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Life In Chernobyl Today: Returning To Permanently Live In The Zone

Why do people decide to move to Pripyat?

Abandoned Building in Pripyat / Photo: Jorge Franganillo / Flickr

Everybody in the world remembers the day of April 26, 1986. This is the day when the worst radioactive catastrophe of all time took place – the Chernobyl disaster. Since that day the life of the world, its perception of the atomic industry and the influence of radioactive substances on the human body has never been the same. But now, more than 30 years later people little by little start to come back to the dead town of Pripyat, the more adventurous people come there to stay, the others come just to visit. It is still a very isolated area, but more and more information appears on the internet about the lifestyle of people living there and the way things are.

Pripyat was founded in 1973 and many people wanted to come and live in a new, modern city which had a huge working potential being situated so close to the huge atomic plant. Nearly 50 thousand people lived there according to the last registration in 1985, just half a year before the strategy. Now there are no statistics but according to the rumors, nearly 500 people live on the highly radioactive territory nowadays. And this number is constantly growing.

Why do people decide to move to Pripyat? The majority of the locals are old people originally from Pripyat. Some of them moved back in straight after the evacuation. They didn’t believe in radiation or they had nowhere to go. Now, 30 years later, they prove that what we were told about the influence of radiation over the human body was not necessarily true (or at least it didn’t work the same with everybody).

One of the locals, whose name was Rozalija Ivanonva came back to her native village Zalesje almost straight after the catastrophe. She lived here until the age of 87 and died only several years ago. Now tourists can come and see her house where the flowers are still blooming every year in her garden. The old lady died not because of the radiation but because of her old age. She used to like tourists coming to look at how she lived and always gave them some treats from her garden.

Although not everybody was brave enough to eat them or at least to take them home as every tourist getting into this zone gets a special gadget measuring the radiation and the radiation level in the village is definitely higher than it seems. Young people nowadays also start coming to the area. There reasons are the following: nowadays radiation is everywhere anyway, there is no TV or internet, there are no rules, there is no government and it’s a complete freedom. Back to the basics so to say.

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Besides that all of the products, besides being grown in a highly radioactive area, are completely natural! There are no supermarkets or mass producers. All of the vegetables, fruits or meat products come directly from the private owners, there are no pesticides, no E-substances, no modified ingredients. So for some people life in Pripiat seems even healthier than anywhere else in the world.

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As for the tourists who come there, the guides reassure their clients that the chosen route of the excursion doesn’t go through the radioactive zones and on average in a one-day tour people get as much radiation as they would get on a one-hour flight.

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At the same time, people who work there on the plant until today (policemen, scientists and people who check the radiation) are not allowed to stay in the area for longer than 14 days. And their statistics state that in one day a person gets the radiation level equivalent to that of one X-ray picture.

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Whether it’s true or not the fact stays the same. People somehow managed to survive in the exclusion zone for all these years and generally speaking all of them are happy with their lifestyle and health condition.

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The nature is definitely taking over. The facts show that the number of animals, even those kinds that were nearly extinct before the tragedy, is constantly growing every year. Tourists see them on the sides of the roads on their way to Pripyat, locals encounter them every day near their gardens and some of the scientists are fighting for the right to change the status of the zone from the Exclusion to Reserve.

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As a proof look at these photos that were taken by one of the foresters who installed night-vision cameras and managed to catch such animals as wild horses, raccoon dogs, black storks, lesser spotted eagles,cranes, lynxes, reindeers, mooses, wolves, wild boars and others. There are even bears that were not seen in this forest for over 100 years!

What do you think?

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