On Wednesday 12 February 2020, our Society Chairman, David Bray, gave a presentation on his visit last year to the deserted city Pripyat in Ukraine and to the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant that was the site of possibly the worst nuclear power disaster in history.
Problems at the power plant began on Saturday 26 April 1986 when No.4 reactor caught fire eventually spreading radioactive fallout across Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and much of Europe. The city of Pripyat had to be completely evacuated along with all inhabitants within an eventual exclusion zone extending to a radius of 30km.
David gave us a fascinating account of the circumstances leading to the accident and details of its aftermath. He also recounted his own visit to the area with amazing photographs of the abandoned city showing how it is gradually being reclaimed by nature. His photographs included the iconic Ferris Wheel, poignant images of children’s toys and clothing in an abandoned nursery and a telling image of gas masks presumably left behind by the so-called Liquidators who risked all, and in many cases gave their lives, to clean up the area.
We all enjoyed a superb presentation by David who even ate lunch in the canteen of the stricken power plant; we hope with no lasting ill effects! On this score David assured us that the visit resulted in a very small radiation dose. However, I note that it didn’t stop him throwing away a new pair of boots immediately after his visit!
Eric Tatham (Committee Member)