Cool towers

Chernobyl Reactors, UkraineOn a recent trip to the Ukraine there was an opportunity to visit Chernobyl and the area close to the nuclear reactors.

The first location was at some deserted cooling towers on the site of the never completed Chernobyl Reactor 5.

Cooling Towers, Chernobyl
Cooling Towers, Chernobyl
On arrival two great structures could be seen in the distance, with one an almost completed cooling tower and the other which was previously still under construction at the time of the accident.
Both had one thing in common though – they were both now abandoned due to the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

A walk up some railway tracks led to an area full of roaming friendly dogs and for some reason some abandoned computer equipment.

Cooling Towers, ChernobylCooling Towers, Chernobyl

Having never been anywhere near such a large cooling tower we had no idea how vast and daunting the structure was and didn’t know that we were actually going to venture inside it too!

In 1986 the concrete structures were being constructed ready for a new Reactor Number 5 at Chernobyl and 30 years later they still stand tall and proud regardless of what other dreadful events occurred at Reactor Number 4 next to them.

Cooling Towers, Chernobyl
Cooling Towers, Chernobyl

As we entered we were told that even though radiation levels were nowhere near life threatening levels now due to a vast clean up operation that has taken place over the last 30 years – we still needed to be extremely careful.

We were told that moss would still be one of the most radioactive things around so we had to avoid it on our visit.
I think this photo sums up what the concrete floor was like and how hard the moss was to avoid!

Cooling Towers, Chernobyl
Cooling Towers, Chernobyl

Once inside the vast concrete space there was well um a vast space. Totally silent and eerily vacant of anything.
There was no wildlife, insects or any ambient noise.

Cooling Towers, ChernobylThere were a lot of concrete pillars and beams which would’ve carried machinery and associated pipework but otherwise it was a complete concrete jungle.

One of the rogue dogs followed us in and sniffed about before deciding to leave us alone!

Cooling Towers, Chernobyl

Looking up and the sun shone through the giant hole in the top.

Whereas looking down and some street art popped out of one of the only flat spaces anywhere in the curved tower.

Cooling Towers, Chernobyl
Cooling Towers, Chernobyl
Painted by Australian artist, Guido van Helton, this was the first piece of artwork inside the Chernobyl plant since the world’s worst nuclear disaster struck in 1986.

It features a haunting mural of a doctor to mark the 30th anniversary of the nuclear disaster.

The mural was created from a photo of a doctor taken in the disaster zone by the late photojournalist Igor Kostin, who dedicated much of his career covering the disaster since the eighties.
Cooling Towers, Chernobyl

Cooling Towers, Chernobyl

View this post on Instagram

Photo by @byefilm at Chernobyl, Ukraine #artunitedus

A post shared by Guido van Helten (@guidovanhelten) on

The artist created the painting in 6 hours from a photograph and it was also filmed by a Ukrainian filmmaker during April 2016.

Cooling Towers, Chernobyl

It was a purely eerie place to visit and provoked such strong feelings in what awful events occurred here with a legacy that still affects large parts of the population for generations to come.

Cooling Towers, Chernobyl
Cooling Towers, Chernobyl

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