How is the excursion to Chernobyl going?

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Pripyat is located just a few kilometers from the station and the road takes a few minutes. On the way there is the famous «Pripyat» stele, however, at the entrance to it, we see several parked buses and at least a hundred tourists, and the guides decide now not to stop at it, but to do it on the way back.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant is a strategic facility and, as expected, is well guarded, but the fact that Pripyat is also under protection was a surprise to me. I knew that the area was guarded, that there were patrols, but I didn’t know that Pripyat was fenced off, that there was a separate checkpoint at the entrance, and much more.

The main task of the guard is to prevent tourists and stalkers from climbing where they should not, and to protect the city from marauders. In general, Pripyat has survived several waves of looting and many radioactive objects have left it. This story deserves a separate article, but since someone may himself go there on an excursion, I will not spoil the very informative story of our guide about the history of Pripyat. (Thanks again

The checkpoint is the last stronghold of civilization before walking around the city. Since it is not worth eating in the open air in the Zone, you never know what the wrong speck of dust will bring the wind to your food, and because of the pandemic there is temporarily no organized food for tourists in the Zone, here we have lunch right on the bus, then we have almost 3 -hour walk around the city outside the buses.

After passing the checkpoint, we enter Pripyat and head to the city center, the guides divide tourists into three groups: one with English-speaking tourists and two with Russian-speaking ones, each group disembarks at its place in the center area and begins bypassing it on its own route, so as not to create crowds.

We land on the road between the former dormitory areas and the city center (in the photo above this area) and, for safety reasons, we descend a couple of meters from the main road into a small side street. Since the road traffic in the zone is minimal, the drivers here often drive without looking around, so there is no need to stagnate on the roads.

Here our guide begins a long and very interesting story about the history of Pripyat before the accident, during the liquidation period and after, right up to the present day. There would be enough information in it for another series of articles, so I will not go into details. I will give only the very beginning in the video below, so that you can at least superficially feel the atmosphere of this place, not a dead city at all.

After a while we go on foot to the amusement park. The road is very close and takes only a couple of minutes, after which we come to the well-known Ferris wheel. The guide gives 15 minutes to walk around the square and immediately warns: you can approach the wheel, but you shouldn’t touch it, as there are very high chances of getting dirty and leaving the Zone without part of your clothes, and, possibly, to the hospital.

The group scatters around the amusement park, someone starts to take pictures, someone launches a drone (in half of Pripyat it cannot be launched, as it is too close to the station), the records from which will be checked by the SBU on the road. (The entry of a drone into the Zone must be registered in advance). We pass the area quickly enough and stop only near the cars (in the video below).

Then we join the conductor who is waiting at the collection point. By this time, about 10 people from our group have gathered around him and he begins to tell the history of this park, myths and real situations associated with it. Again, there was so much information here that it would have been enough for a whole cycle, but since these articles are more informational in nature, I will not spoil.

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The group smoothly gathers near the conductor and he asks to take dosimeters and measure beta radiation. It is about 30 particles per cm2 (norm 20), after which the conductor brings the dosimeter to a small pile of dust on the asphalt and an alarm is triggered 5-7 centimeters from the ground, a few millimeters from the asphalt there is phonite for 5-6.5 thousand beta particles per cm2.

When the group finally gets together, we go to the central square of Pripyat. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to get into the buildings; they are in disrepair and, according to the guide, even stalkers are afraid to climb into most of them. In addition, it is forbidden in the central buildings, they hung up motion detectors, which will immediately raise the guards on their ears if someone tries to get inside. Therefore, we walk along the street and do not enter buildings.

Along the way and already on the central square, the stories of the guide continue and there is really a lot of information, it is clear that the person is a fan of his work. Near the restaurant, the conductor sits down for a minute and brings the dosimeter to the sewer hatch. And it emits 23-30 thousand beta particles per cm2. A meter away from him, the dosimeters do not even turn on the alarm: beta radiation poorly penetrates the air.

After that, we have another 15 minutes to walk around the square and take photographs, after which the bus should pick us up. But the English-speaking group has not yet returned by his arrival, and we have to wait another 15 minutes for them. Meanwhile, the guide continues to tell stories, this time not about the city, but about would-be tourists who have managed to get dirty, and a thunderstorm is moving faster and faster on us. The last group appears along with its first drops and we set off to leave the city.

As a result, the rain barely caught us, but at our next location it managed to flood everything even before our arrival. A dozen kilometers away, a meeting with the Duga air defense missile system was awaiting us, but read about that in the next part …

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Author: Fedor Karasenko