Lost Places - Chornobyl Zone

Pripyat, Chornobyl area and other abandoned places

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Touch to HISTORY

The first day of summer. 7 AM. We go to the Zone, on ChNPP. Today we will go to that place where the history of our country 20 years ago has changed, in general it has changed for whole world - BShU 4 (CR-4) (a block control panel of the fourth power unit of ChNPP).

Before an entrance in ABK-1 ("administrativ household building". I will try to give decodings of a various "nuclear" abbreviations, which at first very much complicate for understanding of all event and raise certain doubts about in what language these mysterious "people in white" talk)...

And so, an entrance in ABK-1 we are waited by Irina Kovbich - she will be our conductor and the guide on station. After checking of our documents she gives us of badges-admission, we pass a framework of metal detector and we walk upstairs in a locker room. Here we leave all our "civil" clothes, mobile phones, a handheld computers. We can take only radiometers and photo-video equipment (at station is a rigid requirements of security, especially in ZSR (a High Security Zone)). We dress white dressing smocks, on feet slippers and we go to the following room. There we get something like underwear, socks, outer clothing - a jacket, pants, a hat, shoe covers (something like sneakers without laces, on "Velcro") and a mask-respirator, gloves and plastic "traces" on shoe covers for Control Room - 4 (as people at station says, it is not yet OU (object "Shelter"), but it is already very close). That’s all, we are ready and Irina accompanys us through the glazed gallery in ZSR. By the safety regulations at station photographing is not permit, so many moments will be described, alas, only by words.


We are in "the Gold Corridor". It extends through all station and its extension of more than 1 kilometer. It has received its name because of golden colour of facing panels from anodized aluminum popular in the eighties of the last century. From a corridor it is possible to get to all premises of ZSR of ChNPP. The gamma background does not exceed 30 mkR/h. In some places rises up to 300 mcR/h, but it does not exceed admissible levels for served premises of station. After failure in a corridor on walls, in places of strong "pollution" by monitoring team had been left "inscriptions - labels": "do not stand", "Run"... Many people at station still remember these places...


Here "the Gold corridor" was replaced with "Bronze" one (we have invent this name, because of a green shade of panels), and then just with simple plaster-painted walls... We are close enough. Once again check our "admissions" and from a small window give us out a personal dosimeters "dositech" (here such uses at the work on OU). More twenty meters and we get on last point of the control (system of the radiating control "Gorbach"). We dress masks, "traces" on shoe covers and we pass further by a corridor.


Narrow pass, turn on the right, straight... We are on a place.

  • CR – 4

We are in that place where the HISTORY has changed, a place about which tens, hundreds journalese articles, scientific researches, art books and even verses and songs are written. Films - documentary and art are shot. Exists, already coming nearer to infinity, quantity of versions of an 20 years ago event, in the night from 25th to 26th of April. What do I feel looking at dimly shined hall? On stumps of old service lines along walls (after failure grandiose work on division of control and power supply systems of the desolate fourth block and the third, started after, has been done). On reddish (according to one from an old age and deactivating solutions, and after words of others from radiation) a floor plastic covering. On empty holes in panels on a place of buttons and indicators (all equipment in a consequence has been dismantled and after deactivation it was used on Control Rooms of working blocks). On a shelled crust of a polymeric film by which all surfaces of panels and screens are covered (struggle against a radioactive dust)... I feel... 20 years... It is a lot of for a human life... And it is insignificant a little for DZhN (long-living radionuclides). Gamma background nearby 2 mR/h, Beta - 5000 cpm per square centimetre (in neighbouring woods and villages happens even more)... All within station norms... How many liquidators have given the health and lives for that here it would be possible to come without fear to receive OLB (radiation sickness) for a half an hour? I feel grief and a pain of the people who have lost the small native land, resettlement in another’s places, of their family (which illness the official medicine with maniacal persistence does not connect with influence of radioactive pollution); of liquidators whom, simply speaking, have saved all world, and now became the burden and a headache for all states of the former USSR; the bitterness of operational atomic scientist in presence "dies" their station, who by own hands "finish" this huge improbably difficult "organism" because someone has decided that for everybody it will be better... I feel the nature of Woodland, with simplification has dumped from the shoulders the intolerable anthropogenic burden. Paradox - but one of the greatest technogenic accidents in the history of mankind has rescued the nature of Woodland from destruction by the men, having transformed the polluted by radionuclides land into unique reserve... On the right behind a wall through one premise (filled in with concrete and become a part of a basic wall of "sarcophagus") rests of GCN (the main circulating pumps) and that there were from the reactor of 4th power unit... Our conductor Irina Kovbich shows on clocks – it’s time to come back. We pass control point, we throw out in the container for used SIZ (individual defense facilities) respirators, gloves and "traces", we hand over back in a window "dositech" and we go back on "a gold corridor" on Control Room -1.


Though the ChNPP is stopped, the personnel continues to work. The conclusion of nuclear station from operation - long and difficult process which will last tens years. On many blocks and centres sad labels are visible: "it is taken out of service" We leave Control Room -1 and we go in "MASHZAL" (turbine building) – a huge, about kilometer length, premise where there are steam turbines of reactors. The turbine of the fourth block is in the end of a hall and is fenced off from other premise by a concrete wall.


We leave the ZSR (High Security Zone), we change clothes on our "civil", we go down on a checkpoint, return badges and say goodbye to Irina. Here our excursion on ChNPP has ended. We leave the ABK-1 (administrativ household building), and go to our cars, where we get from luggage carriers bought in Chernobyl long loafs and we go to the cooler pond channel to feed catfishes. This time we was lucky - from a bottom, as huge submarines, have emerged 2 - 2,5 meter "fishes - beauties"... What is for such fishes 4 long loafs?.. A trifle. We try to photograph, but photos do not come out - water flashes, and the scale is not felt.


Before continuing our spot-check on the left river bank of Pripyat (in area of "northern trace"), we go round station and we come into viewing pavilion of OU (sarcophagus). Except of unique photos which was made in "sarcophagus", here there is unique and very evident breadboard model of ChNPP after failure. On the right photo is good visible the place of arrangement of Control Room - 4. Tiny figures of people on a breadboard model mark places where it was possible to make the way to researchers - atomic scientists.

We leave ChNPP and we come back to Chornobyl. A dinner in dining room of ChII and we go on the left river bank of Pripyat.

Continuation in the report: "Northern track"

We express huge gratitude for the organization and realization the excursion on ChNPP to:

A.Sirota (the project pripyat.com), A.Novikov and I.Kovbich (ChNPP), Y.Tatarchuk (ChII), A.Kupnoy (a portal Slavutich City) 
Technical adviser A.Fatahov (ChNPP)


WebLost Places

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Die Sperrzone von Tschornobyl

By Yevgen KRANZ Goncharenko

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