Travel In Chernobyl for a week

[Music] hello i’ve just spent the past 50 hours inside the most radioactive place on the planet 5.4 whoa that’s really high now this is 10 times higher than normal and it will remain like so bad for thousands of years home to the largest nuclear disaster in human history and one that could have made a large portion of europe completely exclusion zone of chernobyl i stayed inside the only hotel within the zone and got to meet one of the liquidators of chernobyl so you called in after the accident happened yeah sure chernobyl really made me a different personality as well as one of the last remaining resettlers who decided to illegally move back into her home within chernobyl only a year after the disaster how did she make the decision to come back motherland i’m excited to take you along with me on this eye-opening journey and hear some of the stories directly from those whose lives were changed by this event forever [Music] all right we have officially landed in ukraine holy crap it’s cold for our trip we’re joined by my friend and cinematographer corey that’s not a good sign once you walk out of the airport and you see your own brand yes there you are all right you made it you got it a friend of ours yuri who’s in fact the first born russian to have joined the us navy and who’s been to chernobyl before let’s go you were right it’s pretty cold and of course our legendary driver who doesn’t speak much english certainly hello how you doing all right waking up at 6 45 tomorrow heading to chernobyl [Music] it’s cold there has been an accident at the chernobyl atomic power station one of the worst disasters in the history of nuclear power 300 000 people were permanently evacuated from the area this place is just so radioactive it’s uninhabitable nice to meet you man how are you good just five more minutes i will just print like permit paper sign in like police cars will check your uh passports and then we will go okay yeah yeah nice to see you too wow i was not expecting our guy to be that jolly and excited what is this so these are your individual body counters you just put them on your necks and carrying you all day long this device records exposure radiation exposure dose that you get during your staying on the territory of chernobyl exclusions you say where are we heading now we’re heading to the ghost town of pripyat the place where nobody leaves since april 27 1986. they were just told to take documents and the most necessary things with them and they were told that the vacation would last only three days [Music] we have officially arrived at the pripyat ghost town which is the main city that was completely evacuated [Music]

1, Where is Chernobyl

so they washed the town three times after a vacation yeah they removed some 10 15 centimeters of top soil throughout the whole town but still there are some places where everything’s uh so this whole place i mean is permanently uninhabitable basically forever and in the next like 40 or 50 years all these buildings they will just fall apart and they’re gonna fall down yeah eventually yes so at this very moment we are looking at the local hospital hospital frippy town where they brought first victims of the chernobyl disaster at the night of the accident like firefighters employees of the control room and later on 28 of them the state of food was the worst like they were taken from here to moscow to the specialized clinic where they pretty much died within like first two weeks because of the extremely high doses of radiation that they obtained very scary and sad place to be honest so i’m guessing there’s one of the places also most contaminated right yeah at the basement of the hospital there are still all those like firefighters uniforms gloves helmets which are like extremely contaminated it’s just so quiet that you hear like little squeaks of the window blowing in the wind and like even that sounded like the crack it’s freaky [Music] [Music] it’s a very very eerie strange feeling it’s quiet to the point where you start to like hear your own brain in a weird way it’s just so dead silent [Music] 50 000 people used to live in the city average age was 26 years old so sad [Music] [Applause] [Music] a lot of these buildings are completely starting to fall apart this is the school a few years ago it literally just crumbled do you see just all the books [Music] [Music] i think what makes chernobyl also so interesting is that it’s kind of like a time capsule for the soviet union all of this stuff is just left here we’re able to come see these propaganda posters and the way that the schools looked and architecture of the murals and all that stuff and really does make it feel like a living museum at this point [Music] this town was actually incredibly modern modern cafes mosaics amusement park there’s a lot of facilities that just didn’t really exist anywhere else [Music] [Music] we are about to leave the ghost town of pripyat and uh i had a moment to stand out here alone staring through some of the windows and making me very emotional thinking about what could have been and through the windows you can see some of the furniture still left behind and windows half open i don’t uh cry very easily but there’s just something about this place just being here feels very heavy at this point in the trip i’ll admit that i was feeling quite overwhelmed overwhelmed by the loss the sadness and the forgotten dreams that this place radiates our guide told us however that although most of the exclusion zone is abandoned that there are a handful of people that moved back into the zone despite the authorities trying to get them to leave and so on these extremely snowy roads on the outskirts of the zone we went searching for one of them we are on our way to try to meet some babushkas some grandmas that decided to move back into the exclusion zone a year or so after the incident had a lot of problems with the authorities for a long time but then over time the authorities just let them stay completely frozen come on please come in guys come in come in let me introduce you grandma she’s one of the most famous like self-settlers in the whole chernobyl exclusion zone so she’s insisting on feeding us this is the paper she uses to light her fire it’s from 1990

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2, Travelling

it’s an old soviet october newspaper was she born and raised here here directly here in the village how long was she gone when they made people leave so she stayed outside like uh after evocation they stayed over winter at the new place and next spring they returned wow so she she was one of the first people to come back uh yeah pretty much yes so they were evacuated six days after disaster took place yeah they were planting potatoes at that moment and then the chairman of the village council came to them and said you need to leave for three days three days we will just take you away for three days and she said that those people who never returned to their native villages they passed away scientists say that’s another like psychological effect of the chernobyl disaster how did she make decision the decision to come back uh motherland she plants potatoes like all her life even like 35 years after the disaster like she’s still here she eats the things that she grows on the garden like she drinks water from well and she’s 88 years old she like she wants to cook something for you you know that’s like that’s that’s how the grainies are like that’s that’s how pure they are when we come young generation like for her we are all like her grandkids so and her like duty let’s say in the life is just to cook something just to feed us all the time that’s what earth means yeah look at her like she’s amazing [Music] what [Music] [Music] um [Music] [Music] she wants you like to finish the bottle and to fill all the food that she put on the table for you but it’s impossible [Music] i’m in love i think well that was really special thank you so much for taking us misha you’re welcome at this very moment we’re pretty pretty close to the site of chernobyl nuclear power stations come with me please i’ll show you 5.4 so now it’s like 10 times normal this is 10 times higher than normal are you never worried about your own safety i’m worried always worried but yeah i told you if you follow the rules simple rules if you don’t spend too much time at the highly contaminated place everything will be fine what’s the highest you’ve ever captured now we’ve just measured three and i measured 20 000. where was that it’s a secret place i won’t tell you that you’re saying that it was like oh this is highly contaminated three and he registered in twenty five thousand i’m still alive look after ten years i’m still i’m still okay yeah i start glowing at night when i drink too much vodka but that’s fine yeah we can just stop over here [Music] and so that what we’re seeing right there that’s the one that exploded there’s the structure that covers the exploded reactor holy i just didn’t realize we were here this is it that’s it yeah that’s that’s where we are so on the inside there’s still a bunch of like a lot of highly extremely highly radiated yes and they need to take their time to make sure that they’re dismantling it safely they need to do it how long do they think it’s gonna take it’s hard to see like literally right there is where it all went down and you said we’re gonna get closer too huh love that for us this is crazy right like legit right there how far 300 meters yeah yeah yeah it’s only one point something in 1986 i think radiation levels here were like maybe one million times higher but not these days like they cleaned all this site they removed like soil from over here they brought new one they built all these new roads everything and like the geiger counter right now just detects those gamma rays that come out like through the walls through everything through here but this steel building that they build around it they estimate is going to last between 70 and 100 years and after that they’re gonna have to figure out a new solution they’ve spent 2.1 billion euros doing this it’s far from over and that’s the weird thing it’s like oh chernobyl you know in the history books 1986 okay no it’s still here yeah my grandpa was one of those liquidators who were involved in cleaning this site immediately after the accident so he was he was working on a tractor and like removing like highly contaminated soil around the power station and my grandma she still keeps all the documents uh that his death was directly linked to high doses of radiation that he obtained over here and he died at what age 39 39 39 oh your grandpa was very brave there’s a lot of people that lost their lives coming to make this place yeah like decontaminated thousands like i think maybe hundred thousands of people who died because of the earth in the afternoon of our second day we had a chance to sit down with one of the surviving liquidators of the chernobyl disaster and hear how this impossible task changed his life to this day back in 1986 i was civil chemist doing my civil job but in the soviet union all healthy males have to undergo monday military training so you called in after the accident happened yeah sure nobody could uh imagine what’s happening here you know exposure of a nuclear reactor was considered impossible at that time you know and so it was expected that it was some minor you know explosion with some uh minor leak and it took let’s say one day to realize that it’s necessary to move the citizens of the town of prepaid they were able to evacuate as a town with 50 000 and population 36 hours after the explosion and it was on saturday and sunday it’s incredible legitimate logistic achievement in terms of social health and psychological health you know chernobyl was real disaster for the liquidators i did have you know ptsd as many on scale so these trucks were among the many that were used to clean up after the mess of chernobyl and these trucks now have just been washed over and over and over and they’re now just standing here rusting because there’s a sign on all of these trucks saying that these are not allowed to leave the 10 kilometer exclusion zone and they realized that the way of uh memorialization of the event it matters for the health state of the chernobyl liquidators because the present situation when it said wow the chernobyl mitigation was a total fail and nothing was done meaning that they were like just stupid idiots which failed to mitigate this accident but i am to tell you that well yesterday i was driving at the red forest and the levels here was one thousand times smaller comparing to what i’ve been personally measured back in 1960 1000 times it’s a huge achievement of mitigation so how long were you here when you certified days and nights and

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Final

i’m saying the same days and nights because my job was around the clock one what do you want people to to know about chernobyl what do you want people to take away chernobyl is a story of survival of overcoming of painful learning and you know prospects for a new life chernobyl really made me a different personality it made me stronger more responsible you know more humane in a way sometimes it’s quite good to have in your biography something which you cannot fail it supports you i did could go good job in chernobyl it’s impossible that i cannot handle this uh particular task and you and you do it and you feel like it gave you a sense of confidence and self-respect of course in regards of any other task in your life yeah of course of course amazing thank you so much it was my pleasure thank you so much it was my real pleasure guys yeah okay have a good one [Music] we’re going in to get a check for radiation to see if we picked up anything good i’m clean yes good good radiation free okay it was a pleasure that’s a pleasure man thank you give me a hug hold the best well we’re done with chernobyl time to exit this the exclusion zone it’s impossible to accurately measure the impact that the chernobyl disaster truly had it’s also hard to tell how long this reactor is going to stay a problem and a concern for the area but what we do know is that this disaster drastically changed the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people many never recovered from its health and psychological consequences but a few strong-minded individuals decided to not let this life-altering event take control of their story for the worse and so although i arrived feeling mostly devastated to see the scale of the consequences i felt inspired to hear the brave stories of those who survived it i gained a renewed perspective of the problems in my own life and learned that even in the darkest of places in the darkest of times that courage seeking a positive perspective and keeping our head high can be a choice one can only hope that this event reminds us of how fragile everything is around us how easily human error can have such drastic and dangerous consequences we only have one planet and we only have each other and so i hope that we’ll take care of both we’ll see you next week foreign [Music] you

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