Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nuclear Explosions – I am become Death

So heres my trip to Chernobyl in pictures.
The trip was booked with
Chernobyl Tour - Ecological Tour to Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
I just emailed info@tourkiev.com,
and got in touch with the guy who runs the whole place, Sergei. Really, really helpful guy who talked me through the whole process and answered numerous dumbass emails i sent him. You can book everything through them, from the flights (cost me about 500 euro) to hotel (160 euro for 2 nights), to a pickup at the airport and dropoff when leaving ($40 each).



First off we need to give props to our guide, Yuri. Yuri has worked in the zone for about 8 years now, i doubt theres many people who know the zone as well as he does.
The tour kicks off with him telling us about the zone, how polluted it still is (or isnt, in some areas)


Just outside Yuris headquarters is the monument to the firemen who died after the explosion. The monument was erected by the firemen themselves. After the explosion, firemen raced to the plant withihn 2 minutes of hearing the alarm, unknowingly exposing themselves to lethal doses of radiation.


We stop not far from the firemans memorial, at the remains of a tiny village.
The village was destroyed, and then buried under orders from the soviets for being too radiactive. The geiger counter here doesnt show much radiation, Yuri believes it was buried out of the soviets desire to cover up the accident more than anything else. Ironically, the name of the village translated to english is called 'diggers', kinda prophetic really.





Just across the road from the ex-village, Yuri points out a radar station just past the treeline. Its an abandoned military base that was used to detect incoming missiles, and for general spying on America. Aparrently, it shows up on old maps as 'pioneers camp'. We move on, closer to the plant now.



A mile or two down the road, and we get our first glimpse of the plant. Reactor 4 (left) is the one that blew up, the reactor on the right was under construction at the time, and was never finished. The geiger counter is beeping stronger here.



Its reading 0.139 Roentgens, and by the time we picked it up out of the grass, it had gone up to .2, and was climbing. Its still nowhere near being lethal, but put it this way, you wouldnt want to stretch out on the grass for the afternoon. The grass is deadly around here, the asphalt was fine however! It doesnt absorb radiation like the soil did.



Further down the road, and we get our first proper view of the reactor. Its a pretty awe (or fear) inspiring sight, and the people on the tour are getting alot quieter, and maybe a bit more nervous now. The only sound you can hear is the geiger counter beeping faster & faster. WE scramble back into the van and head off, directly to the plant.



This is just outside the plant. Everyone was wondering what in gods name this is supposed to be til Yuri told us...go on, guess what it is is. Got it yet?

Its a...

Its a......

Its a dove with an atom in its mouth! Yeah, we couldnt guess either.



This is a memorial to the first people to die from the explosion. Most of them died shortly afterwards, but 3rd right from the center (i think) was the first guy to die, whos body is still in the plant, under the sarcopagus somewhere.


Were directly in front of the sarcophagus now. The geiger counter is going mental. Its getting unnerving at this stage. Stand here for too long, and youll be going home with a healthy green glow. Some dumbass takes off his hat and puts it on the ground while he poses for a picture, Yuri almost kills him. 'DONT PUT STUFF ON THE GROUND!!!'. Dumbass.













We move on, now were at the Red Forest. 
So called because on the night of the accident, the whole 
forest glowed red. The forest was cut down, and buried 
under 6 meteres (or feet, im not sure) of earth. The only 
problem being, the trees they planted on top of them, 
are now dragging the radiation up through their roots, 
meaning radiation here is going UP instead of down. 
This is one of the most toxic places on earth.

And behind us is a roadsign that fills me with both excitement, and dread:



Pripyat.



Rush hour traffic on the road to Pripyat.



Were standing on the 'bridge of death' here. So called because 
on the day of the explosion, people gathered on this bridge to 
see the beautiful rainbow coloured flames of the burning 
graphite nuclear core, whose flames were higher than the 
smoke stack itself. They were all exposed to levels of over 500 roentgens, a fatal dose.



We drive on, and enter Pripyat town.



And here it is! The finest hotel in all of Pripyat. At least it was, back in 1986.
Were going right to the top of it, Yuri tells us. Fuck YES!!



Graffiti in pripyat is probably the most bone chilling graffiti ive ever seen.



Check in desk. business is a little slow, noones checked in in almost 23 years.



Someone forgot their newspaper.



I ducked away from the tour for a minute to check 
out some of the hotel rooms. One room still had its bed, and wardrobe, 
and someone left their slippers behind.



Almostat the top..



The view from the top of the hotel. 
Theres broken glass everywhere in Pripyat, 
not just cause of vandalism, but also down to 
the fact that all the windows had to be left open in the town,
to stop pockets of radiation collecting indoors.



Another view from the hotel roof. 
The building on the left is the palace of culture. Were heading there shortly.












On our way to the palace of culture now.
Its not advisable to sit on these chairs for too long, if you value having working balls.





Inside the palace of culture...where some mong stuck his head in my photo.



The sun shining through a hole in the roof makes 
an excellent spotlight, on a stage that hasnt seen a performance in almost 23 years.




We quite literally exit stage right, and head around the back 
of the palace of culture. Apartment blocks in Pripyat 
still bear all the signs of being a former soviet state, the hammer and sickle is everywhere.


All this stuff in behind the stage in the palace of culture. 
I think it was due to be used in the labour day parade that year, but it never came.





Yuri tells us were moving on to the amusement park,
i can literally feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.


Yuri puts the geiger counter down on a patch of moss in 
front of the amusement park, and it goes absolutely ballistic. 
I think it went up to a full 2 roentgens. 500 roentgens is fatal, 
200 would put you int he hospital for a long time, 2 isnt going to kill you, 
but you sure as hell dont want to go walking on this patch of moss,
put it that way. Youd beep so much going through decontamination 
theyd probably take you for a chemical shower.






The amusement park was setup for the kids 
for the may day parade (i think it was may day, i could be wrong tho). 
But for Pripyat, time stopped on April 26th, and may day never came.
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And then here it is, the infamous star of the show, 
the Pripyat eye. In Ukranian, its known as the 'devils wheel'.






From here, were moving on to the swimming pool.


Lenin puts in another appearance


Inside the sports centre.


Pripyat was a real jewel in the crown for the soviets. 
And seeing the swimming pool here its easy to see why, 
its not hard to imagine olympic athletes training here, 
for the 70's/80's, this place must've been the best around. The pool is HUGE.



Were moving on to the final part of the tour, 
and probably the part that brings home just what a tragedy this really was. 
Suddenly im feeling like i really shouldnt be enjoying this.
I feel like one of those rubberneckers who slows down 
at the scene of an accident to get a good gawp in. We're going back to school.


Walking under the archway into the schoolyard.
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The kids playground is barely visible through the trees 
that've grown up around it. I dont think the rest of the pictures need captions.





















Thanks for reading!
I have all these pics ina much higher resolution too.
if anyone wants one resized for a wallpaper or anything, just ask.


















duLin Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Operation Crossroads – BAKER
Test:Baker; Date:July 24 1946; Operation:Crossroads; Site:Bikini Atoll lagoon, Marshall Islands; Detonation:Underwater, depth – 90ft(27.5m); Yield:23kt; Type:Fission;
Second test in the Crossroads operation and the 5th nuclear explosion in the mankind’s history. Baker was the continuation of the study of the nuclear weapon effects on the naval vessels and personnel. The bomb has been encased in a watertight shell and placed beneath the landing ship LSM-60. LSM-60 itself has been placed approximately in the center of the target fleet which consisted of 71 vessels. Closest to the device was the aircraft Carrier USS Saratoga. To study the effects of the heat, blast and radiation numerous lab. animals, plants and even biological warfare agents were brought in and placed on the target ships.
Eight ships were sunk or capsized: USS Saratoga, USS Arkansas, the submarines USS Apogon and USS Pilotfish, the Nagato, LSM-60, the concrete dry dock ARDC-13, and the barge YO-160. Eight more vessels were severely damaged.
The explosion lifted several million tons of water in the air. In its apogee the water column was 2000ft(600m) high with walls 300ft(100m) thick. Obviously the explosion generated huge waves in the ocean. Aircraft carrier USS Saratoga’s stern was rising 43ft(13.5m)! above the surface, on the crest of the first wave.
The entire lagoon has been contaminated with radioactive particles. Matter of fact, for the first 24 hours after Baker detonation the radiation levels were lethal, and remained very dangerous for the next week. Nuclear explosion Photo: US Navy/Wikicommons
thIOf Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Operations Castle – ROMEO
Date:March 26, 1954; Operation:Castle; Site:Barge in the Bravo crater, Bikini atoll; Detonation:Barge Shot; Yield:11 Mgt; Type:Fission/Fusion; Originally Romeo test was the 6th in the Operation Castle schedule. However, extremely successful Bravo test changed the schedule, and Romeo has been moved to second position. The device used in the Romeo test, Runt I, was a larger version of the device used in Bravo test. It measured 224.9 inches in length, and had a diameter of 61.4 vs. 179.5×53.9 in Bravo device. The difference was in the fuel. Runt I used inexpensive, unenriched Lithium (7.5% Li6 isotope) deuteride. Original yield projection was 4 mgt, with the range of 1.5Mgt-7Mgt. As you can see no one was certain how this device would work. Mainly it was an experiment to see if the cheap thermonuclear fuel would work. After Bravo test the projected yield has been doubled, 8Mgt, and the maximum yield increased to 15 Mgt. The explosion yielded 11 Mgt. Hence, it was almost 3 times higher than the original prediction. Romeo was the first US nuclear test conducted on the barge. Considering that multi-megaton explosions were practically costing an island per explosion, there were no other choices. For the reference, the Romeo barge has been anchored in the Bravo crater. Nuclear explosion Photo: US Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration – Nevada Site Office
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Nuclear explosion: Operation Dominic: AZTEC
The AZTEC detonated 27. April 1962 on Christmas Island, It was a 410 kiloton Nuclear Bomb.
gExWp Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: RANGER
RANGER Operation – 1951 – Photograph of detonation; specific test not identified. Nuclear explosion Photo: National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office
QmJhw Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: TRINITY
Trinity was the code name of the first nuclear weapons test of an atomic bomb. This test was conducted by the United States Army on July 16, 1945, at a location about 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Socorro, New Mexico, at the White Sands Proving Ground, Trinity was a test of an implosion-design plutonium device. The weapon’s informal nickname was “The Gadget”. The Trinity detonation produced an explosive power equivalent to the explosion of about 20 kilotons of TNT. This date is usually considered to be the beginning of the Atomic Age. Nuclear explosion Photo: Wikicommons
dFtQQ Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Hydrogen Bomb explosion: Operation Castle: BRAVO
Castle Bravo was the code name given to the first U.S. test of a dry fuel thermonuclear hydrogen bomb device, detonated on March 1, 1954 at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, as the first test of Operation Castle. Castle Bravo was the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the United States, with a yield of 15 megatons. That yield, far exceeding the expected yield of 4 to 6 megatons, combined with other factors, led to the most significant accidental radiological contamination ever caused by the United States. Fallout from the detonation — intended to be a secret test — poisoned the islanders who had previously inhabited the atoll and returned there afterwards, as well as the crew of Daigo Fukuryū Maru (“Lucky Dragon No. 5″), a Japanese fishing boat, and created international concern about atmospheric thermonuclear testing. Hydrogen bomb Photo: Wikicommons
JEWfI Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Operation Dominic, CHAMA
Yield: 1.59 Megatons Location: Johnston Island. Date: 18.Oct.1962.
lnIVK Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Operation Buster: DOG
G8ezb Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Upshot Knothole – ANNIE
Operation Upshot-Knothole, ANNIE EVENT – a tower event conducted on 17 March 1953. Nuclear explosion Photo: Wikicommons
jT1KQ Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Licorne thermonuclear test in French Polynesia, Pic 1
Nuclear explosion Photo: Pierre J./French Army
57van Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Licorne thermonuclear test in French Polynesia, Pic 2
Nuclear explosion Photo: Pierre J./French Army
ZgqmB Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Licorne thermonuclear test in French Polynesia, Pic 4
Nuclear explosion Photo: Pierre J./French Army
O1ZS1 Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Operation Hardtack 1: OAK
Nuclear explosion Photo: Wikicommons
tboZH Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion Ivy: MIKE
Test: Mike; Date:October 31, 1952; Operation:Ivy; Site:Elugelab Island, Enwetak atoll; Detonation:Surface; Yield:10.400 Mgt; Type:Fission/Fusion;
The device called Sausage, detonated in the Mike test was the first true thermonuclear bomb ever tested. However, the Sausage was not a deliverable weapon. It was an enormous, complex device, 80 inches wide and 244 inches long. The entire assembly weighted 82 metric tons. The explosion yielded 10.4 Mgt. Mike’s fireball measured 3 miles. The cloud formed by Mike shot was immense. Stabilized, it reached 135 000 ft high, and stretched 60 miles in diameter, which eventually spread over 1000 miles. Mike destroyed the entire Elugelab island. The crater formed as a result of the explosion measured 6240ft(1.5Km) across and 164ft(53m) deep. Following the test, high levels of radiation covered most of the Enwetak atoll. This was 4th largest test ever conducted by US, (the largest at that time). For comparison, this is more then all allied bombs dropped during WW II together. Nuclear explosion Photo: National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office
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Nuclear explosion: UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE
GRABLE EVENT – Part of Operation Upshot-Knothole, was a 15-kiloton test fired from a 280-mm cannon on May 25, 1953 at the Nevada Proving Grounds Nuclear explosion Photo: National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office
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Nuclear explosion: GEORGE
Nuclear explosion Photo: Wikicommons
Fp0Z5 Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Operation Plumbbob – PRISCILLA
xkoQK Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear Bombs: Little Boy and Fat Man replicas
Nuclear explosion Photo: Atomic Archive
rxrAB Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion, Operation Hardtack, UMBRELLA
Test:Umbrella; Date:June 8 1958; Operation:Hardtack I; Site:Enewetak Lagoon; Detonation:Underwater, depth – 150ft; Yield:8kt; Type:Fission
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Nuclear explosion, Operation Redwing: SEMINOLE
Nuclear explosion Photo: Nuclear Weapons Archive
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Nuclear explosion, operation Dominic: YESO
Test:Yeso; Date:June 10 1962; Operation:Dominic; Site:20 Mi. S of Christmas Island; Detonation:B-52 Airdrop, altitude – 8,325ft; Yield:3.0mgt; Type:Fission/Fusion; Wikicommons
sccWy Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion, operation Dominic: YESO
G8ezb Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion, Operation Upshot-Knothole: ANNIE
Date : March 17, 1953 Operation : Upshot, Review : Annie, Location : Knothole, Nevada Test Site, Area 4, Load : 16 kt. Nuclear explosion Photo: Wikicommons
1UFau Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion Rhéa
Picture of an atmospheric nuclear test in French Polynesia, August 1971. The test took place on the 14th August, 1971, was a thermonuclear warhead codenamed Rhéa and yielded 1000 kt. It took place in Moruroa, and the picture was taken at about 60 km from ground zero. Nuclear explosion Photo: Pierre J.
5nLzJ Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bomb mushroom clouds over Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right), During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945 and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only active deployments of nuclear weapons in war to date. By executive order of President Harry S. Truman, the U.S. dropped the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed by the detonation of “Fat Man” over Nagasaki on August 9. Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki. Nuclear explosion Photo: Wikicommons
ZzJ6x Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE
Nevada Proving Ground – Complete destruction of House No. 1 located 3,500 feet from ground zero, by the March 17, 1953 atom blast at Yucca Flat. The time from the first to last picture was 21/3 seconds. The camera was completely enclosed in a 2-inch lead sheath as a protection against radiation. The only source of light was that from the bomb. Nuclear explosion Photo: National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office
I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.” Quote: Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer

Nuclear Explosions – “The effects could well be called unprecedented, magnificent, beautiful, stupendous and terrifying. No man-made phenomenon of such tremendous power had ever occurred before.” Quote: General Thomas Farrell.

Mushroom clouds forms as the center of the explosion is VERY HOT and hot air rises from the middle, pulling up the rest of the explosion (the smoke and debris) from the surrounding area. The middle rises faster because it’s hotter, so it becomes more of a mushroom shaped.

You can never look straight at a nuclear explosions for the same reason you can’t look at the sun. The the momentary flash of a nuke is MUCH brighter than the sun (for a tiny fraction of the second), which will overload your optic nerves. You don’t even have time to blink or turn your head.

We will end the intro with a quote from Dr. Kenneth Bainbridge, Director of Trinity Test: “Now we are all sons-of-bitches.”   
HnWFc Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Operation Buster: DOG
XjDqP Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Mushroom Cloud: Dominic: TRUCKEE
3uN8g Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: FIZEAU
BHeoe Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Licorne thermonuclear test in French Polynesia, Pic 3
Nuclear explosion Photo: Pierre J./French Army
hpkZn Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion: Operation Hardtack 1: OAK
Test:Oak; Date:June 28 1958; Operation:Hardtack I; Site:Enewetak Lagoon; Detonation:Barge, 8.6ft elevation from the surface; Yield:8.9mgt; Type:Fission/Fusion;
Oak was a test of prototype device for TX-46 system designed in Los Alamos. A 8.9 Mgt detonation. Oak became 6th largest nuclear detonation even conducted by US.
J2FKW Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion, Operation Castle: ROMEO
Romeo was the first US nuclear test conducted on the barge. Considering that multi-megaton explosions were practically costing an island per explosion, there were no other choices. Nuclear explosion Photo: zvis.com
FdP4S Nuclear Explosions   I am become Death
Nuclear explosion, Operation Hardtack, UMBRELLA
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Nuclear bomb: Trinity Site Obelisk
Looking at the Trinity Site obelisk, head-on. The black plaque on top reads:
Trinity Site Where The World’s First Nuclear Device Was Exploded On July 16, 1945
Erected 1965 White Sands Missile Range J Frederick Thorlin Major General U.S. Army Commanding
The gold plaque below it declares the site a National Historic Landmark, and reads:
Trinity Site has been designated a National Historical Landmark
This Site Possesses National Significance In Commemorating The History of the United States of America
1975 National Park Service United States Department of the Interior Nuclear bomb site obelisk Photo: Wikicommons

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