Holding it all in: Containing radioactivity at Chernobyl

Chernobyl-4

Thirty-three years after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, work is still under way to contain radioactivity at the site

The Land Rover has driven north from Kiev for two hours, much of it on a quiet road punctuated only by the odd farmer on a horse and cart. The vehicle stops when it reaches a military checkpoint, and two men hop out to scan their cards before going through a barrier and returning to their car. 

As they drive on again, the surrounding meadows are soon surpassed by dense forest that rises up around the road, while occasional glades offer a peek deeper into the verdant wildscape. A family of miniature horses pause beside the road, their golden coats shining, then gallop off. 

The checkpoint ritual is repeated, and the navy car then flashes onward into the inner, 10km exclusion zone. Scores of abandoned cottages loom by the roadside, with many more stretching back into the woods, consumed by vegetation. There are no other cars or people around, only the two men in their Land Rover, and me. 

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