martedì 26 aprile 2016

Chernobyl 30 years after the nuclear disater An italian photographer on the site

"I believe that the Chernobyl disaster should be seen as the main cause of the fall of the Soviet Union." Tony Graffio

Paolo A. Restelli, author of the photo reportage I'm going to introduce you, went to visit the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after 30 years by the leakage of the radioactive cloud, because this is the half-life of the radioactive isotope derived as a byproduct of  uranium nuclear fission that powered the nuclear reactor of the central Lenin.
It's particularly significant to analyze what is happening in these days in Ukraine, which has run the country that became independent from the former Soviet Union in 1990 and has bad relations with Russia. The entire continent is very worried, considering the fact that it is essential that there is always an effective dialogue between Europe, Ukraine and Russia in order to carry out the appropriate checks and to realize the  necessary maintenance work for a containment structure of the radiations.
Photographing with little time available in a unknown risky place, in hardly favorable conditions it is not easy, despite this, Restelli did a great job.

Pripyat kindergarten 

A very sad picture that makes us understand how was the life before the disaster and makes us reflect on how many innocent children could not grow up and live a normal peaceful life for the madness of the adults.

Inside of Pripyat hospital, surgery room.

This is one of the most dangerous places in the city of Pripyat.
Here the first liquidators were hospitalized. The clothes of the liquidators were stored in the basement that has become so one of the most radioactive areas in the world, where you measure 400 microsieverts.

Chernobyl area map

Pripyat ferris wheel

Pripyat ferris wheel had to be inaugurated on May 1st, 1986 but of course, no one has been able to use it and then the amusement park takes on a sinister meaning seen to our days. How the Soviets could imagine to bring their children to play close to a nuclear power plant?

Springtime in Chernobyl

Paolo Angelo Restelli took these pictures on april the 13th and 14th 2016.

A flat in Pripyat. A sofa in an interior  

Despite the danger, many displaced people have returned illegally in their homes to regain possession of their property and their furnishings. Later other people have come to Pripyat to remove the heaters from the palaces and other metals, in order to resell them. These people have been detained by security forces. Other individuals have stolen abandoned cars, but they have not had occasion to use them for a few kilometers, as these thieves were found dead inside the cars, just outside the exclusion zone. The cars were radioactive in the order of 60 Sievert.

Overview of Pripyat seen from the terrace of a building of 16 floors that Paul A. Restelli reached on foot.

Abandoned gas masks in the school of Pripyat

At the time of the Cold War in the Soviet Union everybody had to have a gas mask to defend himself/herself from a nuclear attack (although in this case  it would be useless). The school of Pripyat was attended by about 2,000 / 2,500 pupils.

Radiation dosage chart

I want you for the Soviet Red Army!

An old Soviet image that asks to the young people to join the Red Army of the USSR. It is the Soviet equivalent of the American Uncle Sam saying: "I want you!".

Another radiation dose chart

Zalissya. Rosalia Ivanovna's house

Zalissya is a dead village which is no longer in the maps. In this house, in december 2015, died the elderly former teacher at the age of 84.

The village of the Duga was called Chernobyl 2 and did not appear on any map. The Russians have always maintained that those iron pylons that make up the radar scanner, which being built 400 meters long and 170 high, at more than km 10 away furthermore are clearly visible, were the frame of a roller coaster of an entertainment park for children. To get there there was a straight long way of km 8. Within the Duga radar station there were buildings, shops, offices and all that was to outline the life of the soldiers and their families who lived there. It is not known precisely how many people inhabited that village because that is something that has always been kept secret. The Duga was a radar they called "the Russian Woodpecker" because it only emitted signals that resembled the beating of the bird against the trunk of the trees.

Objets found in the Pripyat Hospital

Pripyat, the signs that should have been used for the celebration of May 1st, 1986

Hotel Pollica, Pripyat. This was the best Hotel of the Chernobyl Area.

The nuclear plant of Chernobyl shot from the 16th floor of a building in Pripyat.

Nikolai Fomin, 32 y.o. He is a namesake of the engineer of the head of the Chernobyl plant at the time of the disaster.

Nikolai Fomin, the guide approved by the military who accompanied Paul A. Restelli and its group of visitors during the two days in Chernobyl. In the background the Nuclear Lenin and the protective shield built by Novarka.

The harbour of Chernobyl, in the nearby slept the liquidators, or biorobots.

Chernobyl, the statue of the liquidators

The liquidators were those "volunteers" who first shoveled radioactive graphite leaking from the reactor core of the nuclear power plant. The plate shows the phrase: "To the heroes who saved the world." The liquidators had only three minutes available to them, because of the high levels of radiation, they had been fitted with a cape of 3 mm thick lead protection which weighed about kg 40. They had about 60 seconds to climb 10 floors of stairs, get on place for shoveling the material to be eliminated in 60 seconds and then going back, always in a minute. A mission impossible.

Paolo A. Restelli self-portrait in Chernobyl

All the pictures were shot by Paolo A. Restelli
All the rights reserved