Chernobyl: Questions and Answers #1 Photography - M1key - Michal Huniewicz
When I was a kid, no word was more terrifying than: Chernobyl. More terrifying than the words death, cancer, or pain; possibly because it meant all of that and more.
I knew someone who died of cancer very early in her life, and that was commonly associated with the nuclear disaster of 1986, when the Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant (ChNPP) in USSR (today Ukraine) blew up,
sending a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere, which heavily affected the USSR, but also Western Europe, and to some extent, the whole planet.
The event was classified as level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The thing about level 7 is that there is no level 8.
400 times more contaminated material was released than by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and half a million people (the so called Liquidators) were involved in the clean up operation, which cost a fortune,  and sped up
the downfall of the USSR , when the "Soviet people realised there were forces stronger than the Politburo". 
In this gallery, I do not intend to fully explain the physics of the disaster or how radiation works, as that has already been done elsewhere. I would, instead, like to describe the disaster
in a more manageable form of questions and answers; both questions that I asked and other people asked me. The answers are based on the literature I read, and on what I was told during the Chernobyl tour.
This is Part 1, focusing on the human aspect of the tragedy. Part 2 of this gallery will focus on the nuclear plant (we'll go inside) and details of the disaster itself.
If you liked this gallery, you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook, much appreciated.
Uploaded on: 2015-08-30.
Welcome to the Alienation Zone
Can you enter, and if so, how do you enter Chernobyl today?
Yes. Most people enter through the entrance to the Alienation Zone of Chernobyl at KPP Dytyatky, Ukraine. It marks the beginning of the 30 km contamination zone. This is where you need to show your papers (passport, permits) for the first time. Also, this is your final contamination check on your way out.
There is also a 10 km contamination zone which was more contaminated, and you need a separate permit for that.
кпп (KPP) stands for контрольно-пропускной пункт [1
], which roughly means temporary control point. Dytyatky is the village name where this KPP is located. People still live in Dytyatky, but living within the zone is officially forbidden.
You can enter the zone illegally on a boat, too. [4
ISO 200, 18mm, f/8.0, 1/1600s.
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
Wait, what exactly happened at Chernobyl in 1986, in a nutshell?
To quote Keith Gessen, "the Soviet system had taken a poorly designed reactor and then staffed it with a group of incompetents." As the plant had a major safety flow, a test was conducted to see if
an improvised safety solution would work. It did not, and Reactor 4 exploded. "[The USSR] then proceeded [...] to lie about the disaster in the most criminal way." [15
But the story of Chernobyl is also the story of the clean up operation and the people involved in it.
ISO 200, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/15s.
What countries (today's borders) were most affected?
From 1986 to 2000, 350,400 people were evacuated and resettled from the most severely contaminated areas of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. According to official post-Soviet data, about 60% of the fallout landed in Belarus (23% of its territory was contaminated [15
The North-West wind that was blowing directed the radioactive cloud towards Belarus, and Scandinavia, but spared Kiev
ISO 200, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/400s.
How many people died because of Chernobyl?
That's the big question. No one knows. Everyone is biased. 31 people died because of the accident directly. The way Soviet authorities would have it, the death toll is about 50, including a clean-up helicopter crew (watch the crash on Youtube
but others estimate tens or even hundreds of thousands. [20
We must remember that the Chernobyl disaster is still claiming lives, and that not all data is accessible. For example, in 1999, Yuri Bandazhevsky was imprisoned in Belarus for publicising research that indicated that the effects of the Chernobyl accident were more
serious than previously understood. [15
ISO 360, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/40s.
Is the zone still contaminated?
This is my radiation dosimeter, my guardian angel during my stay at Chernobyl. It shows radiation in uSv (microSieverts) per hour, which is a unit the whole world uses, except for the US.
If I switch this device on right now at home in London, it will show 0.16 uSv, which is exactly the same as what you can see in the photo, meaning the village pictured is generally not contaminated above average. This is because it was decontaminated.
The process of decontamination often missed some spots your guide will be able to show you.
Here you can see some current radiation levels at Chernobyl
ISO 200, 40mm, f/6.3, 1/400s.
Is it then safe to visit Chernobyl today?
Yes, if you go with a guide, and there is no other legal way. Sure, there will be things you cannot do (like sitting down almost anywhere in the zone), but although the radiation is often higher than where you live,
it's nothing compared to what it used to be after the accident and before the clean up, so you will receive a smaller dose than when you're on a plane for a few hours (more on that later).
ISO 200, 35mm, f/4.5, 1/1000s.
Demolished by Nature
Can I nevertheless get myself killed if I do something stupid?
Yes, although the biggest threat are probably buildings falling apart, like this one.
If you mean radiation though, I know of two places which are still very polluted - one is the plant itself, but you need separate permits to visit the plant (I got them; see gallery part 2); the other one is fairly easily accessible, and it is a nuclear hell on earth.
ISO 200, 11mm, f/8.0, 1/125s.
Hell on Earth?
What is the most contaminated but easily accessible place in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone today?
This is something I know from one of my guides. The most contaminated place is here in the basement of this hospital in Pripyat - the closest city to the plant (more on it later). I was told that if you were to walk down there, the radiation level is 60 mSv/h. That's 60 milliSieverts per hour - if you get
100 milliSieverts per year
, your cancer risk empirically increases.
Here you can see some sample radiation levels and what they mean
ISO 200, 11mm, f/9.0, 1/200s.
Why is the Pripyat hospital basement so contaminated?
After the accident, they started calling in firefighters, from the dedicated Chernobyl brigade, the Pripyat brigade, and then more and more from the surrounding areas. The ones called in first had little idea about the scale and nature of the disaster,
and were not properly equipped. Within hours, they would show symptoms of ARS (acute radiation syndrome), and be taken to the Pripyat hospital, where they would be undressed and shaved (even the hair was polluted). They were so contaminated by radiation themselves
that the doctors and nurses handling them would get radiation burns and sometimes even die. [15
The firefighters' clothing and gear was dumped in the basement of the hospital and never removed, hence the high radiation levels.
About 30 of those firefighters died in the Moscow Hospital No. 6, which specialised (maybe it still does) in radiation disease.
Listen to the Chernobyl emergency firefighter call with English subtitles
ISO 320, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/40s.
What if I really want to see the Pripyat hospital basement for myself?
Your guide won't let you, but if you were to get there somehow, you would need to cover your entire body and have something to breathe through.
This would protect you from alpha and beta radiation, but not from gamma radiation, so while you would get a high radiation dose, you would not get contaminated yourself.
Slow down, explain different kinds of radiation
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How much radiation will kill me?
5 Sieverts over 5 hours is considered to be LD 50/30, meaning it will kill half of the people exposed to it within 30 days.
Radioactivity is all around us, and you are being exposed to about 0.2 uSv/h right now, so 5 million times less than the LD.
Go on a plane, and that will increase 10 times (less atmosphere to protect you).
There is a town in Iran which has background radiation of as much as 131 mSv (milliSieverts) yearly,
while already 100 mSv per annum means increased cancer risk. [6
After the explosion and meltdown, the Chernobyl core was emitting 300 Sv/h, so it was enough to go there for a moment and have a look in order to be doomed to immediate nuclear tan (of the skin and internal organs) and a painful death with no hope of recovery, as it
did indeed happen to several people.
See this informative radiation chart from XKCD
ISO 200, 18mm, f/8.0, 1/60s.
Magda Looking Happy
Can I become highly radioactive myself?
- You are already "slightly" radioactive, as it was pointed out to me on Reddit , because the human body contains radioactive elements. Naturally occurring potassium-40, carbon-14, uranium, and thorium are present in every human body. That radiation is not dangerous. 
- If you are only exposed to gamma radiation, depending on the dose, you can be okay, sick, or die, but you will not become highly radioactive yourself.
- If you are exposed to alpha or beta radiation, depending on the dose, you can be okay, sick, or die, but if you are thoroughly washed afterwards and do not inhale or in some other way absorb alpha or beta particles, you will not become highly radioactive yourself.
- If you are exposed to alpha or beta radiation, and you do inhale or in some other way absorb alpha or beta particles, you will become highly radioactive yourself.
This is what happened to many Chernobyl firefighters.  Also, Chernobyl miners (more on them in part 2) drank water in the dusty working environment near the plant, most likely absorbing the lethal alpha and beta radiation - watch.
- Your skin, which normally protects you from external alpha and beta radiation, will now protect us from your internal radiation, as its destroying your body from the inside, unable to leave it through the skin.
- But potentially everything you excrete will effectively become radioactive nuclear waste.
ISO 200, 50mm, f/1.4, 1/800s.
What's the most contaminated object you yourself saw?
Unsurprisingly, it was on the ground floor of the Pripyat hospital (I did not go to the basement). This is a piece of a firefighter's gear, something he wore on his head during the night when the disaster happened.
Eventually, the dosimeter showed something about 250 uSv/h.
This means it emits 250 uSv * 24 h * 365 days = 2,190,000 uSv/a = 2,190 = mSv/a. That is over 20 times what you need to increase your cancer risk, if you were to have this object near you for one year. But because it's spread over one year, it would not give you ARS.
ISO 250, 11mm, f/4.5, 1/40s.
Were people allowed to remain in the most affected zone after the disaster?
Several days after the nuclear disaster of 1986, the population of what now is the Alienation Zone (aka Exclusion Zone) was evacuated. They were told they would return shortly, but never did, and the villages have been left to ruin.
You may want to see what's left of this village on Wikimapia
ISO 200, 18mm, f/6.3, 1/640s.
Have some people returned to live in the Exclusion Zone?
The people who were forced to leave the area, tens of thousands of them, would either be given replacement apartments in cities, or would initially have to live with other ordinary people, in the name of socialist solidarity.
But many older ones would never adjust, and would instead attempt to return to the area illegally, the so called self settlers or samosely [41
]. Their presence is quietly tolerated. One of them is Rozaliya Ivanivna, who lives here - she depends on firefighters to cut her wood and deliver food. She lives completely on her own in the village.
You may want to read this 1986 article about Chernobyl refugees on The New York Times
, or watch this short 30-minute indie feature film on self settlers
ISO 200, 18mm, f/8.0, 1/640s.
Villages that No Longer Exist
How many towns and villages were evacuated?
The Chernobyl Museum in Kiev mentions some of the towns and villages that effectively ceased to exist after the disaster. Altogether, 188 were evacuated. [5
ISO 800, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/13s.
Surely, people did not steal anything from the Zone?
Wrong, they did. No one knows what exactly, but it's been speculated that contaminated vehicles and items from the Zone flooded the USSR. [30
] What's more, after the disaster, the families from the Zone were sometimes allowed
to return and pick up the items they had left. [15
ISO 200, 38mm, f/4.8, 1/320s.
How do you even deal with nuclear fallout?
It's worth repeating that if an object is exposed to radioactivity, it is affected, but itself it does not become radioactive, unless it becomes physically contaminated with the radioactive particles themselves.
After the Chernobyl disaster, radioactive dust was the killer, as the dust contained radioactive particles (uranium, plutonium, cessium, strontium, etc.). [7
] That dust would settle on the objects, sometimes in the microcracks in various surfaces, which would need to be washed.
At Chernobyl, initially they tried burying entire villages in the ground, but that was a bad idea, as the radioactive particles would easily get into the ground. They settled on washing the buildings and objects then, but some vehicles were contaminated
to such an extent that it was decided to bury them, after all. [8
ISO 200, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/40s.
In a Shop
Does the Zone look like the people have just left?
I was told on many occasions that the Zone looks like the people have just left. It doesn't any more. It is very heavily damaged by both nature and people. The windows are usually broken, which means it rains and snows into the inside,
plants grow everywhere - nature is taking over. Apparently, only 10 years ago the area still felt pretty untouched though, according to our guide.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/4.0, 1/80s.
Has the disaster destroyed wildlife?
You'd think the disaster would have a bad impact on the wildlife in the area. Wrong. It caused the humans to leave, and as a result the Zone has become a wildlife sanctuary. It also provided a new home for the critically endangered Przewalski's Horses.
Endangered or not, the horses are unfortunately hunted by poachers... [10
ISO 200, 55mm, f/6.3, 1/1250s.
Can people live in the Zone again?
We were told that the government has been planning to open the 30 km zone to human habitation again (but not the 10 km zone). This is because the radiation levels are generally not so high any more, as atoms undergo radioactive decay.
As for the areas closer to the plant itself, those won't be safe for the next 20,000 years, as plutonium half-life is really long. [9
] It might be the longest-lived Soviet legacy.
ISO 200, 38mm, f/6.3, 1/800s.
Is the Zone home to any secret Cold War-era equipment?
Of course! This is the entrance to the Duga-1-type over-the-horizon radar, so that the Soviets would be able to detect nuclear missiles launched from the US. It is sometimes incorrectly called Duga-3. [11
In 1983, the world almost plunged into a nuclear war, when the Soviet early-warning nuclear system Oko reported that the US has just launched a nuclear missile. In this case, the USSR was to retaliate immediately
(see what a Soviet launch computer might have looked like
but the duty officer at the time, Stanislav Petrov, decided it was a false alarm, and did not launch a retaliatory nuclear attack at the US and its NATO allies. [12
] He was right, it was indeed a false alarm. There is a film based on his life, called
The Man Who Saved the World. [13
He was reassigned to a less sensitive post, took early retirement (although he emphasizes that he was not "forced out" of the army, as is sometimes claimed by Western sources), and suffered a nervous breakdown. [12
ISO 200, 18mm, f/8.0, 1/1000s.
How tall is Duga-1?
Duga-1 is 90 metres tall, and to man it, a secret town called Chernobyl-2 was built, not explicitly marked in any maps. [14
Exploring the maps, you are likely to find a symbol for a children's boarding house, or a dotted line of forest roads on a place of accommodation of the town, but no reference to urban and technical buildings.
See this radar on Wikimapia
ISO 200, 18mm, f/8.0, 1/640s.
Climbing the Duga
Can one climb the Duga?
One can, if one is not afraid, and in this case one was. Tomasz, the bravest of us, climbed 6 ladders-worth of it, which let him see above the trees. I didn't have what it takes.
ISO 200, 55mm, f/8.0, 1/500s.
I think Magda was trying to motivate me to climb a bit more...
Was Duga-1 contaminated in the disaster?
Yes, rather heavily, but it was cleaned.
ISO 200, 30mm, f/8.0, 1/320s.
How did the USSR respond to the disaster?
There are two aspects of the USSR response:
- "Genuinely frantic" effort to clean up the mess. 
- Refusal to admit to the world (and its own citizens) that anything serious had gone wrong , as well as ordering satellite countries, like Poland, to keep quiet (Poland detected radiation levels half million times the norm ).
ISO 400, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/20s.
Were children more affected than adults?
Yes, as children don't cope with radiation so well. One of the major health impacts was a serious rise in thyroid cancer in children. [16
I was two years old, when someone knocked on our door, and after an ambiguous explanation was given to my parents, I was administered Lugol's solution, to prevent me from getting thyroid cancer.
Although the solution was not administered immediately, Poland was probably the only communist bloc country to have reacted decently, and distribute the solution among its population,
despite the risk of angering the USSR, who wanted to keep the catastrophe secret, [17
] hoping "no one would maybe notice" (quoting the journalists Dusko Doder and Louise Branson) [18
ISO 400, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/30s.
Were children and animals born with deformities as a result of Chernobyl?
Yes. Tell everyone about my daughter. Write it down. She's four years old and she can sing, dance, she knows poetry by heart. Her mental development is normal, she isn't any different from the other kids, only her games are different. She doesn't play "store," or "school"—she plays "hospital." She gives her dolls shots, takes their temperature, puts them on IV. If a doll dies, she covers it with a white sheet. We've been living in the hospital with her for four years, we can't leave her there alone, and she doesn't even know that you're supposed to live at home. When we go home for a month or two, she asks me, "When are we going back to the hospital?" That's where her friends are, that's where they're growing up.
ISO 200, 50mm, f/1.4, 1/250s.
Did Chernobyl result in any mutant monster creatures being born?
No, although long-term effects on animals are poorly understood. The closest you get to monsters are the giant fish of Chernobyl that live near the plant in the water that was used to cool the reactor, but the reason why they are so big is that
they are not killed by humans too early. [28
People did worry about mutations, though. "She tells us about her dreams: that she's given birth to a calf with eight legs, or a puppy with the head of a hedgehog." In fact, following the accident, many women were forced to have abortions. [39
ISO 400, 20mm, f/5.6, 1/40s.
What happened to people's pets?
"If you ran over a turtle with your jeep, the shell held up. It didn't crack. Of course we only did this when we were drunk." [15
] The pets had to stay behind. They trusted people,
so they were easy to kill - they were nearly all hunted down, because people feared their fur was contaminated.
Francesco Cataluccio lived in Poland during the disaster - unaware of the catastrophe, he only realised something wrong when he visited his friend, who was in the process of frantically washing his terrified and confused cat. [40
ISO 500, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/40s.
What happened to the bodies of the people who died following the accident?
As the people involved in the clean up, the Liquidators, sometimes became radioactive themselves, after death, they had to be buried in sealed zinc caskets,
under cement tiles, at the Mitino Cemetery, Moscow. [15
Lyudmilla Ignatenko, wife of deceased fireman Vasily Ignatenko, said they could not be buried in home towns or villages, because "they were now heroes of the State. They belonged to the State." [15
ISO 400, 18mm, f/5.6, 1/40s.
Magda aka Pumpkin
Did the Chernobyl disaster result in a new humour genre in the affected areas?
"The only salvation was in humour."
There's a Czech saying: when you smile, you show your teeth (i.e. show anger). The answer is yes, and in the jokes, one can see dissatisfaction with the USSR and the Communist Party. Okay, here's one.
"They told me that tomorrow I either go to Chernobyl or hand in my Party card."
"But you're not in the Party."
"Right, so I'm wondering: how do I get a Party card by tomorrow morning?"
ISO 200, 42mm, f/8.0, 1/400s.
Did the people sense something was wrong after the disaster?
No, and many did not want to leave. They did not believe the accident could be serious, and because the weather was good and everything appeared peaceful (radiation is invisible; there is no green glow [31
they did not sense the danger. No one was informed about the threat. Children raced to the plant on their bikes. Some people went out to get some tan (including the soldiers involved in the clean up), they received potentially lethal nuclear tan. It was only after a few days that the city was evacuated in countless buses and taxis. What about the animals though?
"My grandfather keeps bees, five nests of them. They didn't come out for two days, not a single one. They just stayed in their nests." [15
ISO 200, 50mm, f/1.4, 1/125s.
Is radiation really invisible?
Yes, although many people from the Zone claimed they saw it, as black particles or in rain [15
What you can
see are the effects of radiation. Look at the second to last photo here
, taken on the roof next to Reactor 4 days after the explosion. At the bottom of that photo you will see stripes where the film perforations are - that's caused by radiation.
Also, this film recorded during or following the evacuation of Pripyat
has flashed burnt into it by radiation.
ISO 400, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/30s.
Did the people employed by the plant live in Chernobyl?
No, although the nuclear power plant is named after Chernobyl, most employees lived in the model Soviet city of Pripyat, church-less, founded in 1970, where the average age was 26. [22
] Pripyat was also
closer to the plant.
Watch a Pripyat evacuation clip where the same place is featured
(caution, bad music).
ISO 200, 18mm, f/9.0, 1/1000s.
Was Chernobyl a model Soviet town too?
No, Chernobyl is a very old town, founded in 1193 [23
], and it has its own history worth of studying.
ISO 200, 48mm, f/5.3, 1/250s.
Was Pripyat a nice place to live?
Very nice, and everyone wanted to live there. People earned three times national average, had cars, and the shops were well-supplied. In fact, the employees of the plant were threatened that in the case of insubordination, they'd be relegated to another nuclear power plant in the middle of nowhere. [24
That was crucial during the night of the disaster.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/800s.
Let the Atom be a Worker, Not a Soldier
Is Pripyat a ghost town?
Yes. Everyone has moved out.
The letters on the building say "Let the atom be a worker, not a soldier".
ISO 200, 55mm, f/5.6, 1/2000s.
Is Chernobyl a ghost town?
Not quite, as it wasn't so badly affected [40
], and today, some of the people working on decommissioning the plant live in Chernobyl.
ISO 200, 55mm, f/8.0, 1/400s.
Doll Wearing a Mask
Did people come up with any ways of protecting themselves from radiation after the accident?
Yes, and as you can imagine, it involved alcohol. One recipe was: a spoonful of goose shit onto of bottle of vodka. [15
] Here's one from Poland: 90% alcohol, grapefruit juice, honey, juniper fruit, tabasco, artemisia. [40
] No, it doesn't work.
However! We were told by our guide that if you were to get totally and utterly smashed (the type of alcohol doesn't matter) before
the exposure, that would
actually help, as your
cells, when in the state of dealing with alcohol contamination, are less susceptible to radiation damage. One shot won't make any difference though. While the guide was a scientist, I am not sure if there is anything scientific that actually supports this claim though.
ISO 400, 18mm, f/5.6, 1/40s.
Who was the whistleblower for the disaster?
Sweden. They detected the contamination, and that forced the Soviet authorities to open up about the disaster. [25
] There's even a song about it:
"Next to the hill you're on your tractor, across the way there's the reactor. If the Swedes hadn't've told, we'd be on the tractor, getting old." [15
ISO 200, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/500s.
Is it OK to eat mushrooms that grow in the area?
No, mushrooms are meant to suck in radiation (or rather heavy metals), and same applies to moss. [26
] Interestingly, radiotrophic fungi have been found to grow inside and around ChNPP. [27
"Yes, but give them to your mother-in-law!" we were told. "Although she might serve it to you..." (ha ha)
ISO 200, 55mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s.
Do photographers arrange objects for better composition?
No, and let the Zone take me if I'm lying!
Just kidding, they do.
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Chernobyl Museum Cradle
What are some of the strange rumours people believed after the disaster?
- The explosion was caused by aliens.
- The explosion was caused by an earthquake.
- Everyone affected will be transported to the Siberian camps.
- It's a cosmic experiment being performed on the people of the area.
- Foxes and wolves go into the villages and play with the children.
- The Chernobylites are giving birth to children with an unknown yellow fluid instead of blood.
- The Belarussians will turn into humanoids.
ISO 400, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/13s.
ChNPP reactors were faulty by design. Were there any other reactors of this type and if so, are they still operational?
Yes. There are 11 reactors of this type (RBMK) still operational (Kursk, Leningrad, and Smolensk NPPs [29
]). But the good news is, after the disaster, their construction has been improved.
In the photo, the forever unfinished Chernobyl Reactors 5 and 6.
ISO 200, 38mm, f/4.8, 1/2000s.
Okay, but ChNPP was shut down after the disaster, right?
No. It had 3 functional reactors left, and they continued to work - the last one was shut down in 2000. Ukraine simply needed the energy. [32
ISO 200, 34mm, f/4.5, 1/80s.
What connects the Chernobyl disaster with the Apocalypse?
As it turns out, the word Chernobyl means wormwood in Ukrainian... [33
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
-- Revelation 8:10-11
ISO 400, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/20s.
What connects the Chernobyl disaster with Walt Disney?
Some believe Chernobyl is semantically linked with Chernobog [34
], a Slavic deity, potentially evil, but then it's difficult to say much about the Slavic mythology, because the Slavs didn't bother to write much down, and the crusading Christians
made sure nothing remained of the original pagan beliefs when they forcefully converted this region into Christianity nearly one millennium ago. [35
Chernobog features in the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence in Disney's film Fantasia of 1940
The link between Chernobyl and Chernobog was also exploited by Philip Hemplow in his horror story Sarcophagus.
ISO 400, 18mm, f/5.6, 1/40s.
Can my clothes become contaminated?
They can, especially your shoes, with potentially radioactive dust, so you are advised to walk on asphalt, avoid moss, dirt, and puddles.
ISO 200, 50mm, f/5.6, 1/125s.
Will I know my clothes have been contaminated?
Yes, as you have to go through several contamination checks like this one.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/80s.
What if the contamination check says I'm contaminated?
If is goes off, you have to wash your shoes, hands, etc., and usually the alert goes away.
If you have somehow swallowed/inhaled radioactive particles though, you have a problem. In part 2 we will look at what can be done to help you.
ISO 200, 26mm, f/4.0, 1/250s.
Somewhat appropriately in this case, in Polish, Ferris wheel is called diabelski młyn
- Devil's windmill.
Who is a stalker?
The Soviet science fiction writers Boris and Arkady Strugatsky wrote a novella entitled "Roadside Picnic", and it was first published in 1972. [37
] In the book, they used the terms stalker (which they got from Kipiling's "Stalky & Co.", and themselves pronounced stullker
). The novella, written more than a decade before
the Chernobyl disaster, depicts... a deadly Exclusion Zone, that some people, stalkers, venture to. In the novella, the Zone symbolically exposes the true self and nature of the people that dare go in - some turn out to be selfish cowards, others heroes.
Stood amidst the post-disaster damage, spray-painted walls that witnessed theft and deliberate destruction, my guide and I wondered if the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone wasn't similar in this respect - as no laws apply there, you have to apply your own. Who do you become in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone?
ISO 200, 31mm, f/4.2, 1/1250s.
Kartik the Scientist
In the next gallery, we will look closer at the accident, and visit the plant itself.
ISO 200, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/500s.