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Chernobyl and Pripyat - Research

Pripyat, a year before the disasterWhoa! This more detailed outline is totally going to work! I just started rereading yesterday’s post and left off in the middle with the thought “yah, yah, yah, I get it – where’s today’s work assignment?!” whereas the previous few days, I’d read the day’s previous work and often, a couple days back’s work also. Woot!

Ok, Chernobyl:

* I am going to include the little bit I started about Chernobyl is today’s post because it’s such a tiny amount that it’s better to bring it forward:


Before the accident:
  • Chernobyl was an existing town of 14,000, 14.5 km northwest of where the power plant was built; however a new city, Prypiat, or Pripyat, was built closer to house the workers. This new city had 50,000 residents at the time of the blast.
  • Both cities are in the northern Ukraine, near the border with Belarus and about 100 km from Kiev.
  • Chernobyl first appears in records in 1193, as a hunting lodge.
  • Pripyat was founded in 1970, on the right bank of river of same name, Pripyat.
  • originally, plant was supposed to be only 25km from Kiev, but Ukraine Academy of Sciences and other groups protested
  • Both cities were evacuated in 1986
  • Chernobyl is named after the Ukrainian word for “mugwort”, “chornobyl”.
  • “Chornobyl” “is a combination of chornyi (чорний, black) and byllia (билля, grass blades or stalks), hence it literally means black grass or black stalks.”
  • “Chornobyl” is sometimes erroneously thought to mean “wormwood”, probably due to a NY Times article on Chernobyl, in 1986.
  • Chernobyl has a “rich religious history” but a lot of fighting over and around it. In 18th C, was major center of Hasidic Judaism, but by end of WW II, most Jews killed.
  • 1929-33, mass killings by Stalin’s collectivization campaign and ensuing famine
    • 1936, Polish community deported to Kazakhstan
  • Pripyat was not a “closed city” as many USSR cities with sensitive military, scientific or industrial facilities were.
  • before Chernobyl, nuclear power plants were seen as safer than other types of power plants, by Soviet Union
  • pride in their engineering
  • the slogan “peaceful atom” was popular in Soviet Union at this time
  • 1st Ukrainian atomic town
  • The choice of location for the city was optimal, due to the existence of a nearby railway station, a highway, and of course, the river.
  • Built in form of micro-districts, that radiated from the city’s centre
  • builders successfully used illuminated signs, bright panels and decorative ceramics on building facades

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