Chernobyl – Then and Now

When the Chernobyl accident occurred April 26, 1986 causing radiation to spread for thousands of square mile, nobody was hit the hardest as the city of Pripyat. Located just a few miles from Chernobyl, Pripyat had a population of 50,000 people in 1986.

Nuclear Ghost Town of Pripyat

Pripyat Then

Pripyat Now (view looking out from schoolhouse)

Chernobyl Sarcophagus

To contain the huge amount of molten debris, a containment tower was constructed by the enormous amount of laborers. Named the “Sarcophagus” was finally completed in December, 1986. The laborers or “Liquidators” as they were referred to by the military could only work on the rooftop for 40 seconds before they would have to leave. A total of 800,000 liquidators were used to complete the effort. After the completion of the Sarcophagus, most of the vehicles used to transport the labor were abandoned at the site.

Bus carrying Chernobyl “Liquidators” to the site.

The sarcophagus will remain radioactive for at least 100.000 years. The age for the pyramids of Egypt is 5,000 to 6,000 years. Both tell a story about the civilization that built them.

City Street

Incomplete building with abandoned cranes

Bridge (note reading of 373 milliroentgen)

Pripyat Church

View inside Church

Pripyat Hotel

School preparing for MayDay Parade.

Beauty of Flowers at 519 milliroentgens



** All pictures courtesy of photographer, Elena Filatova **


About Krell

I used to have superpowers… but a therapist took them away.
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12 Responses to Chernobyl – Then and Now

  1. I do heart nukes, but this is depressing….

  2. oso says:

    Like science fiction – a nightmare future from some Arthur C. Clarke novella from the fifties. For some reason looking at these pictures brings a horrific fascination – I imagine wandering thru the scenery, the countryside. There must be horrible psychic or maybe spiritual vibes from such desolation. What awful things we do to nature.
    Nice work Krell.

    • Krell says:

      I cannot imagine the horror of the families realizing that their loved ones had been exposed for the days until Pripyat was evacuated. Radiation follows in strange patterns were there will be checkerboard patterns of ultra hot spots and other not so.

      This was just one city. The same or worse conditions occurred for Belarus and parts of the Ukraine.

      The story of the Liquidators or Bio-Bots as the military would refer to them is tragic enough.

  3. Stimpson says:

    I’m interested in a little perspective on the radioactivity readings. 500-plus milliroentgens is bad, right? What is it compared to a dental X-ray?

    • Krell says:

      Mike, it can get confusing. Rems and Rads. 1 millisieverts = 100 millirems… so on.. so on

      I believe that a dental xray is around 20 millirems. She is getting the equivalent of 26 dental x-rays per hour. Maybe not harmful if there for an hour, but you wouldn’t want to linger to long.

      At 519 millirems exposure shown with the flowers pictures, she is receiving the exposure considered beyond the safe region for 1 year in 1 hour.

  4. scaredstiff says:

    Very scary look at what we’re capable of. When viewing this the future looks bleak.

  5. Morgalla says:

    Nuclear anything has always profoundly disturbed me. Seeing the ghost towns is bad, but seeing the children of Belarus, victims of radiation poisoning, is worse.

    From a link Oso provided

    The contaminated area left by the Chernobyl disaster is enormous, but so is Russia. There are places to run to- get away from the contamination. If Japan faces a similar outcome, they will have to leave the islands. They could not live there with it.

    • Krell says:

      Those are truly depressing pictures with that link. What is mind boggling is the time that is involve.

      IMHO, that Chernobyl Sarcophagus will have to be there well after mankind is gone. Really, does anyone see mankind surviving for a 100,000 years?

  6. jackjodell53 says:

    What an absolute scene of horror! Thank you for posting these!

    • Krell says:

      Jack, in all honesty.. I left out the truly horrible pictures. The effects on animals and reproduction is almost too much to bear. People just don’t realize the extend that radiation contaminates with the durations involved.

      Just to give an example, just last year Germany compensated hunters in their country over 500,000 dollars for contaminated wild boar meat that was radioactive from the Chernobyl event 25 years ago. There are berries and fish measured in Germany and Finland that still are 10 times over the limit of cesium-137 radioactivity so they have to keep it off the market.

      In the UK, restrictions still remain in place on 369 farms covering 750 km² and 200,000 sheep because of Chernobyl radioactivity.

  7. Gwendolyn H. Barry says:

    It all sorta spills out of you, I mean this abandonment… a deadly rust. The link to the photos from Oso…
    and then thinking of Japan. O my gods. It just spills outa you.
    It’s a very important post, David. Thank you.

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