Mon 18 Apr 2011 08:18
The town of Pripyat almost defies description. It was totally purpose built, all the living accommodation is blocks of very functional looking flats. It has schools, a hotel, fitness centre, swimming pool, restaurants, shops and funfair.
After the people were evacuated, guards moved in to police it and prevent looting. Gun squads rounded up and shot dogs & cats to prevent them carrying radiation out of the zone. Despite the policing, all removable items such as sinks, baths, kitchen stuff etc, were quickly looted & only stuff too big to move was left. One example of this is a piano shop, where you can still get some notes our of the strings. They take tour groups in, like us. You have to go through a radiation check on entering and leaving the zone, but apart from that there seems to be no control over where you can go. Our guide asked us to stay together but didnât seem very bothered.
In the school, we walked upstairs to the 4th floor where there were classrooms where military training had been going on. Posters, books, pieces of military gear, desks 7 chairs, are all still there . The floor is covered in broken glass and insulation material from the roofs, and trees are growing up through the floor. Nobody made any attempt to pick up a souvenir. Well, you wouldnât. We crunched over the broken glass around the olympic sized diving pool, then on to the fairground. Hardly anyone spoke, nobody knew what to say.
So,b 25 years on, Pripyat wonât be habitable in our lifetime, and the nuclear waste under reactor 4 has to this day not been dealt with.
This was just about the most surreal day I have ever spent. If anyone reads this I hope you will forgive my simplistic interpretation of history! I would love to hear your views on Chornobyl /nuclear energy/nuclear waste disposal/viability of alternatives, because I now feel more ignorant than I was before!
Weâll try to put some pictures on the blog,