The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'pripyat'


20 years after the Chernobyl disaster, scientists are finding the contaminated area teeming with radioactive, but otherwise perfectly healthy, wildlife, including species scarce elsewhere:

There may be plutonium in the zone, but there is no herbicide or pesticide, no industry, no traffic, and marshlands are no longer being drained.
Cattle on the same island were stunted due to thyroid damage, but the next generation were found to be surprisingly normal. Now it's typical for animals to be radioactive - too radioactive for humans to eat safely - but otherwise healthy.
Scientists have analysed the DNA of Chernobyl wildlife and found them to have many mutations, though nothing altering their physiology or impairing their survival. (Which probably is at least partly due to those that were adversely affected having died and been eaten; nature's adaptability is of little comfort if one happens to be one of the unfortunate individuals that don't make the cut.) This has led some environmentalists, most notably James "Gaia theory" Lovelock, to suggest the burying of radioactive waste in endangered forests to keep developers, poachers and other human threats away.

The BBC also has a number of dramatic and well-shot photo galleries from the environs of Chernobyl: of the abandoned city of Pripyat (now with stencil art by visiting graffitiists and gas masks scattered by photographers for dramatic effect), of the vast graveyards of contaminated vehicles, and of abandoned villages in the exclusion zone.

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Remember that butt-kicking Ukrainian chick who rode through the Chernobyl zone of alienation on her motorbike taking photos? It has been claimed that much of her story is fake; she's not the daughter of a high-ranking official who pulled strings for her to ride her motorbike through the zone, but rather took the standard tour with her husband and a friend, took some photos (some posing with a motorcycle helmet), and made up a fantasy about riding alone through the radioactive wasteland. Or so someone says on a message board, anyway.

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Following up on the Chernobyl photojournal, here is another similar record, this time by a woman who returned to the apartment in the dead city of Pripyat she was evacuated from, some 14 years later. The photographs of new buildings, overgrown with long grass and young trees, are eerie.

And the most recent Viridian note is about the Chernobyl "zone of alienation" involuntary park, a growing destination for extreme tourists, with its silences, fresh air and abundance of rare (and radioactive) wildlife:

About a quarter of the cesium and strontium have already decayed, and 95% of the remaining radioactive molecules are no longer in fallout that can get on or inside a visitor, but have sunk to a depth of about five inches in the soil. From there, they have insinuated themselves into the food chain, making the zone's diverse and abundant flora and fauna radioactive indeed. An antler shed recently by one Chernobyl elk was stuffed with so much strontium that it cannot be allowed out of the zone. But three Przewalski foals born in the wild, while radioactive, have grown to adolescence with no visible effects. Such radioactivity now has receded to the background. On an average day, a visitor might receive an extra radiation dose about equivalent to taking a two-hour plane trip, zone officials say.
Today, villages are slowly succumbing to encroaching forests. In the abandoned town of Pripyat, less than two miles from the nuclear reactor, empty black windows stare blindly from high-rise buildings at kindergartens littered with heartbreakingly small gas masks. It may seem like an odd place for a rewarding tourism experience. But nowhere else can a visitor stand amid a herd of wild Przewalski horses like a character in Jean Auel's Ice Age novels, or watch a pair of rare white-tailed eagles circling above the ghostly high-rises of Pripyat, a moving monument to the devastating effects of technology gone awry, and nature's near miraculous resilience and recovery.

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A fascinating and poignant photographic travelogue through abandoned, radiation-contaminated towns near Chernobyl by a young Ukrainian woman who enjoys riding through the "dead zone" on her high-powered motorcycle; contains photographs of abandoned houses, rooms full of old family photographs, records, dolls and other fragments of interrupted lives, the rusting remains of contaminated fire engines, tanks and helicopters, an abandoned fairground, and an entire deserted city in 1970s Soviet style, dead and silent and slowly being reclaimed by nature:

Actually, some people coming back to their homes and settle down, those mostly old people who do not care if they die today or tomorrow. important is to die at home.
marauders in radiation poluted area are not just a regular marauders, they don't steal stuff for themselves. There were cases of radiactive tv sets and other stuff being sold on city second hand markets and then police shot 7 or 8 of them and it helped
Usually a police officer who call himself a town guard was telling me that I was in town alone. then I could hit roads with no worry that I will run accross some car. This town might be an attractive place for tourists. Some tourists companies have been trying to arrange extrim tours in this town, but people- their customers scared and have been complaining about silence which is hard to stand in empty town. They charged 210 us dollars for 2 hours excursion and town guard say, they all were leaving in some 15 mins, complaining that silense is tremendous as if one got deaf.

(The first thing I thought: where can one sign up for one of those tours? It sounds like an amazing place to walk through.)

oncological hospital has been working for 40 days after disaster, then head doctor died of cancer and people abandoned this hospital

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