Category: People

Exploring Chernobyl: 6 Must-see Locations of the Exclusion Zone

Exploring Chernobyl: 6 Must-see Locations of the Exclusion Zone

Chernobyl, a town nearby Kyiv is known infamously for the accident in the nearby nuclear power plant on 26 April 1986. Nowadays Chernobyl is visited by 60,000 tourists annually. Radiation from the accident remains around the site, making access severely restricted. A visit to the exclusion zone is a unique experience however, and offers an insight into the scientific, technological and humanitarian aspects of the disaster.

1. Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

The Chernobyl disaster was the worst nuclear catastrophe in history. Now the deserted station is surrounded by Zone of Exclusion 30 kilometres radius.

The fourth reactor was working for only 3 years, when it suddenly exploded at April, 26 in 1986. The explosion threw 8 tons of radioactive fuel into the atmosphere. The amount of radioactive substances thrown into the atmosphere was 400 times greater than the ejection from the Hiroshima bombing. The disaster was classified by level 7 – the highest one of the nuclear accidents scale. And it is the only accident in history with such a grade.

When visiting the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant today, visitors get to see a giant some 100 m high arch called the New Safe Confinement building, often referred to as the NSC. Its construction was a joint international effort, finished late 2018. Guided tours still stop at a monument about 200 m from the NSC, dedicated to the workers who sacrificed their health in the construction of the old protective Sarcophagus in 1986. Much in contrast with 1986, the radiation levels around the power plant are very low nowadays, and thus very safe to visit.

2. Pripyat ghost town

Abandoned town Pripyat is has become world renown after a fatal accident. Pripyat was the youngest town in the USSR and nowadays it beggars belief that life was once boiling here. New sixteen-story buildings were being built, a modern hospital complex was working daily, a new amusement park was about to open, and smiling children ran along the school corridors. In one tragic day, the life of the inhabitants of Pripyat was divided on before and after the Chernobyl disaster.

Pripyat is located only two kilometers from Chernobyl and took the biggest impact. To save people they were literally taken from the streets away from the place of the catastrophe without money and documents, children were taken from the kindergartens and schools not by their parents, but by rescuers. In this whole mess, often it took several days to find their loved ones, and then for years to restore their documents. Now the abandoned city of Pripyat looks like a shot from a horror film.

3. Pripyat Amusement park

The fun fair in the Pripyat is the place where you realize the whole scale of the catastrophe. Looking at prepared for children carousels, cars and boats where children never skated, you involuntarily feel frightened by the tragedy that has ruined thousands of innocent lives. The Ferris wheel was one of the main attractions and became a cult symbol of both the Pripyat city and the Chernobyl accident. According to an unofficial version, the Ferris wheel worked the next day after the accident…

4. Duga Radar unit

The over-the-horizon radar Duga or Chernobyl-2 object is the largest, most secret and grandiose object of the whole USSR.

Its roar, the rumbling of the torn fastenings is heard to up to now in windy, rainy weather. A top-secret radar was built for the early detection of enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles. Surprisingly, but the station itself was discovered only after it began to work, because the enormous dimensions of the over-the-horizon radar (OTH-SW) allow us to see it literally from outer space.

The construction consists of two antennas – the height of the low-frequency is 150 meters (half of the Eiffel Tower), the high-frequency one – 100 meters (the height of three nine-storey buildings placed on top of each other), the width of the structure is 730 meters which is equal to the length of ten football fields.

This radar unit was dubbed “Russian Woodpecker” for the distinctive sound of rapping in the air. 600 to 700 million dollars was spent on construction – twice as much as for the construction of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The construction was ahead of its time, but it became another post-apocalyptic landscape.

5. Monument to the Chernobyl Liquidators

The Monument to the Chernobyl Liquidators is dedicated to firefighters who took part in the liquidation of the consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster. The inscription “To Those Who Saved the World” implies all heroes who consciously sacrificed their lives for the sake of saving others.

The firefighters who contained the blaze had no idea of the real cause of it, so they weren’t properly protected from radiation. Most of them died from acute radiation syndrome in next few weeks. They were buried in zink coffins and their graves were concreted to avoid the spread of radiation from their corpses.

The monument is located near the Chernobyl Fire Station. It is installed on the means of the firemen themselves and is made of concrete, which was used to build the Sarcophagus.

6. Abandoned cargo port

The cargo port was built to provide all necessary supplements for the construction of new power units (5th and 6th reactors) and a modern city of nuclear power engineers. But because of the tragedy it could not fulfill its mission, as well as an amusement park.

Now these metal giants are abandoned and forgotten, and the floating crane slowly disappears under the water and soon only piles of scrap will remind of their existence.

How Ukrainian Flag Got into Space

How Ukrainian Flag Got into Space

The pictures of the Ukrainian flag on the Space Station recently circled the media, while the flag itself circled the Earth literally. Why the US astronaut Randolph Bresnik cared to take the blue-and-yellow canvas to the orbit? The story is quite interesting…

Mr. Bresnik told it during a teleconference with Kyiv, which took place last month. It turns out that he got the flag last year in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) where he was spending leisure time with his family. The point is that it is the home city of Mr. Bresnik’s adopted son. “And that’s why we went back there with the whole family, spent several days in Novomoskovsk, and then a few days in Kyiv. That’s where I got the flag. And that is why I took it with me,” said the astronaut. He also added that planned to bring the flag of Ukraine back from space to earth.

What is intriguing, this is not the first appearance of Ukrainian flag in the orbit. It’s already been there exactly 20 years ago — brought there by Leonid Kadenyuk. He went through the Soviet program of training cosmonauts, but flew into space as a representative of independent Ukraine, and on the American Shuttle. Back then, in 1997, the appearance of its own astronaut was another confirmation of the high international status of the country.

Hear and see more from the Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA telling about his work aboard of the International Space Station, Expedition 53 as told to Ukrainian students gathered at the America House in Kyiv, Ukraine on October, 25, 2017. The moderator of the meeting was Ambassador of the United States of America to Ukraine Mila Jovanovic.

Read about 15 Ukrainian inventions that changed the world.

Ukrainian Beauties: Dasha Khlystun

Ukrainian Beauties: Dasha Khlystun

Ukraine is famous as a land of the most beautiful women. You can see them everywhere here. But some of them got from the streets right to the highest world fashion podiums. Meet Dasha Khlystun, the new addition to the clock of famous Victoria’s Secret Angels!

This year the 22-year-old will join the 19 permanent ‘angelical’ models invited from around the world. She won’t appear in the nearest tour of the annual grand show in China — because she failed to get the Chinese visa along with a few Russian colleagues. But we’ll hope to see her on stage in other countries.

Dasha comes from a small town in the Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk) region. She is one of the supermodels who never dreamed about the podium but was accidentally noticed by an agent — this time not on a street but in the social media.

She started relatively late — after school, while most of the models begin much earlier today. For the sake of walking on the catwalk, Dasha dropped out at the Customs Academy. And she’s never regretted the choice. She says that she is in love with modeling, and does not see herself in another role. According to the beauty, if a guy forced her to choose between relationships and work, then her choice would not be in his favor.

Dasha confesses that she is unspeakably happy about her present career. She got her first foreign modeling experience in Japan. At the time she did not even speak English. But thanks to her dedication and hard work, Dasha managed to become one of the most promising Ukrainian models in just two years.

She walked on podiums for such big names as Kenzo, Valentino, Givenchy, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, Giambattista Valli, Nina Ricci, Chloe and others. In an ad campaign for La Perla she posed together with such supermodels as Sasha Pivovarova, Valeriya Kaufman and Naomi Campbell.

According to Dasha, in real life she would never wear clothes that she demonstrates on the podium. She likes more simple and convenient things. And we like her like this, too. But we can’t wait to see the Ukrainian beauty in all the shine of the Victoria’s Secret show!

Ukrainian Records: Trembita

Ukrainian Records: Trembita

Ukraine is a land of many record breaking phenomena. And one of them is trembita – a unique Carpathian wind instrument that is officially the longest in the world.

Don’t be confused when you come to the Carpathians – the name may belong to numerous things and institutions. Like Lviv-based guitar making factory ‘Trembita’. Or a few mountain hotels with the same name. The image of this instrument also decorates posters and logos of Hutsulshchyna, a picturesque region in the west of Ukraine. So, trembita may be everywhere here. But the real one is not that easy to find…

Where To Find It

The only sure chance is visiting a Hutsul or Boyko folk festival where guests are usually welcomed with trembita sounds. But it’s not the kind of a device you can find in more common place. Surely not on restaurant or other premises. Because trembitas are huge. And loud, too. So they are usually played outsides.

What is interesting, in the past this tube made of larch or spruce played a role of today’s telephone. When there was an important and urgent message to spread, trembita players climbed to the top of the nearest mountain, and performed special tunes. It sounds amazing, but trembita sound can reach as far as 10 kilometers. And that’s how messages were conveyed from mountain to mountain across all the region informing the locals about good and bad news, dangers and other events…

Trembita is also used by shepherds to gather sheep and dogs, and it is traditionally played at Christmas time. Another common use of the instrument is at funerals. But it’s never played on occasion of someone’s birth or wedding.

How To Make It

Today there are just a few masters making trembitas left in the Carpathians. And they usually do this not for the local shippers or amateurs, but mostly for professional musicians and concert bands. Creating a trembita is not that easy. It starts with choosing an appropriate wood, usually a tree that was struck by lightning. They say that the more it is damaged, the louder the trembita will be.

The tube that can reach 4 meters is made from a long straight piece of wood which is split in two in order to carve out the core. Trembita sounds louder when its walls are thin. Then the halves are once again joined together and wrapped in birch bark or osier rings. Before playing trembita’s hole must be filled with vodka or hot milk.

The trembita has no lateral openings and therefore gives the pure natural harmonic series of the open pipe. Its sound is unmistakable and unforgettable.

Trembita Today

Trembita is officially enlisted in The Guinness Book of Records as the longest instrument in the world. What is interesting the actual longest trembita (8,35 meters!) was made by a Polish folk musician Józef Chmiel located in Czech Republic.

Today trembita may be considered a symbol of not just the Carpathians but the whole Ukraine. In 200th it was shown on Eurovision Song Contest by the Ukrainian winner Ruslana during her performance of the song “Wild Dances”.

It is also used by recent popular Ukrainian band ONUKA.

Come to Ukraine and enjoy its uniqueness!

15 Ukrainian Inventions That Changed the World

15 Ukrainian Inventions That Changed the World

Ukraine is a land of inventors. Some of the names are well known worldwide (even though the world may not know that that are Ukrainians). Some will be new for you. Let’s go.

1. Helicopter

The inventor of the helicopter is the Kyiv aircraft designer, who emigrated to the USA, Igor Sikorsky. In 1931, he patented a design of a flying machine with two propellers – horizontal one on the roof and vertical one on the tail. In September 1939 the test of the helicopter VS-300 began first on a leash, and on May 13, 1940 the constructor first took his invention from the ground. The tests were successful, and Sikorsky obtained the first order from the American Army. Gradually, his small company turned into a powerful concern, annually producing hundreds of civilian and military helicopters. Even all US presidents have been using Sikorsky invention for more than half a century.

2. Compact Disc

The prototype of the future CD was invented by the post-graduate student of the Kyiv Institute of Cybernetics Viacheslav Petrov in the late 1960s. Back then the development was scientific in nature and had nothing to do with music. The first optical disc was created for a super computer of the time.

3. Bloodless Blood Test

Anatoliy Malikhin, a Ph.D. in medical sciences, had been studying the dependence between biochemical parameters and formula of blood. In the middle of 2000s the scientist created a unique device called “BioPromin” exploring more than 100 blood parameters at once. The analysis includes the rate of sedation of erythrocytes, total protein, lymphocytes etc. and takes only five minutes. Unfortunately, the device that costs around $20 thousand is not affordable for most of Ukrainian clinics. But “BioPromin” by the Kharkov scientist is used in China, the UAE, the Czech Republic, the USA and Belarus.

4. Life Saving Capsule

Volodymyr Taranenko developed a capsule that separates from an aircraft in a matter of seconds, which allows passengers to be saved. The system of operation of the capsule is quite simple – at first a small parachute pulls out a large parachute, and the later one pulls out the capsule. The whole process takes 2-3 seconds. Taranenko made a patent for his invention, and now he continues to improve the capsule and tries to introduce it into mass production.

5. Vaccines Against Plague and Cholera

Vladimir Havkin (Waldemar Haffkine) was the first in the history who created a vaccine against plague and cholera. He worked first in Odessa, and later in Paris. In France, he invented an anti-cholera vaccine. The tsarist government refused to use the invention of the political opponent of the Moscow Empire. When a number of European countries refused to apply his anti-cholera vaccine, Havkin moved to India where he created the first anti-plague vaccine. The scientist’s efforts were supported by the British government. While working on his inventions, Havkin conducted most of the tests on his own body. Later on in India, more than 4 million people were vaccinated. And the outstanding scientist was appointed chief bacteriologist of the country and director of the Bombay Anti-Plague Laboratory (later Haffkine Institute).

6. Liquid Scalpel

Scientists at the National Aviation University and the Aerospace Institute have introduced a development called the liquid scalpel. This tool allows removing malignant tumors without damaging the vascular system. The streaming technology has been successfully tested on animals. Now, at a minimum blood loss, a person can be operated with a convenient, reliable and reusable inkjet scalpel that has no analogues in the world.

7. Air Driven Eco Car

A resident of Kharkiv, 48-year-old Oleg Zbarsky, created a car working on compressed air. The car can speed up only to 40 km/h, but does not produce any harmful emissions. At the moment the eco-car car is quite cumbersome, but there are some prospects for upgrading and improvement.

8. Anti Hurricane Device

The unique device intended to protect the coasts from hurricanes was developed by the associate professor of the Faculty of Physics and Technology of the Rivne State University Victor Bernatsky. It captures the streams of a strong wind and reduces its power by countering the counterflow of air. The Ukrainian received the award of the European Scientific and Industrial Chamber for his invention.

9. Rocket

Native of Zhitomir Sergei Korolev is a designer of the Soviet rocket and space technology and the founder of astronautics. In 1931, he and his colleague Friedrich Zander made a public organization for the study of jet propulsion, which later became the State Research and Development Laboratory for the development of missile aircraft. In 1957, Korolev launched the first artificial satellite into Earth’s orbit.

10. X-ray

Ukrainian Ivan Puluiyev constructed a tube, which later became a prototype of modern X-ray machines 14 years before the German Wilhelm Röntgen. He analyzed the nature and mechanisms of the origin of the rays much deeper than Röntgen, and he also demonstrated their essence on the examples. Ivan Puluiy was the first in the world who made x-ray of the human skeleton.

11. Desalination of Sea Water

The technology of desalination of sea water for drinking was developed by Professor of the Odessa State Academy of Cold Leonard Smirnov. The water frozen in a special way turns into crystals, from the surface of which salts, harmful substances and heavy isotopes of hydrogen, which adversely affect the genes and human nervous system, may be removed.

12. First Kidney Transplant

Yuri Voronyi made the world’s first kidney transplant in 1933. He proved in clinical conditions that “the kidneys of fresh corpses are able to revive and function when transplanted to another person,” and that “dead organs transplanted to live bodies do not give any kind of specific intoxication or anaphylaxis.”

13. Kinescope

Joseph Timchenko is a man who, in cooperation with physicist Mykola Lyubimov, developed the “snail” jumping mechanism two years before the Brothers Lumiere. The principle of action was the basis for the creation of a kinescope. In 1893, two films made with the help of the first kinescope were shown in Odessa. Timchenko was ahead of the western inventors of cinema, but his device was not patented.

14. Postal Code

A unique system of marking letters was created in Kharkiv in 1932. Initially, it used numbers from 1 to 10, and later the format was changed to a number-letter-number. With the start of the Second World War, this indexing system was abolished, but later it continued to be used in many countries around the world.

15. Gas Lamp

The kerosene combustion lamp was created by the Lviv pharmacists Ignatius Lukasevich and Jan Zech in 1853. At the same time the lamp was invented and a new way of obtaining kerosene by distillation and oil purification.

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