Lost Places - Chornobyl Zone

Pripyat, Chornobyl area and other abandoned places

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Pripyat Cargo Port

Pripyat Cargo Port

This reporting has turned out not absolutely usual. Actually it consists of two absolutely different parts written by two different people, of the different age, living in different cities of Ukraine and friends exclusively by the forum on pripyat.com


Fairly I admit, my half of report could not to be... After Evgenie (inspired by my photos :) has sent memoirs on the work during LPA (breakdown consequences elimination) in Pripyat Cargo Port - I become disheartened (you know how good he writes). What is my comments in comparison with the real history of the present liquidator? On the whole I have decided to put out Evgenie’s memoirs together with the photos without any comments... But having started to select photos for the report I have found out some very interesting photos done on the way to a wharf. Neither to Pripyat Cargo Port, nor to Evgenie’s memoirs they as were not glued. And to make from them the separate report it was somehow ridiculous also. As a result I have decided to write in the first part the description of our way "there", and already "on a place", in port to give a word to liquidator Evgenie Samoilov.
Pripyat Cargo Port
  • Part 1
  • Road to port (by Yevgen (KRANZ) Goncharenko)

On October, 28th, last warm autumn days. The sky all the time changes its colour - at one moment summer-like stridently dark blue at another be streaked with graphite as in winter. In one moment even it seemed to me that just about the long endless autumn rain now will begin. But there “above” again all have changed, clouds have dispersed, the sun has looked out and even began to warm a little. Jura, Sasha, Max and Vadim have led the groups across Pripyat, and we together with Olya Romantsova will try to pass coast to Pripjat cargo port (it is visible if to look from the main passenger wharf in east direction, there in kilometer of two, behind a landing-stage are seen the port cranes similar to stood huge iron pelicans) MSCh 126 (hospital), life-saving station OSWOD, a prophylactic medical department. The Ognev street has flowed in street of Enthusiasts, we pass garages, the road turns to the right to Pripyat cemetery, and we by a earth road continue to move forward, trying to keep the shore. Gamma background usual for these places 2-3 mR/h. On the way to a pipe of a heating plant, in that place where is U-turn, we get on small "stain", radius approximately ten metres with increased to 10 mR/h gamma background. Here the first small discovery of our expedition - one more garages (I will name them for convenience “the second” or “distant”). These are simpler than the first – just usual iron boxes. Such is in all cities of the former USSR. But, that has been scattered near open gate of boxes was the second discovery.

Pripyat Pripyat Pripyat

Heaps of the bent metal in which hardly can guessed “Lada” (Zhiguli) and "Moskvitch"... It is remembered when we last time, on the way to a Pripyat cemetery in near garages have seen one such lump of rusty iron with a "Moskvitch" sidelight, I have thought that obviously it is result of terrible road accident. And the owner has dragged remains of the "a tin horse" in "stall" what to braid at it any escape destruction nut... But seen in distant Pripyat garages has shaken my version about road accident... Similar lumps of metal lay almost at each boxing. No, I do not think that in 1986 in the city of Pripyat there was a mass accident with participation of all personal motor transport moreover and with such consequences.

Pripyat Pripyat Pripyat

The reason was absolutely another (later guys from ChII (Chernobil Inter Inform) have confirmed it). It is the result of struggle against marauding. As it is known, after failure all personal motor transport of Pripyaters has been redeemed by the state and what to stop attempts of export of cars or carrying the spare parts out of Zone limits all this technics "has been put out of serviceable". I don’t know with that liquidators “ironed” cars – IMRs (Engineer Mashine for removal of obstacles), tanks or just simple bulldozers, but the effect is obvious. Perhaps certainly it is possible to find even a nut there, but not more... Gamma background in garages hardly above, than on road: 3-4 mR/h. On the brink at the road near a heap of dust up to 5 mR/h. We come out on asphalt road - at the left there is Pripyat, on the right ChNPP, directly port.

Further a word to Evgenie Samoilov

  • Part 2
  • Silent wharf (by Evgenie Samoilov)

On the monitor screen the photo of an old rural cemetery is shone: among a faded, autumn grass stands a few, brought down from oak bars crosses. Strange destiny at this cemetery – it was twice left by people! Once, when have settled out inhabitants of village, and village have taken down, and the second time when have taken out people on 30 km around. And both times the reason was one – ChNPP.

And the village was called Pidlisne…

The simple rural country churchyard, has caused in my memory of sensations of twenty years’ prescription.



On May, 24th, 1986 I am a young lieutenant and go the first time in the Zone.

The first houses of Pripyat have flown. My motorcade turns off to the right, we go round on a circle the big flower-bed before a city autostation and is driven to a usual industrial zone what surround any city: concrete fences, dusty bushes, concrete-surfaced road. But here one is unusual - around is radiation! Arrow of DP-5 (dosimeter), has again started to move from 200 mR/h near a flower-bed to 1-2 R/h. We cross railway crossing, pass under the pipeline, on the right there is a cemetery. On the sun obelisks from a stainless steel sparkle, 10 R/h – echo them the simple crosses over tombs!


We approach on turn. Thank God! The arrow has moved to the left. I notice along a road the steel rods with yellow tablets. It is Tolik Chalyj has worked with the platoon in the first days of May. It the first carve this route from Pripyat to the railway bridge. Yesterday during conversation he even has sympathized to me: "In very bad place you go! Be accurate, there it is elementary possible to “get into”!". It has not added to me optimism for the first time at all and so I feel small nervous trembling. But there is no time to be afraid already…

Unexpectedly on the right, over dark blue, morning wood suddenly rising a concrete vast object of nuclear station. The first, the second, the third, and disorder of the fourth block… It is the closest, here almost nearby, about 2 kilometres. We turn on the left, the arrow continues to twitch from 1 to 5 R/h. In general here there is no logic, it will be impossible to foresee what background the next second will be and as this background to define if on a subject the device shows frequently less, than in meter over it sometimes in times!


Already then has noted such strangeness of fall-out of isotopes: to sitizen of Pripyat has very much luck (as it not paradoxical is sounds)! Both traces of radiation from the reactor have passed by inhabited quarters in kilometer. And a city with all its inhabitants as though has covered, like by a kind hand, that though partly to soften that loss which has been put by accident while they were there.

Ahead at the left, over bushes in small window of BRDM (fighting reconnaissance landing machine) I see high arrows of port cranes – this is the purpose of our travel. It is my first object in a Zone. Our column from 4 BRDMs, one fire-escape and two usual fire-engines stops on a sandy platform in front of cranes. I form up people. The senior from an emergency response centre major Pashchuk explains a problem: it is necessary to prepare this district and equipment for a receipt of goods on the river for Sarcophagus building over the destroyed block. On a platform there is huge, yellow, caterpillar bulldozer "KOMATSU". In its shade "the Belarus", as tiny Thumbelina near to the giant was attached! And behind them in morning rays breadth water with a modern city on far other bank… At the left near the floating is situated crane…


You know, now it is very difficult to me to put into words in a uniform, harmonious key that I there felt of what thought and as operated. After all has passed 20 years, but each spent second there, each my word considered or not considered, till now anyhow oddly define my life! And it not the tag is that experience, which as the gift sometimes presents to the person a life…

I look through photos, all on the same places, and in those positions in what I their last time saw 20 years ago, in May 86. Even to a crane ladle same knots fasten to a cable… The strange and mixed feelings are restricted in my soul. For example, this by anything an imperceptible ladle, such probably is in each sea or river port, but how many memoirs and emotions it causes in me.

  • Ladle

Memoirs 1


For me it was strange, what for to a ladle was fasten this cable with a lifting hook on the end? The riddle was resolved simply – it is yesterday, Serezhka Smykalov, the commander of second platoons of our company has started to build a wall of base blocks, round a pier and an adjoining platform where the arrow of the port crane only could reach. He was managing to designate only the first row of this poor resemblance of the Great China Wall! Today I should continue this noble undertaking to eliminate a side flare of the platforms after all surrounding by bushes are shone from 2 to 5 R/h! The background on a platform had 0,5-1 R/h, and, the top layer of ground was already removed by "Japanese" in each side on 30 meters from pier concrete, and to people all the same here is dangerously. 5-6 working hours are 5-6 fresh Roentgen, 5 days and farewell the docker, send the new!


Memoirs 2 (intimate)


In couple of days, the first barge has moored to landing stage with dried batch concrete - it is such mix of cement, rubble and sand which fill up in a concrete mixer, add water (remember advertising of "Jupi" - "Simply add water!"), have twisted and concrete is ready! But, someone in a headquarters has decided that the concrete mixer in this process is a luxury, and will be enough, having levelled on the ground this mix with the bulldozer, simply to fill it in with water! Dreams of theorists of building already drew, something similar to a monolith of Dneproges, before the disorder, but the nature and radiation has interfered!

The crane operator in a box of the port crane very much hurried up to unload this barge! And how here not to hurry up, if in a bum shines 3 R/h on you! Therefore having grasped by this ladle from the barge a portion of a mix he was turn around and simply threw it from 10-15 meter heights anywhere. Strong enough, river wind then blew from this concrete a cement dust and sand. So on the ground fell already almost pure rubble. And all around became grey, as on cement works, including me (even in all most intimate places)! Even in the most intimate and protected place – under respirator R-3, after all there was my unique protection against radiation. Here the belief in people which promise you protection and patronage falls, but in rubble now fur-trees perfectly grow!


I look at a following photo: the Port crane. In the first day I have climbed up on one of them and observed, how over the destroyed block helicopters work. As they are turned around over a gulf and fly directly on reactor disorder, pile the cargo of on any dust (forgive for comparison, but it really looked as a heap of building dust) over a muzzle of the reactor and being turned around to the left leave behind a pipe of the second turn towards Chernobyl flew after the next portion.

Or a ladder on a following photo. It was necessary to pull down the fighter on it, who has fainted above. I have sent him to deactivate a cabin of the machinist of the crane and as there was a danger that on surfaces there were "hot" particles (it however, has completely proved to be true) I have ordered to him to execute this operation in OZK (suit of chemical protection) and in a gas mask. The working hour in such conditions at 30 meters height taken away all forces at the adult man, and on the way back he has fainted on a circular platform.

It is good that it happens not on this narrow ladder on which I and 2 more fighters had to get down him downwards cautiously. We have poured out of each boot of the guy about 2 liters of sweats. But, in the war, as in the war. Thanking its feat and courage (it not irony!) in a cabin the background has fallen from 8 to 2-3 R/h! And now the machinist could work twice longer.

Oppressing impressions are made now on me by hawser hanging down from the crane and cables - after all these are certificates of human meanness, these are traces of marauders. The empty reel for a power supply cable of the crane on its support too mutely testifies against hunters for metal! And after all someone has suffered and still will suffer, if this metal has got on a meltdown! We had to wash repeatedly concrete of a pier from a strange stain of radiation. Some centimeters in diameter were obstinately shone, despite all attempts and shifts to wash off this dirt in the river. All our attempts were ineffectual, yet have not lifted our heads upwards. Directly over us there was a coil with the thick, oiled cables. The simple shovel over a probe has reduced indications in three times. The sent scout when has approached stealthily to this place by the crane has shouted that the bay shines 10 R/h! It was impossible to wash up this rubbish from a mix of grease and a dirt. And we have left it, there was no time to potter with it. And now there can be someone goes by the car in which metal particles of the irradiated fuel directly from the Chernobyl reactor have hidden. For greed of one, others pay off with the most expensive that can be – with the health!


Sadly to look how time prevails, on this semiflooded floating crane, on the decayed planked footway round a pier, on this rusty dashboard which turned on an electricity on cranes, after the time scheme. A constant still had not time to construct at all, on entrance to a pier still there are columns of LEP (power transmission line) on which should submit an electricity on all cranes and on a lighting tower with the lightning rod probe. The machinist of the crane has told to me then that it only a first stage of the big cargo port which built this floating crane. The cargo port should provide building of 3 queues (5 and 6 power units) of ChNPP and the further building of city for atomic scientists. On opposite coast of a gulf hydraulic dredges already deposit a platform for the new microdistrict.

We stood just near this dashboard. He smoked and told about planned, and I listened and thought that it will not come true never, neither port, nor new turns, new microdistrict. Then he threw out the cigarette-butt in water, turned the starting-lever on a dashboard, pulled a rag of a respirator and again climbed in the radioactive cabin to remove from cars concrete blocks for a wall or to strew a cement mix on the ground…
Here, standing on these boards, I re-read the letter from my wife in which she informed me that waits for the child!
And on that concrete pier which flaring in a waterway, my driver Serega with passion fished. To me have very strictly ordered to protect drivers, therefore I did not involve them in works on deactivation, forcing them to sit in BRDMs. But how to sit in a steel box which is heated on the sun, when nearby such river? Therefore, when Serega, the young guy who only in 1985 has returned in the autumn from army, having rattled off as driver of BRDM 2 years in regimental investigation in Afghanistan, has asked to fish, I did not object, as it was the purest place in all district-15 mR/hour. It was amusing to see, how, having pulled out the next fish, he carefully spends from different directions with DP5 which he has put near to himself. Swings a head and throws out fish back in the river! 

All of us after the lapse of years we become similar to this crane: even if half of our feet in ordinary water, even if our sides time has painted with rusty colors of an infirmity, all of us try to hold a head equally erect and proud and we will keep so till the cables connecting us with a life will not tear yet…

Has anew re-read these records, not very well it turns out, there is no plot, but it is a lot of pathos and snivels! But it was planned absolutely differently! One month ago Yevgen Goncharenko (KRANZ) has informed me that he wants during a trip to Pripyat to try to pass by bank to cargo port and further. I "by old-mans" have warned him against this route, after all the dirtiest place which I saw in the Zone, was directly on sandy bank, between this crane and a pier. It looked, as usual river dust when after the spring tide the river gradually recedes, reserving narrow strips of gruss, leaflets, needles. It was such strip, by sight just an innocent dust soiled by soot, but the truth is that soot was from the destroyed reactor and it shone 115 R/h! Probably during failure and a fire its soot impregnated with isotopes, has fallen to a water surface, and the wind and a watercourse have adjusted it in this place. Yevgen has answered me, has thanked for caution. And when he has returned, he has sent me these wonderful pictures which I here as last graphomaniac has dared to comment. Excuse me KRANZ, may be your report will be better and not such gloomy. And huge thanks to you and all guys from pripyat.com for work what you do - do not allow to people to forget about the past, about those fine places which they have been compelled to leave. That never more was neither the left cities, nor the taken down villages, the forgotten cemeteries!


WebLost Places

Lost Places Lost Places

Die Sperrzone von Tschornobyl

By Yevgen KRANZ Goncharenko

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