All posts tagged: Chernobyl

Q&A: Alnis Stakle on his prize-winning series Heavy Waters

Stakle recently won the New East Photo Prize organised by Calvert 22 Foundation, with a series titled Heavy Waters. Shot in Crimea in 2011, the series shows towns and villages scattered along the coast on the Crimean Peninsula – an area that was at the time part of Ukraine, but which became part of Russia after the Ukraine-Russia crisis in 2014. To date, Crimea remains an internationally unrecognised part of Russia. Crimea was one of the most popular resorts of the Soviet Union but, says Stakle, “being on the crossroads of trade routes has always been risky”. “Since times immemorial, the Crimean Peninsula has been coveted by different countries, near and far,” he writes in his introduction to the series.


The People who Survived Chernobyl

From 1986 to 2000, more than 350,000 people were evacuated from the most contaminated areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. The disaster is considered to be the worst nuclear accident in history, with the effects still being felt today. Magnum photographer Paul Fusco has documented the terrible consequences of this disaster in his book Chernobyl Legacy. The story of Chernobyl is, in some respects, a tale of twin cities: Pripyat, the abandoned city purposefully built to house Chernobyl workers. And Slavutych, the city built after the disaster to replace Pripyat, and to provide a home for those that left. On a sunny morning in April, the test on Reactor Number 4 Plant went horribly wrong. It took 36 hours after before the Soviet authorities ordered the evacuation of Pripyat, just two miles from the plant. In under four hours, more than 49,000 people had left their homes, driven away to an unknown location by a fleet of 1,200 buses. The authorities told them they would be gone for two or three days. They were told to leave everything behind, to carry with them only their identity …


Chernobyl: 30 Years After the Disaster

At 1:23 am, on the morning of 26 April, in 1986, in the Ukranian town of Pripyat, an explosion tour through the sky. The explosion took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, under the jurisdiction of the Moscow authorities of the Soviet Union. The plant was derelict, and operators had botched what should have been a routine safety test. The reactor went into meltdown, they couldn’t contain it, and Chernobyl spewed radioactive particles high into the  atmosphere. The nuclear waste, with a half-life of hundreds of thousands of years, spread over much of the western USSR and Europe. Even sheep on the remote islands off Scotland were found infected with radiation from Chernobyl. Long-term effects on the local and global environment are still being investigated. Today, the Chernobyl Power Plant sits fenced inside a 30 kilometre Exclusion Zone. The reactor itself remains encased inside a 24-story concrete and steel sarcophagus, one erected in a few hours after the accident. Chernobyl is the subject of $2.2 billion clean-up. Workers, wearing protective suits and breathing respirators, can still only work one 15-minute shift …


BJP Staff