Irradiated.net

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And good ones at that! Irradiated.net is the home of Sleepytime, Pauses, Black Hole, as well as a couple more quality apps that have been created specifically for the Mac. If you're a Mac user you need to check those out. Just click here!

Sleepytime Pauses Black Hole


But why the radiation theme?

Simply because I am fascinated by the Chernobyl disaster and the resulting Zone of Alienation. To be honest it's hard to say exactly why. I'm somehow attracted to the eeriness of the gigantic ghost town that resulted from that unfortunate event.
The Prypiat Ferris Wheel The ferris wheel in the center of Prypiat.

The ferris wheel depicted in this photograph is located in the centre of Prypiat, Ukraine, near the Chernobyl NPP (Nuclear Power Plant). The city of Prypiat as well as a ~30km exclusion zone surrounding the Chernobyl NPP have been abandoned since 1986, making the city one of the biggest if not the biggest ghost town in the world. The city was one of the many victims of the biggest nuclear accident ever to happen in the history of mankind, the Chernobyl disaster.

The incident took place in 1986. Following a badly executed experiment, the 4th reactor of the Chernobyl NPP melted and produced a steam explosion that pulverized the entire structure surrounding the reactor.

The Chernobyl NPP after the explosion The Chernobyl NPP after the explosion.

Tons of radioactive debris and dust were dispersed in the atmosphere and then spread throughout a good part of Europe. There was from thirty to forty times more radioactive fallout following this incident than was produced by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs combined. Radioactive dust was dispersed all over the U.R.S.S., in the Eastern, Western and Northern parts of Europe, as well as in Eastern North America. Large areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were badly contaminated, resulting in the evacuation of more than 336,000 people. A large portion of the Chernobyl NPP personnel deceased in the two weeks that followed the explosion, after suffering major health trouble tied with the abnormally high radiation levels.

The contaminated zone in 1996 The contaminated zone in 1996. Not much has changed since then.

Right after the event, Ukraine's armed forces and authorities put security measures in place to contain the menace. Some people, called liquidators, were sent to remove extremely radioactive debris that were propelled on the roof of the power plant during the explosion. From the roof, each liquidator had only a single minute to throw as much radioactive debris as possible to ground level, including lots of large and extremely radioactive graphite blocs that came right from the core of the reactor. After their one-minute shoveling "shift" was over, the liquidators were evacuated by helicopter. They were never to come back to the NPP, else they would risk receiving a fatal dose of radiation, one much higher that what the human body is allowed to absorb during an entire lifetime. All robots sent to collect debris had their electronic boards fry and stopped working after a few minutes.

Some of the 600,000 liquidators sent to the Chernobyl NPP Some of the 600,000 liquidators sent to the Chernobyl NPP

Liquidators at the Chernobyl NPP in 1986.

Helicopters that flew too close to the invisible particles column over the reactor saw their personnel die almost instantly.

As soon as possible, the authorities began the construction of a huge structure that was meant to isolate the reactor from the atmosphere. This structure was named the Sarcophagus. The construction of the Sarcophagus required the continued efforts of thousands of people over a couple of months. Today the Sarcophagus is in very bad shape and each day the risk for the structure to collapse increases. In the eventuality where the Sarcophagus would collapse, it could disperse in the atmosphere some of the 200 tons of highly radioactive material contained within.

The Chernobyl NPP and the Sarcophagus that surrounds the reactor The Chernobyl NPP and the Sarcophagus that surrounds the reactor.

In a thirty square kilometres area around the Chernobyl NPP, almost no access is permitted. This area is called the Zone of alienation. Its perimeter is protected by the armed forces and for many years only researchers and employees of the power plant could enter. Today, the Zone is accessible to tourists, but only under the surveillance of trained guides.

The city of Prypiat, contained in the exclusion zone, is now a ghost town. Almost all valuable goods were pillaged and the buildings are in really bad shape, damaged by the radiation and destroyed by vandals and pillagers.

The ghost town of Prypiat The ghost town of Prypiat, overshadowed by the Chernobyl NPP.
Inside a building in Prypiat Inside a building in Prypiat.
Slowly sinking boats near Prypiat Slowly sinking boats near Prypiat.
Army helicopters were abandoned because they were subjected to too much radiation Army helicopters were abandoned because they were subjected to too much radiation.
Lots of vehicles were also abandoned on-site Lots of army and civilian vehicles were also abandoned on-site.

Conclusion: There is no conclusion

Chernobyl's radioactivity will take hundreds of thousands of years to neutralize. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant will stay a great danger for the whole planet until international authorities finish the construction of a new Sarcophagus, the New Safe Confinement.

Want more information?

Have a look at the excellent Prypiat - Ghost City Chronicles documentary. There are also many more good documentaries on the subject, as a simple search will show you.

There are some very nice works of fiction based on or inspired by the events that happened at Chernobyl, such as the acclaimed Stalker movie by Andrei Tarkovsky, the Roadside Picnic novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky on which Tarkovsky's movie is loosely based, as well as ambient audio CD's by Jakob Kirkegaard (4 Rooms), Robert Rich and Brian Lustmord (Stalker).

You could also try the great S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series of video games made by GSC Game World that feature an incredibly compelling and eerie atmosphere.