Children evacuated from Tomioka

Adults are teachers and several parents.

Husband and wife Suzuki brought their 11 years old daughter to a meeting with other students. Mrs Kaori Suzuki, small and fragile, she herself looks like a schoolgirl. She smiles, but in her eyes some fatigue and sorrow.

– They promise that they will clean everything. How do you think, is this possible?

I want to comfort and cheer up her in some way, but I can’t find the right words and beginning to say something confusing and complicated about the soil contamination analysis, difficult and hard work of decontamination... Kenzo Hashimoto translates it. She nods and smiles sad. It is awkward for me and I understand that I just can’t say to this little delicate woman with sad eyes, what I really think, that we're at Chernobyl went through all this twenty-six years ago and that she would not return to their Tomioka...

Her husband, Mr Toshinori Suzuki, come to my aid:

– I have been working in the nuclear industry and understand perfectly well that the 6 µSv/h at our house this is serious, especially for our young daughter. I do not know if we ever go back to our home, but I'd really wanted to.

Parents of evacuated from Tomioka children Parents of evacuated from Tomioka children Parents of evacuated from Tomioka children

About one o'clock we left Regina Forest and go to the east of the prefecture, to town of Miharu. For today we have appointment with the mayor of the town Miharu – Mr Yoshinori Suzuki. From the very first days of the accident at the plant Fukushima Daiichi he, by his own initiative, on the city budget money, organized the purchase and distribution of iodine pills and personal dosimeters for local residents.


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Die Sperrzone von Tschornobyl

By Yevgen KRANZ Goncharenko

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