British cinematographer Danny Cooke has found a low-risk way to visit the nuclear disaster site at Chernobyl — drones. He used his drone footage to make a video called “Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl,” featured above.
Chernobyl was the site of the worst nuclear accident in history, although Fukushima is a close competitor. In 1986, there was a sudden power surge in reactor four of the Chernobyl plant. The operators tried to initiate an emergency shutdown, but a rupture occurred, sending an enormous amount of radioactive particles into the air.
Thirty-one people lost their lives and the town of Pripyat, where 50,000 Chernobyl workers once lived, had to be abandoned.
Now it’s 26 years later, the Soviet Union is gone, and the site has become a fascination for scientists and adventure-seeking tourists. Nature has reclaimed much of the town, turning it into what looks like a post-apocalyptic landscape.
With the necessary documents, visitors can enter the guarded area, but to really get a feel for the town, a drone can really help.
Danny Cooke made a musical sequence of the most desolate and eerie locations in the empty Soviet city. He described a bit of the adventure on YouTube.
“During my stay, I met so many amazing people, one of whom was my guide Yevgen, also known as a ‘Stalker.’ We spent the week together exploring Chernobyl and the nearby abandoned city of Pripyat. There was something serene, yet highly disturbing about this place. Time has stood still and there are memories of past happenings floating around us.”
Cooke wasn’t there just to fly a drone over a 28-year-old nuclear disaster site. He was there working on a story for CBS News. The story reveals that the ferris wheel featured in the drone video never had rider, because that amusement park never got the opportunity to officially open.
The town may be safe enough for humans and drones to visit, but the Chernobyl reactor still contains enough radioactive material to kill. According to CBS News, the Ukrainians are working to build a permanent structure to seal off the accident forever. The one currently in place was never meant to be a long-term solution.
The project has been plagued by difficulties,the biggest of which is a lack of money. The project budget is about $770 million short, and the Ukraine has priorities elsewhere, like the insurrection in the east.
Still, even if the they’re successful, many parts of Chernobyl will never fully recover. It will forever remain an eerie tourist attraction and great drone flying area.
[Image Credit: Kadams1970/Wikimedia Commons]