Report 5 from our epic trip to Chernobyl
A few sites near Pripyat, whilst still in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
After a long drive down a bumpy track, we spent a hot humid afternoon at the military radar & control station.
The history is interesting: The Duga was a Soviet Union over the horizon radar used an early warning of a nuclear missile attack from the west. A similar radar was built in eastern Siberia. It operated from 1976 to 1989, and was extremely powerful, over 10MW in some cases. The signal appeared without warning, sounding like a sharp repetitive tapping noise, which led it to be nicknamed the ‘Russian woodpecker’. The signal disrupted legitimate broadcast in the west & in the USSR. The signal became such a nuisance, that some amateur radios & televisions began including ‘woodpecker blankers’ in their design. The signal was a source of much speculation, giving rise to theories of Soviet mind control & weather experiments. I had seen photos of it, but seeing it up close is something else. The ominous large command station was a dark and often dangerous building, that had a control station and would have housed banks of computers over several stories. The damp inside offered a welcome relief from the bugs & humidity, but it did mean getting dripped on through insulation & filth.
The Kindergarten was an interesting place to explore. Childrens toys, chalk boards, cots & books hastily abandoned in the wake of the evacuation. Radiaton was low inside the building, but the vegetation outside harboured a few hot spots. Another thought provoking place.
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