Category Quick Jump
Chernobyl, Pripyat and Slavutych Compared
Tonight’s task: Chernobyl, Pripyat, Slavutych and area before the accident, during and afterwards.
Chernobyl is a town, about 800 years old, about 14.5 km from the Chernobyl Disaster plant. The city of Pripyat was built along with the power plant, starting in 1970, to house the plant workers. Slavutych was built post disaster to house the evacuated people of Pripyat.
Pripyat, on the bank of a river of the same name, Pripyat, is closer to the Chernobyl plant than Chernobyl, while Slavutych, on the Dnieper River, is 45 km east of Chernobyl.
Chernobyl, at the time of the blast had 14,000 inhabitants; Pripyat, 50,000. Slavutych, as of 2005, had 25,000 inhabitants.
Chernobyl is in the Zone of Exclusion. Of the 400 people who refused to leave/went back to their homes, about ½ of them are from and/or in Chernobyl now. They mark their houses with signs stating “Owner of this house lives here.”
Pripyat was built in form of micro-districts, that radiated from the city’s centre. Builders also used illuminated signs, bright panels and decorative ceramics on building facades. The windows of all the city’s buildings were smashed after the disaster to keep pockets of radioactivity from collecting in the buildings. Today, the city has been badly vandalized, despite being bordered by guards and being within the Zone of Exclusion, because people left quickly, leaving all of their belongings behind. Roofs leak. In the spring, buildings are flooded and trees grow in many buildings.
To build Slavutych, 2 meters of uncontaminated soil was put down. Today, most people in Slavutych still work at the Chernobyl power plant or in associated industries within The Zone. Incidents of radiation-related illness are high. There is a railway from Slavutych to Chernobyl Power Plant that twice runs through Belarus. Compared to other Ukrainian cities, the architecture is modern and “pleasant” and the standard of living much higher, hence many people want to live in Slavutych, despite it’s problems. The city is divided into 8 districts that each have a unique character. About 80% of the apartments are 4 to 6 storey house-like structures, with the remaining 20% being 1 or 2 family homes.
Slavutych has a high birthrate and surprisingly low mortality. About 1/3 of the inhabitants are children.
The Zone is rural woodland, with wild boar, red and Roe deer, wolves, moose, beaver, wisent (buffalo) and Przewalski's horses. There are pockets of high radioactivity due to buried equipment used in cleaning up the disaster.
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