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Inside the abandoned city of Pripyat, 30 years after Chernobyl – in pictures

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Pripyat is an abandoned city in northern Ukraine, near the border with Belarus. The ghost town was named after the nearby Pripyat River. The city was evacuated after the explosion of the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

The town was founded on 4 February 1970 as a nuclear city in the Soviet Union. It housed employees of the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.Pripyat was officially proclaimed a city in 1979. The town had a population of 49.360 in 1985.

The average age in Pripyat was about 26-years-old. It had 15 kindergartens and elementary schools for 4.980 children, and 5 secondary schools for 6.786 students. There were 25 stores and malls; 27 cafes, cafeterias, and restaurants that collectively could serve up to 5.535 customers simultaneously. Also 10 warehouses that could hold 4.430 tons of goods.

The 26 April 1986 Chernobyl disaster was the worst nuclear power plant accident in history.  Pripyat was not immediately evacuated. The townspeople, in the early hours of the morning, at 01:23 local time, went about their usual business, completely oblivious to what had just happened. However, within a few hours of the explosion, dozens of people fell ill. Later, they reported severe headaches and metallic tastes in their mouths, along with uncontrollable fits of coughing and vomiting. As the plant was run by authorities in Moscow, the government of Ukraine did not receive prompt information on the accident. By 11:00 on 27 April, buses had arrived in Pripyat to start the evacuation. To expedite the evacuation, residents were told to bring only what was necessary, and that they would remain evacuated for approximately three days. As a result, most personal belongings were left behind, and remain there today.

Slavutych

From 1986 until 1988 the city of Slavutych was constructed to replace Pripyat. It was purposely built for the evacuated personnel of the Power Plant. Today, this is the second-largest city for accommodating power plant workers and scientists in the Russian Commonwealth.

Although Pripyat is located within the administrative district of Ivankiv Raion, the abandoned municipality now is part of the larger Kiev province and is administered directly from Kiev. Pripyat is also supervised by Ukraine’s Ministry of Emergencies, which manages activities for the entire Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. I visited the exclusion zone in 2014 and 2015.

Pripyat
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Pripyat
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Pripyat
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Pripyat
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Pripyat
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