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Earthdate 2004-04-01

Chernobyl: a Motorcycle Tour

Bumper-card ride at an amusement park.  "It is last day of Pompei sort of place.  Every step towards little cars add 100 microroengen on my dosimeter."

A motorcyclist named Elena, her 147-horsepower Kawasaki “Ninja,” and scientist's access pass provide us with a troubling and unparalleled tour of the ruined landscape about the city of Chernobyl in the Ukraine, with its doomed nuclear power plant which, in 1986, devastated the area with radiation, destroying surrounding cities and towns as living communities and leaving the whole region uninhabitable for, it's claimed, six hundred years.  Elena's pictorial diary of her visit is eerily reminiscent of films like The Omega Man and post-apocalypse science fiction wherein one navigates through a radioactive landscape as one would through a minefield, armed like a lifeline with geiger counter and dosimeter.  The heavily radioactive “magic woods” that Elena regards — from a distance — are horrifying.  Much of the rest has the melancholy of a latter day Pompeii.  Don't miss it.  (Thanks to Armed Liberal at Winds of Change.)
 

UPDATE:  2004-04-18 16:15 UT:  Joel at the fascinating Asia-Pacific oriented Far Outliers blog has linked to this piece, noting that “Impearls, a blog with footnotes and appendixes, reminds me to link to a photo essay….”

UPDATE:  2004-05-04 23:40 UT:  Corrected photograph and article links, which changed.



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