1986 – The nuclear Hell of Chernobyl and the Fox of Pripyat Ghost Town
Pripyat ghost town is situated in northern Ukraine, where the country borders with Belorussia. In 1986 there, only some 120km away from the capital Kiev, an epic catastrophe happened when the nuclear core of reactor 4 of nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant melted and caused an explosion. The detonation contaminated the proximity poisoning it for thousands of years. Also it catapulted radioactive material into the atmosphere where it formed a travelling cloud that polluted Europe making the name of small village of Chernobyl being on everyone’s lips, worldwide. The accident was that tremendous that the MCA was promoted to become ultimate. It didn’t remain the only accident of its kind though.
Cheek by jowl with the damaged reactor
Leonid is the Russian Homer Simpson. Not yellow skinned, not bald-headed, everything but dumb but amiable and funny in the same way and working in a nuclear power plant as well. Also he has got a son playing pranks on the neighbourhood, but not as hard as Bart does. Leonid’s Springfield has the name Chernobyl, what in Ukrainian language (Чорнобиль, Tchornobyl) actually stands for the plant wormwood/vermouth.
Since April 26th 1986 the Ukrainian village is no stranger anymore for everyone worldwide. Many know it’s located in Soviet Union, a few know it’s only some 120 kilometres beeline away from the capital of Kiev. It is home to five nuclear reactors; one of them was under construction while the others already produced electricity.
Being located directly at the Pripyat River the power plant’s name should actually be Pripyat as well but the already existing town of Chernobyl was name giver. When the decision was taken to expand Chernobyl to become Soviet Union’s largest base for nuclear power plants then the city of Pripyat was founded. Us East Germans know those kind of cities; cities like Eisenhüttenstadt, only existing because of industry and serving as box to lock away its labourers. Even if it didn’t yield a Paul van Dyk (aka Matthias Paul) – when directly compared with Eisenhüttenstadt, Pripyat was such a town.
The plans for Chernobyl were big as actually up to 12 nuclear reactors were meant to be built at the banks of Pripyat River. In turn the city of Pripyat would have risen to accommodate some 300.000 people. Five municipal districts were already inhabited and the construction plans for a sixth jungle of 16 story high risers already loomed at the horizon. Then April 26th 1986 and the mark of 01:23:48 o’clock arrived though…
An experiment in combination with a construction error led to an explosion and nuclear core meltdown. The explosion blew off the reactor’s security shield, which fell down again to damage the reactor even more. The graphite inside the now laid bare reactor caught fire causing a tremendous draught effect catapulting radioactive elements into the sky. The catastrophe was complete.
Fire fighters were the first on site. They tell stories of flames blazing some 200 metres high and glowing in all imaginable colours. Leonid breaks off and wrestles with his emotions. He is very happy that he was not at work that night, but at home, with his family, in Pripyat.
Everywhere in Pripyat as well as on the power plant territory and in Chernobyl village you see icons showing the peaceful atom and even in Kiev it’s theme of Shulyavska station. Though, the atom showed humanity several times that it’s not peaceful all the time. When it comes to nuclear disasters it is hard to tell who is having the edge on all others.
The aerial images of the scaffolded red-white chimney having the Chernobyl reactor ruin at its feet got burned into our collective mind the same way like the blurry video showing Fukushima Daiichi I in the far distance when an oxyhydrogen explosion destroyed the building being followed by hash tag nuclear meltdown making it around in the world within seconds.
No matter if conventional news or social media, humanity didn’t really learn its lesson as even after the Fukushima disaster no serious step forward was made, e.g. to promote sustainable energy sources large-scale and to disempower the nuclear lobby.
Much worse and frightening than each disaster is only human mendacity once the milk is spilt as after the accident people tried incessantly to update reality according to the latest state of lies.