Чернобыль сегодня: туризм, радиация, люди. Большой выпуск.
Today we will have a not very typical episode since I am not travelling anywhere, I have stayed in Kiev and you have just seen a sunrise over Dnepr river. The topic I would like to tell you about today, is quite tough, Because from one point of view, Chernobyl is a tragedy and a catastrophe but it is also a very popular tourist attraction, and probably the most popular in Ukraine. Overall, it is a very diffcult subject, but today I will try to put it to you as simple as possible, and let’s see what will come out of it! The Series that you all know about will be turned to minimum. This new release will concentrate on what is now happening in the area of Chernobyl, about tourism and raditation, current state of Pripyat, the new Arch and the people. We will talk to guides, stalkers and tourists. We’ll take a guided tour of the area and I will show you the pics I took of Chernobyl and Fukushima as well as some unique shots from the destroyed block. We will talk to a person who has been inside the block, grasp some aerial shots of Pripyati and Slavutich, and see what is inside the Arch to figure out why it has been built. First, though, lets go back in time! I was 2 years old when Chernobyl tragedy happened. I still remember my mother’s stories of when she took me for a walk, it was a sunny bright day, there were lots of people on the streets, everyone were outside with their children, and getting ready for May holidays. Still, it is only 10 days after the tragedy, people of Lugansk, the city I am from, found out about what has happened in Chernobyl. I’ve been living in Kiev for the last 7 years here, the topic of the tragedy, resonates much harder, compared to Lugansk Here, it touched many people who I know, whilst some of them are known to you also. Kiev is a great city and for me it is one of the best cities on the planet. I m serious! Whilst Dnepr river floats through the city, we are greeted by Motherland monument, new pass walk bridge and club Closer. Last but not least, it is home to 3 million people. Nevertheless, everything could have been much different! This is Kreschatik, the central street of Kiev It is where on the 1st of May 1986, a week after the tragedy, a 1st of May parade took place. The radiation measurement today, is at 16microR whilst on the 1st of May 1986 it read from 500 to 1200 given the norm is below 30. Everything could have been much worse but Kiev was saved by a miracle. The miracle, being direction of wind. The wind took the radioactive clouds to the North to Belorussia, Russia and further to Europe. In just two days it has reached a Swedish nuclear power plant Forsmark, which is over 1000km away from Chernobyl. It were the Swedes who first announced to the world that an accident happened on the USSR territory. Judging by how far Kiev is from Chernobyl, it is clear how unbelievably fortunate this wind became. I will now try to help you better understand of how close Chernobyl NPP is to Kiev. We are in the centre of the city near Polytechnic University, I am going to reset the odometer and let’s go! It takes around one and a half hours to get to the 30km guarded area. 120km in distance and you are at the Checkpoint Dityatki. Further down, bulb wire and alienated zone of Chernobyl NPP I have been there three times throughout my life First, in 2012, then in 2014 and finally in 2015. This shot was made at night because at that time I was part of a stalker group We have crossed over 130km in just 5 days on foot, 42 of which were covered in one day. It was a difficult crossing and at times quite dangerous. It is hard to convey in words, what 5 days in the guarded area are like. and what exactly the zone is. But as per my senses it is the most atmospheric place out of all places in 73 countries I have ever been too. It is the zone where humanity is banished by the hands of its own creation. As a result, it exposes an absolute thriving of nature, that is not affected by outside forces, Wild animals, you can see moose on the streets of Pripyati abandoned villages, dead city of Pripyati and an intangible danger of radiation. These shots were taken by Denis Kondratyuk, the guy who I visited the zone with in 2015, he is on the left. Back then he used to be an IT engineer, but now, his life has changed irrevocably. He is now an english speaking guide, working for a company that arranges legal excursions to the alienated zone. – So tell me, do the people at your company know that you used to be a stalker – Yep, it s actually one of the first questions – they asked me – Were I there before? – and they immediately realised that I have – I didn’t expect such question and smiled mysteriously – Been there before illegally. – So I said yes! – [Anton] but it is not a negative? – [Denis] It’s a positive, they said it’s a plus. Being a stalker is pretty popular here, and these two guys I met at the checkpoint have just returned from the zone. – [Anton] So do I understand correctly – That you have just been caught? – [Stalker] No, we surrendered. – They would have never caught us, – Even with drones or on horses. – [Anton] How many times have you been there? – [Stalker] It’s my third time – I was walking through the forest and a wolf – Started following me – So I ran into a house, locked the door and honestly, – That was extremely scary Today, it is mainly foreign tourists, who visit Chernobyl. – [Anton] Where are you from? The tattoo on the hand of this Swede reproduces an information banner that was put at the entrance to the zone. Sauli, by a completely incredible coincidence works at NPP Forsmark, which I told you about earlier. Perhaps Sauli’s thoughts are not common but he expressed the same opinion that others have who ever visited this place including mine. Area of Chernobyl is like a magnet, that pulls you in for different reasons. The number of those wishing to visit the area never seems to decrease. – [Anton] What is the situation with the – Current tourist flow? – [Denis] It grows – 6 years ago, according to colleagues’ information – There were around 6-8 thousand – Last year, numbers increased to 62000 – This year, there will be many more – [Anton] Why? – [Denis] Couple of reasons – First of all general popularity increases year by year – Second reason is the HBO Series – and I have already had visitors – who came after watching it. – When I asked whether they have watched it – They said yes, I watched first episode, – then booked the trip right away. Chernobyl, HBO, are two key words. You see, cinema and TV have a very strong influence on tourism. Most of us wouldn’t know this much about New Zealand if not, Lord of the Rings. Bruges, would not be bursting from tourists, if not for the film In Bruges, whilst many started to regard Iceland as a tourist location only after “The secret life of Walter Mitty” Also perhaps after volcano with an unpronounceable name erupted and TV hosts around the globe where trying to pronounce its name correctly. So, the series by HBO plays an identical role for Chenrobyl The tourist flow is guaranteed to grow now Actually, it has already increased, by 30-40% according to Reuters. Whilst main filming part took place in Lithuania, around 30% were filmed in Kiev. So as Kiev’s resident, let me show you the parts filmed here. Bogdan Hmelnitskiy street is pictured as Moscow since it was built in style of Stalin era of construction Lomonosov Library in reality is Vernadsky Library, which is the biggest library in Ukraine. Belorussian CP HQ is none the less a study block of Shevchenko University. The hospital in Pripyati turns out to be the Institute of HydroBiology on Obolon Street. Interior shots were also done there. The angles of Pripyati hotel resemble the Polytechnic Uni, which have then been enhanced postproduction. The last spot represents itself as Mezhigorskaya Street. I am not sure about this building, so do let me know in the comments below. So what about the series itself? It is a fiction, not a documentary, but many moments are still captured with practically a documentary precision. As per the reasons of the tragedy, and i have seen many different documentaries, not a single one have managed to express the case as comprehensively as the HBO Series. Of course it does include fiction, like the naked miners, helicopter that falls into the reactor. What definitely caught my eye, are the blood red faces of firefighters, who fought the fire on that night, since actual tan from radiation is more purple than red. Nevertheless, i don’t want to concentrate too much on certain nuances of the series, as my channel is mainly about travelling and trips, so let me show you how a today’s excursion to Chernobyl looks like. A day time trip costs around 50USD whilst an English language excursion costs 100USD There are two day and even week long trips. You are given a gauge that measures radiation and you need to carry it most of the time. The places that you see on the way to the block are a couple of abandoned villages with various houses that survived the test of time. Still, most settlements were destroyed. A kinder garden, here, first time you begin to hear the gauge. A ginger forest, that received an obsolete amount of radiation (13000R) and changed its colour. The forest has been cut down and buried on the spot. Last but not least, the bridge we all know from the series and the checkpoint near abandoned city where at the time of the tragedy over 50000 people lived. Pripyati Cafe ‘Pripyati’ Amusement Park Ferris Wheel (that never worked) Stadium It is hard to talk about this city without emotions and they caught up with me even during this fourth visit. It is especially hard to contain emotions when you see the pictures of old Pripyati and then it becomes even harder to believe in reality of what has happened. The town of Pripyati now more resembles Amazon Jungle, greenery everywhere, This is how the central street looks like and it is not full of trees only because it is being cleaned. Pripyati is not covered in deathly silence, it is more of a forest. It is an example of a fight between nature and people, where nature is relentless in winning. I havent been at this spot for 4 years but it is incredible how overgrown the central square is. It’s like a small park now. Radiation boasts one unusual property, it stops time and you only need to visit Pripyati once to understand and feel it. The city paused itself in socialistic landscapes of 80s. Rusted Soviet billboards, of leaders and their parties, bent vending machines and a forgotten pool ‘Lazurniy’. These, are characteristics not of Chernobyl only. In 2015 I visited Fukushima, the shots from that trip you see above now. 230mR and growing 300mR 300mR inside the car! I visited it only 4 years after the accident and hence the levels are much higher than those of Chernobyl. 3000 3700 4000 Fukushima didn’t really suffer from maraudeurs Everything here is untouched since it was abandoned. Cars. An abandoned garage. Offices and a school It is obvious that no one has cleaned up here for along time. Lots of dust, but as per the rest, it is exactly how they left it. Shops and arcades, then something that finishes you completely, a shop where most of the products are still on the shelves. Everything is as it were before. Even traffic lights are still working. Just no people Pripyati on the other hand hasn’t been this lucky, thanks to the hands of maraudeurs not much is left of it. They dismantled the city into parts, taking everything that has value. Clothes, electronics, even radiators. Flats do not have much, only large furniture pieces. From what I personally saw, a piano and an old cash till. Nevertheless, there is a similarity between two locations Clocks that stopped, Fukushima on the right, Chernobyl on the left Oh and now the question that bothers many who plan to visit Pripyati How safe is it? Radiation level on the day of evacuation in 1986 registered 100mR per hour which is roughly 100000 micro roentgen per hour. Right now, it shows 38 microR per hour, but on average Pripyati shows from 60 to 120 microR. If you are a frequent flyer, you should know that at the altitude of 50000m gamma measurement is around 250-270microR per hour and it is something I personally measured. So overall, a visit to Pripyati roughly equals to a 2 hour flight on your average plane. There are two reasons why Pripyati is travel safe. First, it is because the town has been washed numerous times and grounds are generally safe, except for the mold, that takes in radiation. Second reason is time. Two main elements that penetrated the area were Strontium and Cesium that decay over 28 and 30 years respectfully. It has now been over 33 years since the tragedy, which means that number of these isotopes is double less the original amount and it will keep decreasing on yearly basis. Overall, radiation works in a peculiar way, now you have 84 microR, and 70cm away you get thousands! Highly active spots are generally non existent but you can still find a couple. One of them can be found in the clinic No126, that same clinic we saw in the HBO series. These days there are no more excursions to this place, but back in 2012 took part in the excursion inside the clinic. To tell you the truth, this place gives you shivers even at daylight. Most scary place in the clinic, is the underground, in one of the rooms where firefighters’ clothes can still be found. As you know they all died weeks after in Moscow. This is that exact room. 5000 5700 6000 Most eerie place I have ever been to. Moreover, it is extremely dangerous due to a large amount of radioactive dust. Still, you can find clean places in the town where R readings are similar to Kiev’s although some parts of it will never be safe again. For example, these are the robots that took part in cleansing operations. Some of it is contained in Zinc housing for safety reasons. As part of the excursion, there is another interesting place to be seen. A so called Chernobyl 2 otherwise called Radio-Locating-Radar ‘Duga’ Earlier used to determine a launch of intercontinental ballistic rockets of 80s. It used to be part of a top secret military base, Named ‘Russian Woodpecker’ in the West due to the sound it made during operation. This absolutely monumental construction is seen from any point in the area, having a height of 500m and length 150m. Antenna consists of a large number of resonators that in turn make a noise similar to a sound made by train, whilst wind gusts through them. There were 3 of these built in USSR, and only this one is still in existence. Pripyati, a city that was destined to live for only 16 years, gave life to another city The youngest town in Ukraine Slavutich. Slavutich is situated 50km away from the zone Its construction began in December 1986 for the employees of the NPP. It s not big, with current population of around 25000. It s not a place where you’ll be taken for an excursion, but this doesn’t cancel its value as an interesting place to visit. I have only been here two times in my life, so its story will be told by someone who knows it best. Ivan Dorn (lived there for 16 years) – [Ivan] So I came to Slavutich with parents – in 1990 – For the reason that my dad was invited – to work at Chernobyl NPP, – whilst my mother later became the Head – of theater. – They were doing shows – and even held festivals that she directed. – There was a big cultural movement! – Being one of the biggest stages in Europe, – Lots of international stars performed there including Patricia Kaas, Latoya Jackson, shows included helicopters, parachutes. Those were Incredible shows by international standards that at times were bigger than in Kiev. – [Anton] Was the city cool in general? – [Ivan] Yes, and it still is – to be honest a cool place. – First of all, its architecture – It is a heritage location, – Many universities take their students – To Slavutich to see its heritage architecture – Of late USSR period. Slavutich was built by architectors from 8 different USSR Republics and this is how the town ended up with 13 captivating quarters Each has its unique architecture and a hard to miss National character. There is a Moscow Blvd. Kiev Blvd. Blocks on Yeren Blvd boast a distinctive tiling, Tbilisi Blvd. and Baku Blvd next to it. There is also a Baltic area, bursting with small, cosy villas. Riga part, and Vilnius parts of the city. – [Ivan] Belgorod, – Talinn, – Moscow, quarters, – I lived in those, – We did move pretty often, – In total over 7 times – as far as I remember. – First it was Belgorod quarter, – Then moved to Riga quarter, – Belgorod’ villa quarter, – Then Tbilisi Blvd, – Returned to Belgorod quarter, but other apartment – So mainly it was Belgorod Quarter, – By the way that s where – In the same courtyard – My wife used to live, – With her parents, – So yeah, – We are from the same school, same year, – That s why my kids are there often, – Spending time with grandmothers – and grandfarther to be precise, – Grandfather of my kids is Novikov Alexander Yevgeniyevich, back in the day, a Vice GM of Chernobyl NPP, – Responsible for technical safety. – So whether you like it or not, – Everything interconnects with Chernobyl, – and despite the horrid tragedy, – There are still positive outcomes. – Like the town of Slavutich for example. – I have a big urge to return to it, – To arrange a new cultural movement, – It deserves it, – First due to being multi-cultural, – and also because of its creative teens, – It is a catalyst of profound teenagers – You can judge by me ) – I d like to become Mayor of Slavutich – To be honest, at some point. – I d like to grow old there, – I have lots of ideas for this town, – It can be a tourist centre So, if you are in the area, go visit this interesting place, that brought up many great people like Ivan Dorn and others, who are my close friends. For now, Slavutich is not touristic, but foreigners do live here. I am talking about Novarco company employees, responsible for the new construction at the NPP. A monumental Arch These days, most probably every excursion ends here, 300m away from the Arch, or in another words a new safe confinment, that covers the power unit. Basically, Block 4 resembles a matrioshka. A destroyed reactor, covered by sarcophagus, which is then covered by the new confinement. The idea to build the Arch is not new and the talks to build it began right after initial sarcophagus. – [Alexander] Our point of view is that – above the existing structure, – under stable radiation conditions, – we should bring up a new structure, – a so called Cover 2, – which can be dismantled by future generations, – to resolve the issue. The results of the Arch, can already be seen. This is the measurement I took in 2014, and now it reads much lower. The the Arch looks inside will be shown later, but what’s inside the actual sarcophagus? This, we can answer, because inside the deadly sarcophagus, were people. The name of the person on the picture is Konstantin Checherov, a man who many times has been above the reactor, under it, and even inside of it. As per documents, he is the most irradiated human being in the world. He received from 2.5 up to 4 deadly dozes of radiation, roughly from 1500R to 2000R. But despite it all, have lived a long life, working. Unfortunately he passed away in 2012. Still I did manage to meet someone else, who has also been inside the sarcophagus. This is Alexender Kupniy, a person who many times between 1988 and 2010 has been inside the NPP and knows exactly what is happening there right now. – [Alex] Ruins – equipment, broken down, – ruins of building structures. – All of it as cherry on the cake is – is flaked with radiation, – all over, – and fuel, can be found here and there. – literally, spread across the building. These Unique shots where taken by Sergey Koshelev, This is what s inside the sarcophagus, of the destroyed Block 4 of NPP. What you see now, is fuel, cassettes with Uranium, that were inside the exploded reactor. White dots you see on the film, is not a characteristic of the tape, it’s radiation, and Alexander, who spent a lot of time inside, tells unbelievable stories. – [Alex] Radiation can’t be seen, – But you can see it on film, – Photos and Videos – You can taste it, – Strontium has a metallic taste, – whilst Plutonium, judging by words – of those who worked in Chelyabinsk, – where its composition was conducted, – a friend of mine used to work there – unfortunately he died of cancer. – So he did state, – that Plutonium is sweet, – it is sweet. – Whether you believe it, – I don’t know, – but you can taste it. – Also it can be smelled. – Speaking to Checherov, – I said that it smells like Ozone, – and he replied that, yes, by Ozone we – defined the level of radiation intensity, once you sense Ozone, you run as it means levels of over 1000R per hour. – [Anton] So, half an hour and… – [Alex] Air gets ionized, – [Anton] So, half and hour and you get a deadly intake. That’s how by smell, liquidators measured radiation. Alex is a photographer, and today I get an opportunity to show you his unique shots. The green wall on the left is reactor’s roofing, weighing 2000 tonnes, nicknamed Elena, blew off by the explosion and put aside. Alex also documented underground rooms. These stalactites is a frozen nuclear fuel that leaked via steam pipes, and froze under the reactor. Now you see the most famous fuel drop. A so called Elephant foot. It emitted 14000R per hour in 1986. – [Alex] It looks like elephant’s foot, – hence the name. – [Anton] That’s why, I see – [Alex] The people who discovered it, said – ‘oh we found such a beautiful thing down there’ – The people always tried to see – beauty in the surroundings – because it keeps you up. – Maybe this is why, down there, – we can find Octopus Beam, Mammoth Beam, – mice nest, dog’s shed. – [Anton] These are all names? – [Alex] Yes, these are all names of constructions, – people named them and made them – more alive. Alexander Kupniy, made shots of fuel cells under the reactor. Now though, you see that same reservoir where water had to be released by the Chernobyl divers. Parts of fuel did end up here, most importantly, at the time, when the reservoirs were still full with water. Luckily, there was no explosion, that Valeriy Legasov was so worried about, and this melted fuel, just froze. Despite it all, it is still dangerous. – [Alex] It will be dangerous for a very long time, – more specifically not because of Gamma or Beta, – but the trans-uranium elements, – division members of fuel, – Plutonium, Americium, – the Alpha carriers. – You can’t measure Alpha radiation now, – since it s blocked by Beta and Gamma, – Alpha radiation is most dangerous, – once it penetrates you, – it does not come out, – and releases all its power to you. – [Anton] How long does the decay take? – [Alex] Hundreds of years. For hundreds of years, these dangerous particles will be inside this block. If not, of course, we take them out. This is why the new confinement has been built. It took me half a year to get a permission to enter the Arch, So it is pretty exclusive! This block will soon begin operations, and it will be impossible to get in. It is the only place where you can see the old sarcophagus. And here it is, tens of metres away from me. So let talk about the Arch now. It is currently the biggest on land moving structure. with the height of 110m, width of 257m, and weighing 36000 tonnes. – [Engineer] The point of the Arch – is to physically block the dust, – that will appear once we begin to dismantle, – and most importantly to help with dismantling of unstable structures, with further extraction of fuel cells that remain within the block. For this purpose, the Arch is equipped with machinery and cranes that can lift 50 tonnes, whilst in order to work with dirty structures, separate rooms were installed. It is hard to predict when these works will be initiated. The master goal of this whole additional constructions is of course to get rid ofall the googoo what is currently in Block 4 but how this will be done, and when, no one knows since there is no technique to make it possible. This is why the Arch, is basically an insurance that will function for the next 100 years. It secures the old structure and sarcophagus, that is at the end of its life expectancy. Within this given period, either it is us, or our children, who will have to take out the fuel cells out of the ruins of NPP. I knew right from the start what will serve as an ending to this episode, because there is a person in my life, who I discuss the topic of Chernobyl with. It is a vocalist of ONUKA band, Nata Zhischenko, now Filatova. Nata has visited the zone multiple times, and after the Arch construction finished, filmed a video clip to one of her tracks, Mainland Overall, the topic of Chernobyl is very personal to her. – [Nata] My dad is a liquidator, – which explains my interest in this subject. – I always, say liquidator, liquidator, – but actually, there is a difference between liquidators. – What you have to say is that – my father is a liquidator of the accident in 1986, – and there is a big difference to it. Nata was 1 year old, when tragedy happened. At that moment, she was living in Kiev with her parents. – [Nata] My mother was telling me – that we were in the garden, – I sat in the sand, and a woman who was passing by said – an accident happened in Chernobyl, so take her home, – my mother replied, – what do you mean? There was nothing on TV about it… – So we went back home and together with my dad -they tuned into an American radio station, – where they first heard about the tragedy. Back in 2016, Nata released an album Vidlik, Dedicated to the tragedy. The tracks from that album became the sound tracks to this Episode. – [Nata] In fact, the song that was written about it all – is called ‘1986’ – It includes the sounds of the piano that we found in the forest in the zone, – The words and melodica for the track, – are my thoughts and representation of – what happened, – so if you delve into it, – it is a song with hopes for a better future, – not about tragedy or heroism, – but about the fact that every human, is like a feather in ‘Forrest Gump’. It is the emotion I had, – and this is how I wanted it – to be portrayed. – I now think about that area, – and I remember the smell of leafs, – a moose on the road, – smiling people, unreal people, – heroes of their time, completely undervalued, – dogs with endearing eyes. – So when I contemplate about the tragedy, – it burns from within, – but I have gone through it so many times, – baking myself in thoughts, – that this song is like a sublimation, – a Gestalt of a kind, – of this topic within the paths of my creativity. Special thanks to: SNRC Ukraine Grigoriy Plachkov Olga Malashenko Denis Kondratyuk Alexander Kupniy Ivan Dorn