CHERNOBYL: THE EXCLUSION ZONETel.: (+7 916) 992 76 93 mobile, Russia
(Photo project by YURIJ PLIUSHCHEV)
Scene: Republic of Belarus. The exclusion and resettlement zones abound the Chernobyl NPP. There is a unique Polesye State Radio ecological Reservation covering 216 000 hectares established here, being the only one in the world.
Period: This photo series was started in 2001. Later shootings will take place in different seasons of the year parallel with shootings of documentary film.
The fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant containing 192 tons of nuclear fuel blew up on April 26, 1986. 70 % of the radio nuclides released into the environment fell out on Belarus’ lands. This is a huge territory where a chain of life, a nexus between Man and Nature is torn. Only in 26 000 years this territory may be referred to as ‘conditionally clean’. Over the 16 years passed the radiation situation has not changed for the better, but as for some parameters it is aggravated year after year. Thus, for example, indices for strontium, cesium, americium etc, are on the increase.
People working in the Reservation say about themselves: ‘We are half stalkers, half kamikaze; we are guides to the Zone and ones sentenced to death...’. At many places radiation exceeds the norm by hundreds, thousands times, but scientists work here. Many have already died… Where there is no place for human life, it is a sheer paradise for the whole flora and fauna complex. Ernes, egrets and otters being unique for the Middle European Plain live and breed in the zone. Aurochses, relict animals, freely promenade in the Zone.
A unique experiment on the survival under radiation conditions is continuing in Belarus. Today it is perfectly clear that it is impossible to liquidate all the consequences of the Chernobyl accident. One can speak only about adaptation and accommodation of man and the entire biosphere to new post-Chernobyl conditions. Scientists from different countries are working in this direction.
A problem of radio nuclides spreading to cleaner territories is still topical. Animals that have outgrown the place migrate to clean lands. In the Zone wildfires and wind actively participate in the process. For the last years over 4000 houses have been buried, and 8000 more ones are to be buried. This work is for decades to come.
These photos (size 35to50 sm.) from the series “Chernobyl: The Exclusion Zone” (being made by author parallel with video shootings of documentary film with director Sergei Loukiantchikov about animal’s life in Chernobyl zone) is true-life story of what is now going in Belarus not long from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Amazingly fair landscapes shot in the Zone in different seasons create an inimitable atmosphere of nostalgia, a feeling of anxiety and loneliness. Perhaps, this deserted landscape is a model of the world’s future. If humankind does not eventually wake up, do not learn to live in harmony with nature.