How is the excursion to Chernobyl going?

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After making a short stop at the checkpoint, we go to the over-the-horizon Duga radar station (ZRLS). It is located 12-15 kilometers from Pripyat, if you go straight through the Red Forest. On the way, we pass the Pripyat stele again, this time there are practically no people near it, and we make a stop for 15 minutes for a photo. While most are posing, we move away from the stele a little to the side, cross the road and admire the Red Forest, or rather, what is left of it after last year’s fires.

On the question of the conductor: is it possible to get away from the road here? he replies that it is possible, but only to those who have dosimeters with them, while smiling maliciously. And for a good reason, as soon as you move 2 meters away from the asphalt, the alarm goes off on the dosimeter and then the radiation levels grow rapidly with every centimeter, so the desire to move on disappears by itself.

After a group photo of the whole group, we go further and a couple of kilometers from the stele we pass the western radioactive trail, which I already mentioned in the second part, in fact, this is the last alarming place on our journey.

Once again driving through the western radioactive trail.

Despite the short distance, it takes a long time to get to the «Duga», more than half of the way runs through the forest, along the road made of slabs, so the bus barely drags on. By this time, everyone on the bus is already so tired that half are asleep. And the rain falling outside the window does not give vigor. The part of the forest through which we are passing has burned down, so the atmosphere is generally oppressive: rain, black sky, burnt trees, the feeling as if I got into a computer game Stalker.

Somewhere at this time, I blinked, and opened my eyes already at the entrance to the airborne radar station. It stands in the middle of the forest, untouched by fires, and by the time of our arrival, the heavy rain had just ended here, so the path from the buses to the antenna itself ran through terrible mud. Coming out of the bus, you feel the incomparable smell of the forest, in recent years I have not felt such a rich forest aroma even in the depths of the Carpathians.

We come out to the antenna itself quite unexpectedly, its top could be seen from the road, but under the trees it was impossible to make out behind the crowns. We go through a slight bend in the path, and the antenna appears abruptly from the trees at its full scale.

Since we are already late, there is not enough time to walk around the territory and listen to the guides, and we choose the first one and walk along the antenna. (photo in the carousel above). Radiation levels everywhere on the territory of the complex practically do not differ from what we recorded at the very entrance to the Zone, so you can safely walk here without fear of being smeared with something.

It is impossible to climb onto the antenna, since it is in an emergency condition, so we just have to admire it from the ground and the drone. The scale of the installation is simply mesmerizing, and it is impossible to betray it either in photos or videos. In the allotted half an hour, we just walk through the territory and enjoy the beautiful nature and the scale of the Duga airborne radar station. In general, by this time most of us are so tired that we simply don’t have the strength to move and get any special impressions. I will cite just one more video shot by my acquaintance with the help of a drone:

After half an hour of walking, we again gather at the buses and leave for the last location of our journey — the city of Chernobyl.

Read on in the next part …

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Author: Fedor Karasenko