Chernobyl explorer offers rare insight into radioactive corridors of nuclear power plant

Arkadiusz Podniesiński, 48, has been documenting the effects of the disaster since 2008 and now has exclusive access to the interior of the sarcophagus that was built over the ruins of the damaged reactor 4

Nuclear symbols are everywhere in the facility (

Image: Mediadrumimages / Arkadiusz Podnie)

These fascinating images offer a rare glimpse into the radioactive corridors of the Chernobyl power plant – the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

An experiment designed to test the security of the Ukrainian facility went drastically wrong in April 1986 and officially killed 31 people.

However, some experts believe the effects of radiation emitted by the explosion could result in thousands more deaths from the tragedy.

The stunning images were captured by Polish photographer Arkadiusz Podniesiński, 48, during a two-day visit to the infamous site in March 2021.

Since 2008 he has been documenting the effects of the Chernobyl disaster, concentrating on the ongoing problems of radioactive contamination of the environment.

Do you have a story Send an email to [email protected]

The old sarcophagus
(

Image:

Mediadrumimages / Arkadiusz Podnie)

Arkadiusz was given exclusive access to the power plant, which included a rare tour of the facility’s sarcophagus, built over the ruins of damaged Reactor 4 to reduce radioactive contamination emitted after the disaster.

“When the Chernobyl disaster struck in 1986, I was 14 years old and a primary school student,” he said.

“From that time I remember the unusual excitement and terrible taste of Lugol’s iodine, which was supposed to protect my body from ingestion of radioactive isotopes of iodine.

The exterior of one of the administration buildings
(

Image:

Mediadrumimages / Arkadiusz Podnie)

“These events shaped my later interests and made me reflect on the consequences of such disasters.

“When I got the opportunity to visit the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone thirteen years ago, I immediately went to Kiev and then straight to the Exclusion Zone to see with my eyes how severe the disaster was.

“What I saw there changed my life forever and gave me the impetus to document the tragic effects of the disaster.

Operation of one of the control panels
(

Image:

Mediadrumimages / Arkadiusz Podnie)

“When I learned that I had been granted exclusive access to the power plant, especially a rare tour of the sarcophagus, I was very excited.

“I was very pleased to be one of the few photographers in the world who was able to visit this place.

“In the abandoned buildings you can easily find old photographs, books, magazines, rare posters with Lenin, communist symbols and propaganda slogans.

Nuclear waste storage barrels
(

Image:

Mediadrumimages / Arkadiusz Podnie)

“Most of them date from 1986-1990, the time when the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster were cleared up. They show employees standing in front of the newly built sarcophagus, taking the bus to work or living on floating barges.

“Pictures like these are extremely important historical documents, thanks to which we not only learn a lot about the liquidators and their work, but also about the everyday life they tried to lead in these difficult times.

“Over time, such photographs become even more valuable because they not only have words and images carved in stone, but also serve as a reminder of the catastrophe.

“To some, these objects may seem useless or meaningless; for others they are valuable artifacts that remind of the time when this system produced electricity. “

When the reactor exploded, a fire started that emitted radiation for 10 days and forced more than 100,000 people to be evacuated.

A 20-mile exclusion zone was then set up around the damaged reactor, which was later extended to other affected areas.

Stairs that lead to all levels of the ancient sarcophagus
(

Image:

Mediadrumimages / Arkadiusz Podnie)

The original evacuation from Chernobyl was only supposed to take three days, but it never ended so most of the belongings of the people left behind could not be recovered.

Arkadiusz, who also visited the site of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, said he was documenting the places so people don’t forget what happened.

He said: “I want to convey that despite the fact that nuclear disasters like Chernobyl 1986 and Fukushima 2011 are very rare and the likelihood of their occurrence is infinitely small, the political, economic and human costs if they do occur can be very high too high for society.

The fuel assemblies
(

Image:

Mediadrumimages / Arkadiusz Podnie)

“If you forget Chernobyl and Fukushima, it becomes more likely that a nuclear disaster could happen elsewhere.

“My goal is to help people fully understand the extent and gravity of the Chernobyl (and Fukushima) disaster and draw their own conclusions – without the influence of sensational media, reports from scientists creating illusions of correctness , from nuclear energy lobbyists or anti-nuclear activists – about the wisdom and future of nuclear energy. “

Sign up for our daily newsletter to stay up to date on all important information at www.mirror.co.uk/email .

.

Leave a Comment