For a few months in 2011, the Chernobyl Zone was opened by the Ukrainian authorites for tightly controlled tours. This was 25 years after the disaster. They let me slip off and take these pictures.
The people of Pripyat were not evacuated until two days after the explosion of Reactor No.4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. To encourage a hasty exit, they were told they would be away for just three days and so left most of their personal belongings - some have since been looted but many remain. The new fairground was never in use - it had been due to open a few days after the town was abandoned. The Soviet government in Moscow reported the disaster two days later as an accident that was being remedied after traces were discovered in Sweden.
600,000 people known as 'liquidators' were employed in the decontamination process. 2.2 million people have status as victims of Chernobyl in the Ukraine alone. It has cost Ukraine an estimated £120 Billion to contain and has continually drawn 5-10% of total government expenditure each year since independence.
400 times more radiation was released into the atmosphere at Chernobyl in 1986 than at Hiroshima in 1945. The wind direction was unkind to Belarus which received 70% of the fallout affecting 23% of the entire country. State spending reached £12 Billion, which was 22% of the newly formed country's budget in 1991.
It is estimated by WHO that the death toll from the affects of radiation will reach 9,000. Greenpeace puts it at 93,000 and other scientific bodies much higher still. Outside this figure are millions whose lives have been adversely affected by the explosion at Reactor 4, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Today, half of Ukraine's power supply is provided by its 15 existing nuclear reactors
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