We went to Ukraine for one thing….to visit the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant.
The only way you can go on the tour is with a dodgy ex-military tour guide that has the 1000 mile stare, ice in his veins and the communicative skills of a tennis racket.
Even though we had to arrange the tour weeks in advance, with passports and visas. you can’t help but think that this is just some dime a dozen tour when you leave the meeting point (in a little van that seems like it wants to fall over).
However, when you get to the first control point and the icy tour guide tells you to hide your camera, and NEVER take pictures of (or talk to) the guards. He then disappears for 10 minutes, talking (not so officially) with one of the guards, behind a building. Eventually you stand in a line with passports held in front of your face, ignoring the steely gaze of the scarred soldier (whose only loving relationship…..ever….. is with the ak47 in his Lady Macbethian hands). You realize that this is indeed a proper tour. It is for real.
When you finally pass both control points, you are hit with the most unbelievable numbers:
1 = the legendary bear that rules the forests around Chernobyl.
2 = the number of times you have to pass through an exposure test before you can leave Chernobyl.
3 = the number of tourists that did not pass the exposure test in the last 5 years and had to be decontaminated.
3 minutes = the amount of time that a person can work within 200 meters of reactor 4.
4 = the number of tourists that had their clothes destroyed because of contamination.
4 years = the time you will spend in prison before judgement, if you take a weapon to Chernobyl.
5 hours = the maximum time a tourist can spend near Chernobyl.
8 hours = the time anyone can work around (outside 200 meters) Reactor4 every 24hours.
27 = the number of tourists that had to have their shoes destroyed because of walking on contaminated soil.
40kg = the weight of the radiation suit worn by the fire fighters when the meltdown occurred.
40tons = the amount of plutonium dust in reactor 4. If reactor for should implode, the dust would cause a disaster to the same degree as the meltdown. So workers have to go inside and fix the building see (3minutes)
50 seconds = the time a fire fighter could spend fighting fires in 1982.
50meters = the depth of the river that cools the towers
99 years = the time reactor 4’s core will still be active.
100kg = the average size of the wolves that live in the forests.
300 US Dollars = what you specially trained hunters get for killing a wolf.
500 = the amount of radiation caused by the meltdown of reactor 4, if the Hiroshima bomb in 1945 was 1.
1000 = how radioactive the soil is in the red forest, if a safe amount is 1.
2000 = the number of towns evacuated.
500 000 = amount of people, workers and rescue personnel that died.
23 000 tons = the weight of the sarcophagus being built to cover reactor 4. It is the heaviest movable object in the world.
100% = Fast Cars, Pretty Girls. Weird.