In the early morning hours of April 26, 1986 the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, located near the city of Pripyat, experienced a meltdown. At the time, Chernobyl was the worst nuclear disaster in history. It”s only recently been matched by the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan. The resulting meltdown in Chernobyl claimed at least 31 lives and irradiated thousands of people living in the vicinity.
Today there”s a vast exclusion zone around the former power plant. The zone extends 19 miles in all directions and is mostly devoid of human life. However, while the radiation levels around the the plant aren”t safe for long term living, there are people who lead tourists through the irradiated ruins. It”s a pretty surreal experience.
Back in 2010, Redditor tomeczak and his friends visited Chernobyl and the surrounding area. The photos they took are haunting.
A view of the former power plant from the road.
The plant from another angle. The Ukrainian government, in cooperation with international agencies, monitors and maintains the site of the former power plant.
It”s estimated that the area won”t be habitable for at least another 20,000 years.
Entering the outlying city of Pripyat, you”re greeted by one of its many former hotels.
The Soviet Hammer and Sickle still adorns many buildings.
This Soviet-style apartment building is slowly being reclaimed by nature, like much of Pripyat.
Here”s one of the abandoned apartments.
Nature always finds a way. There was a tree growing out of a kitchen floor on the sixth story.
Pripyat was one of the jewels of the Soviet Union. Authorities tried to make it into a model city for others in the region to emulate.
Remnants of the city”s cultural center.
Approximately 50,000 people lived in Pripyat at the time of the meltdown.
The unfaltering gaze of Lenin.
On the outskirts of the city are the remains of an old amusement park that was scheduled to open a few days after the meltdown.
Instead, the concrete areas of the amusement park became landing zones for evacuation helicopters.
Everything in this area is highly irradiated.
Pripyat also had its own soccer stadium.
One of Pripyat”s schools even boasted an Olympic-size swimming pool.
This is a box of gas masks found inside the school. From the looks of it, the box was quickly opened while rushing to get the children out.
Up close and personal with the power plant itself.
A monument commemorating the 1986 disaster and those who lost their lives in the tragedy.
Eerie. So eerie. A city that used to be home to 50,000 people is now completely empty. Every apartment, every school, everything. It”s all empty and irradiated. Let”s take a short moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in this disaster and those whose lives were changed by it forever.