Touring The Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Site In 2010
Throughout Pripyat you can also find items that have been looted by thieves from sink faucets to electrical wire. Walking through this four-story school was definitely an interesting experience and one of the most unique to walk through among the many buildings of Pripyat.
Some of the rooms in different Pripyat buildings are now empty as months and years after the accident, some atomic refugees from Pripyat were allowed to return to collect some of their belongings. Liquidators and other personnel also took advantage of some of the leftover furniture and other belongings when they began living in the area. Like the missing electrical wire and toilet fixtures, looters took some of the other items.
Compared to some of the villages within Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone, more of the buildings are still standing since some were used following the disaster and others just not contaminated nearly as much. When driving through the Chernobyl area it is very common to see a mound of dirt with a nuclear warning sign atop, which signifies where a building once stood and where there are still unsafe levels of radiation.
The fallout from this Chernobyl event was not contained to just this thirty kilometer zone, but measurable amounts of nuclear matter were found in Sweden and other European countries. A radioactive cloud also reportedly reached as far away as France and Italy following the April 1986 disaster. There are increased rates in Thyroid cancer among children in other parts of Europe that can be traced back to lead and nuclear material that escaped into the atmosphere during the Chernobyl explosion and resulting fire that propelled deadly material more than one-thousand kilometers into the atmosphere. There are also still food restrictions that continue to be enforced for places as far away as the United Kingdom because of contaminated fields and livestock.
Another stop on this two-day journey of Chernobyl was the town of Chernobyl itself. The Chernobyl town is located about ten miles away from the reactor plant itself and was founded in 1932, but it too is more or less a "ghost town" with only a few life-long residents and scientists/government officials living within the area. Its residents like those from Pripyat became atomic refugees and were forced to migrate to Slavutych. One of the buildings for "The Ministry of Ukraine of Emergencies and Affairs of Population Protection from the Consequences of Chernobyl Catastrophe" is also within the area.
There is also a monument within the Chernobyl town that was constructed by the town's firefighters. This monument was dedicated to their comrade first responders that lost their lives as being the first responders to the nuclear fire in late April of 1986.
While Chernobyl's reactors have been off-line for years, there still are workers at the site that are still working to remove the spent nuclear fuel rods and constructing a permanent storage facility for this very hazardous waste. Even removing the nuclear power equipment is expected to take at least another decade. Also being worked on at this site is the New Safe Confinement. Built following the nuclear disaster was the sarcophagus that was made of concrete, steel, and other materials in the months after the accident to contain the nuclear fallout. The sarcophagus did help in preventing greater amounts of radioactive material from escaping into the atmosphere, but it's fallen into a state of disrepair with cracks appearing along the roof and the entire structure is considered unstable and being at a risk of collapse.