Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Chernobyl Photo Essay

Several people had already posted the link to Elena's amazing photoessay about riding her big motorbike through the Chernobyl dead zone, but I only just got around to reading it when planetalyx kindly reminded me by referring to it in a recent post.

It was a fascinating account of the zone evacuated when the reactor when on fire eighteen years ago. It was also a journey back in time, because everything was just left as it was when the inhabitants had to flee. This was still the USSR that existed then, with block of flats still full of people's belongings, abandoned when they had to escape. There was also the graveyard of helicopters and vehicles that had been used in the disaster, too radioactive to use again.

Strangely, this site has a local resonance for me. Although the disaster happened such a long way away, the the wind and weather patterns meant that Chernobyl fallout affected farmers here, making sheep too radioactive to be safe for human consumption for several years. Ironically, the farms worst affected were in the shadow of our own nuclear power station.

The Trawsfynydd reactor closed down a few years ago, thankfully with no more than the occasional scare in the local press over some minor problem, but the threat of a major disaster always haunted me, even before Chernobyl. I had a mental disaster plan at the back of my head so that if anything went wrong, I'd be prepared to evacuate family, pets, ponies and a few valuables (like computer backup discs). But reading Elena's essay, I wonder now whether we'd have been able to do anything other then get ourselves out. Very scary.

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