More reports from the dying earth.

Prypiat was founded in 1970 to house the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers, officially proclaimed a city in 1979, and was abandoned in 1986 following the Chernobyl disaster. It was the ninth nuclear-city, “атомоград” (atomograd) in Russian, literally “atom city”. Its population had been around 50,000 before the accident.

The fallout:

The explosion on 26 April on the fourth reactor released 100 times the amount of radiation of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki put together…

The Chernobyl accident led directly to the deaths of 30 workers at the reactor site, caused the hospitalisation of hundreds of others and exposed about 6.7 million people to radiation fall-out, according to the World Health Organization. This led to a 10-fold increase in thyroid cancer among children in affected areas.

Photos taken from Flickr using a Creative Commons license.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

10 replies on “Prypiat”

I talk a lot about things scaring me – but this place genuinely does. One of the worst aspects of it, the thing that makes me feel the queasiest, is the Bridge of Death going into the town. It’s where people stood to watch the meltdown, because from there they could actually see in through the cracked reactor to the core… and it’s a sight that killed them.

Rowena – yeah, I considered posting that one. I’ve a couple of others on the dying earth tag, at the bottom of the post, which might be interesting.

Dwagginz – me too. There’s something deeply alluring about abandoned places.

Lou – ah yes, the Bridge of Death:

“After the explosion at Reactor 4 the people of Pripyat flocked on the railway bridge just outside the city to get a good view of the reactor and see what had happened. Initially, everyone was told that radiation level was minimal and that they were safe. Little did they know that much of the radiation had been blown onto this bridge in a huge spike. They saw a beautiful rainbow coloured flames of the burning graphite nuclear core, whose flames were higher than the smoke stack itself. All of them are dead now – they were exposed to levels of over 500 roentgens, which is a fatal dose.”

What I’d love to see is some good quality photos of the power plant itself, perhaps even inside it. I know it’s incredibly dangerous (Robots, perhaps?), but I think it’d be utterly fascinating to see the damage and destruction it caused.

One thing I think Chernobyl has taught us is just how important safety regulations are, and how vital it is that there’s distance between nuclear power stations and, well, civilisation.

More cool (well, you know what I mean…) photos of Pripyat here:

After seeing Tarkovsky’s Stalker and reading books like Nova Swing and the Bas Lag trilogy – all of which feature ‘zones’ that some catastrophic event has made uninhabitable, hostile and strange – I find that Pripyat and places like it hold a grim fascination that sometimes blinds me to the horror of what’s actually gone down.

Sam – that’s astonishing they pay for 2 minutes of work there.

Alex – thanks for that link; some good stuff there. Yeah, I know what you mean – there is something about our culture’s detritus that holds appeal.

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