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Published: December 13th 2014
We had a great tour of Chernobyl with Igor of SoloEast Travel.
We met him at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Kyiv at 8:30 am
Our group consisted of Kevin and me
and fellow tourist Pedro, a Brazilian/Italian student.
We drove about 2 hours to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
We passed 2 check points
the 30 kilometer Exclusion Zone and
the 10 kilometer Exclusion Zone
We had permission for both
Igor had come to the exclusion zone the day before
and filed all of our paperwork
so we were the first tour group in.
On the way, new missile silos were visible
as Ukraine reinforces its northern border -
rumors of the possibility of Russian forces
entering from the north (Russia-friendly Belarus)
Igor showed us reactor 4
and the new safe confinement structure
currently under construction.
It is the largest movable structure in the world.
Because of the radiation that still escapes
the confinement structure is being constructed
a short way from reactor 4 and
will slide over the reactor when completed.
(The radiation detector showed
that much radiation was still escaping,
but at safe levels for short term exposure)
7,000 people still work in the 30 km Exclusion Zone
-security, construction, and monitoring
We then went on to the eerie ghost town of Pripyat.
It was an early winter day and everything was so quiet.
A new dusting of snow covered everything.
It was oddly peaceful.
We walked through many parts of the city.
We were the only people at the carnival grounds.
The iconic Ferris wheel and bumper cars - silent
Igor says in summer this area looks like a fair
with a few hundred tourists milling around.
We walked through three schools
The library was the saddest place
drifts of books scattered on the floor
several feet deep in places
I noticed an English-language book
“The ABC Fun” published in Moscow 1981
words that begin with the letters of the alphabet
R - red is for apple, rose.
Gas masks in schools.
Students trained to use
instilled fear of the United States
Similar to our (U.S.) fear mongering
- students instructed to climb under desks
in case of Soviet attack.
The Soviet protection and fear
were probably more effective.
At the end of the tour we passed through
two contamination detectors
10 km and 30 km zone boundaries
No radiation detected so gate opens
letting us out.
Igor safely deposits us at the airport
where we meet our teacher group with our luggage.
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