“I remember that day when we learnt for the first time what Chernobyl was…

It was a beautiful sunny day [26 April 1986]. My daughter and me were sitting in our yard. A soft spring wind was blowing. Suddenly a huge military truck stopped right in front of us. A man wearing a gas-mask and a protective costume jumped out of the truck and began to walk around us gazing at some device that was hanging on his chest… Then he looked at us, fastened a little sign with a symbol that we had never seen before, got back into the truck and drove away. Everything happened in complete silence. No word was pronounced. We were just looking at the sign and the truck and had no idea what was going on… The day was not that beautiful any more…”

From the memories of an elderly woman,
Yurovichi village

Northern Ukraine, Kiev Oblast, near the border with Belarus. Prypiat used to be proud for being home to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers. Its population had been around 50,000 prior to the accident. But something terrible happened on 26 April 1986… Today, the only residents are deer and wolves along with a solitary guard.

According to experts’ evaluations, the damage caused by the Chernobyl reactor accident equals to about USD 235 bln which corresponds to 32 Belarus’ annual budgets of 1986 – the year of the disaster.

Let the story be told by the creepy pictures taken ~20 years after the accident along with comments made by the authors of the photos.

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)
“The sign on the road to Pripyat, the town where the workers of the nuclear plant lived.”

The bridge of death

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

“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.

 

Schools

(Bamboos for: misterbisson)

“Deserted secondary school near Chernobyl, Illinsty, Ukraine. Dec 1995 0.96.07.01.19”

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben) and Anosmia)

Left: “One of the five schools of Pripyat, each teaching about 1000 children. The schools have remained relatively intact considering the problems with looters eight years ago. I guess books don’t hold much value to the poor.”

Right:”At a 20th anniversary Chernobyl exhibit on Capitol Hill.”

(Bamboos for: zbruch)

“Children will never run here again.”

(Bamboos for: oinkylicious)

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

“Gym class”

Kindergarten

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

On the left: “Stairs on the creche/kindergarten near the center of Pripyat”; on the right: “Broken doll on top of a corner cupboard in one of the rooms in the creche/kindergarten in the center of Pripyat.”

(Bamboos for: hanszinsli)

“Nursery in the creche/kindergarten”.

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

“Child’s big toy car in one of the rooms of the creche/kindergarten”. Notice the number plate of the car – 1984. It must have been manufactured 2 years before the accident.

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

The note says “Rabbit”.

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

“Hay stuffed toy”.

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

Pripyat funfair

(Bamboos for: Vivo (Ben))

“Pripyat funfair was due to be opened on May 1st. The Chernobyl disaster happened April 26th.

No one ever managed to ride the ferries wheel. It remains one of the most irradiated parts of Pripyat since the disaster, making it still dangerous today, 22 years on.”

(Bamboos for: hanszinsli)

“Bumper car ride in the amusement park in central Pripyat, it was to be opened on the May 1st celebrations of 1986, five days after the accident.”

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

(Bamboos for: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

“Ferris wheel control or ticket booth in the amusement park .. I’m sure the plush teddy bear was placed there later by someone looking for an emotional photo, but it’s interesting also to document the later attempts of using the accident to achieve certain media goals.”

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