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Ukraine: “The Ghosts of Chernobyl”/Destination Truth

Chernobyl and Eastern Europe writes about a Destination Truth episode about the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – “The Ghosts of Chernobyl” – which is scheduled to air on Wednesday, Sept. 30, on cable's SyFy channel.

  • chowderl

    Just watched that episode. it was super effing scary looking.

  • http://www.firesuite.com Graham

    Watched it too,

    total disappointment, leaves the viewer totally mis-informed on the area and completely over-plays the level of danger they were in which was extremely minimal. The editing was sloppy, and the girl who had her arm grabbed was totally staged and overplayed badly.

    But… still nice to see the area at night, the Ferris wheel looked particularly cool on a thermal imaging cam.

    • Steve

      I disagree, if you were in an environment that had an element of danger that you did not fully understand, you just may “overplay” it yourself. I think they were just sincerely scared of the radiation thing. true YOU may understand its danger level, but why would you expect everyone them to? How could you be so sure that the girls arm being grabbed was staged when it would be impossible to prove either way? I bet you’d run screaming like a school girl too if you felt that happen.

  • Jo

    Putting aside the arm-grabbing, this episode caused me to look more into the Chernobyl disaster, and no, the danger was NOT downplayed. The levels of radiation are still very high. You are required to suit up where they did. Going into buildings is exceptionally dangerous as the levels are higher there than out of doors.

    The land, if we are optimistic, will not be ready for inhabitants for another 300 years. Meanwhile, there are asylums and children’s hospitals full of children conceived since Chernobyl of parents affected by the radiation.

    I was horrified at my lack of understanding of this area. I was only 10 when this happened, but it does not excuse me being so misinformed. Try educating yourself. The danger is significant, and unless they rebuild the containment sarcophagus, it will be even more so. When this occurred, radiation from Chernobyl was detected in Sweden and Finland. You cannot tell me the danger was minimal.

    Try again.

  • http://www.firesuite.com Graham

    Jo,

    I appreciate your sentiments in your posting and I think its great that you have taken the time to research the accident and its effects for yourself. however let me clear up some thing as im not sure where you’re getting some of your information.

    Having spent almost week there myself I can assure you that the dangers were very much played up for American Television. I visited the zone in May this year for two days straight and the same the year before both times staying in the zone overnight for both my trips in Chernobyl city.

    You are NOT required to wear radiation suits while in Pripyat, the two times Ive been there we were both in jeans and a sweater and visited all the areas that the show did and some even more radioactive than where they went. We could even take our clothes home if we wanted to.

    Ive walked around the palace of culture, the hospital and the school that they visited myself with a dosimeter and I can tell you that they are very low level areas. Them telling the viewer that they had to be out of there in 10 hours played up. And the thyroid medicine they took while in the canteen is downright laughable at best.

    Ive spoken with Yuri Tatchkatev their guide before and I can assure you that they were not alone the whole evening they spent there. The Chernobylinterinform does not permit anyone to go into the zone without a guide with them at all times and certainly does not permit ANYONE to go into any area that would be hazardous to their heath. Yuri (for good reason) is very knowledgeable of the danger areas in both Pripyat and the zone as a whole.

    The suits I can also assure you were put on for effect, to put a suit on after you reach the center of the zone and after you have visited the outside of the reactor itself is redundant, as by this time you would have already been contaminated thus rendering the suit totally pointless

    The half-life of the main contaminant Cesium-133 is 700 years, plutonium which has also polluted the area has a half-life of 24,000 years, but is dropping in the soil at a rate of 1cm per year. so any estimates to as and when this area will be inhabitable right now and purely that.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the state of some of the children and adults who were there both born and unborn at the time is appalling, the Russian and Ukrainian governments both do the very minimum for these people and there are charities out there that help the kids more – http://www.focc.org.uk is one of them. The most effected areas where in fact in the country of Bellarussia which is north on the reactor and Pripyat.

    While im not saying it was a completely safe place to visit, what I am saying is that it is safe for a human to spend more than 10 hours in there as they were making out in the show to be the limit. My friend Maxim works for the administration and is in the zone two weeks on and two weeks off. There are also some areas in Kiev that have higher levels than Chernobyl.

    I think it best that people visit the link that Veronica is talking about above and read the follow up about the show to get someone elses opinion on what they aired last night.

    Graham
    http://www.firesuite.com

  • Felix

    Good comment Jo. If you scout around on the actual available data, you’ll realize that this place will not even begin to normailize within the next 60 years (200 years to even consider population going back in). I think if I was suited up in a Nuclear Biological suit and had limited vision to my left and right, and suddenly something that was not supposed to exist, pulled my arm – I’d probablyl run like a maniac. Also, lets analize this girl – she’s a frady cat! Every episode, she reacts this way. So the combination of the environment and her psych.behavior… sure thrill!

    No need to hype the acting when the town looks freaky as it is. Also, there’s rumor about how bad this nuclear melt-down really was, and the reported cases actually being much larger. We’re talking about the Soviet Union back then (naughty-naughty!).

  • http://www.chernobylee.com Mark

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m the person who wrote the original article Veronica referred to in her post.

    Like Graham, I have spent time in Chernobyl and Pripyat. Besides visiting the locations shown in the Destination Truth episode, I have also been inside the Reactor 4 control room at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant (Reactor 4 is the one that exploded). That’s right, I have been inside one of the safer areas inside the Sarcophagus.

    As Graham said, radiation suits are not necessary. I did not even have to use one inside the Chernobyl Plant. The only extra protection I had inside the Reactor 4 control room was plastic coverings for my shoes and a cloth respirator (we were provided clothing, which is the same as all workers at the plant, and provide no more protection than regular street clothes).

    I know people who spend up to two weeks straight in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, sometimes in areas with higher radiation levels than one can experience in the locations seen on Destination Truth.

    The amount of radiation exposure received during a typical one-day visit to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is the same anyone would get from a trans-Atlantic flight.

    You need to remember that the accident occurred 23 years ago and radiation levels have decreased over that time. In the first 10 years after the accident, very few people besides scientists and liquidators were allowed into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone due to high levels of radiation. The levels are still high today, but safe enough for short visits, which is why tourists are allowed into the Zone now.

    So yes, Chernobyl is not a safe place for long visits, but it is certainly not as dangerous as portrayed on Destination Truth. Unfortunately, they attempted to exploit people’s fears of radiation to gain a larger audience for the show. That’s really unfortunate, because the truthful situation in Chernobyl and Pripyat is amazing enough on its own. That alone can help build a larger audience without going through all the shenanigans we saw last night.

    As far as the girl’s overreaction to being grabbed, it reminded me of the fake reaction the African-American wrestler had on the live Ghost Hunters Halloween episode from 1 or 2 years ago. It was something that was completely unnecessary.

  • Joel

    This Josh guy needs to bone up on IR camera technology. It DOES NOT see through glass… DUH!!! It sees 2-5 micron or 8-12 micron. More than likely reflections, as we’ve see with Jason and Grant of TAPS. I have years of experence with this equipment and when I watched a few minutes of the playback, I just deleted it. Give me a break!!!

    • Joel

      Forgot to mention, that’s why the lenses of an IR camer are made of germanium… NOT GLASS!!!!

  • Pingback: Global Voices Online » Ukraine: More on ‘Destination Truth: The Ghosts of Chernobyl’

  • Katie

    I hate to admit it, but this episode fascinates me. It was the first episode I ever saw of this show and it’s the first time I’ve heard anything about Pripyat so I was interested in the history and sights of the town. I do believe a lot of what they said and “experienced” was a load of crock but let the money-hungry media stick to what they do best, pull the whool over our eyes and keep our tiny minds amused.

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