Chernobyl Journal

In November 2011 I made a tour of Chernobyl and Pripyat, Ukraine.

(Satellite View)


  1. Day -2 to Day 1 - From Chicago to Washington to Kiev to Chernobyl
  2. Day 1 Part 2 - The Boatyard and Reactor #6
  3. Day 2 Part 1 - The Children's Camp
  4. Day 2 Part 2 - The Research Facility
  5. Day 2 Part 3 - The Cooling Towers
  6. Day 2 Part 4 - The Vehicle Graveyard
  7. Day 2 Part 5 - The Train Yard
  8. Day 2 Part 6 - Pripyat Hospital
  9. Day 3 Part 1 - Downtown Pripyat
  10. Day 3 Part 2 - Downtown Pripyat
  11. Day 4 - Jupiter Plant


Image Gallery - Photos from Pripyat

Metering the claw near the Jupiter Plant - 400 millisieverts/hr (use my bandwidth)
There is a piece of earth-moving equipment in Pripyat that was apparently used to scoop up radioactive material and is badly contaminated. 30 years later, it's still quite radioactive. I cleverly didn't think to take my own photo of the claw itself, but videotaped the reaction of a portable rad-meter as I walked up to it.

(photo of claw by

Soundtrack for this page - I hate pages that automatically start to play noises when you open them. This is a recording I made in Pripyat, using a broken upright piano that I found in one of the abandoned apartments. It was recorded on my Canon 5D camera, by placing the camera on the sound-board and then plucking and hammering the piano's remaining strings

"Inside Chernobyl's Sarcophagus" is a more technical and detailed discussion of the experiences of the clean-up crews and later technicians as they tried to figure out where the reactor core's melted fuel went.


"The Battle of Chernobyl" - a 6-part series about the accident, including some amazing footage. Very worth watching. I'm not so sure about the claim that a nuclear explosion could have occurred; that seems a bit far-fetched - even given a large amount of uranium you have to work pretty hard to make it explode and the conditions in the damaged reactor were not right for causing fusion to happen (which is what it'd have to be to have a 1+megaton explosion). At one point the narrator says that there's plutonium in the reactor; that's simply incorrect. Plutonium is a byproduct in spent fuel and is only present in trace quantities. The segment ends with some anti-war anti-nuclear comments that are nearly propaganda.