• Henrik Haupt

Chernobyl disaster 30 years after

Updated: May 10

Chernobyl monument

What happened at the Chernobyl disaster?

On the night of April 26, 1986, a large explosion occurred in reactor four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant when a routine test of the systems failed.

The explosion was so powerful that the roof of reactor four was completely blown off and a radioactive cloud of smoke rose from the reactor. Radiation could the following time be measured all the way up in northern Sweden.

Chernobyl power plant exterior

The exact death toll from the Chernobyl disaster is hard to find, and there are many bids for it if you search. I will not come here with any bid or guesses, but after the disaster, up to 70,000 people were evacuated from the area, and a safety radius of 30 km was introduced.

The place is today largely uninhabited and will be for many years into the future. However, people are living within the safety zone, and the plant is still being worked on.

Lunch at the Chernobyl power plant

Chernobyl today

I had been thinking for a long time, what does Chernobyl look like today?

Luckily, it was easy to find some like-minded travel companions through some photographer groups on Facebook. When all details of the trip were agreed upon on the phone, I packed my camera and travelled to Ukraine.

After just a few hours drive from Kyiv, we stood in front of the fence surrounding the whole area.

The entire fenced zone is under military guard, and therefore documents and permits must be in place.

We were equipped with a dosimeter that could measure the radiation we were exposed to, and we received the necessary information about our two-day stay in the zone.

I had no idea what to expect from my stay, and I must admit that I was surprised that I could not smell, see or hear the dangers in the area. Being equipped with a dosimeter is vital to prevent you from staying too long in most polluted places.

Our guide carefully planned our trip, and it included, among other things, accommodation at one of the hotels inside the exclusion zone and lunch with the workers at the power plant.

Overview of abandoned town of Chernobyl
Chernobyl main square
Swimming pool in Chernobyl
Chernobyl culture house
Gym hall in Chernobyl culture house

It was fascinating to experience Chernobyl, as today it is a huge area that nature is slowly taking back. According to some experts, the area can only be inhabited in many hundreds of years.

I'm working a trip back, and this time I'm working on getting right into the heart of the Chernobyl disaster. Due to Corona, the trip was cancelled in 2020, and right now, I am working on it being in 2022.

Lunarpark in Chernobyl
Bumpercars in Lunar park in Chernobyl
Waiting room in hospital in Chernobyl
Chernobyl hospital children beds
Chernobyl hospital
Train in Chernobyl

A place that, in a completely different way, was a fascinating experience is this abandoned clothing factory I visited in Italy. A time capsule of the very special, see the pictures here: Knitting Factory