Slavutych: The City Built After the Chernobyl Disaster
Mon, April 19, 2021

Slavutych: The City Built After the Chernobyl Disaster

 

When the Chernobyl nuclear power plant’s reactor exploded in 1986, it immediately killed two of the reactor operating staff. At least 42 people died in the days to months following the explosion as a result of radiation exposure. Reports showed that it took nearly 36 hours for the then-Soviet Union to evacuate the residents near the power plant due to miscommunication. Many brave workers chose to stay to fight the fires that resulted and even assisted in cleaning-up the region. They became known as the “Suicide Squad.”

“They had workers going in there every day without respirators, and the lighting was almost non-existent,” said Laurin Dodd, a US citizen working to support the new “sarcophagus” structure over the reactor’s remains. 

 

 

Credit: All That's Interesting

 

Worse, the Chernobyl explosion made Pripyat, a part of what is now Ukraine, uninhabitable to people for almost 20,000 years. Previous studies have shown decades-long coverage of the cancers, radiation poisoning, and other health issues caused by nuclear exposure. A 2005 UN study revealed that the greatest challenge of Chernobyl has been the impact of the disaster on the 600,000 people living in the area. This is why Slavutych was built, to house the survivors of the blast.

 

 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they saw on the news or read in history books, Slavutych was designed as the ideal Soviet town. Most parts of the city were inspired from other cities and countries. For instance, a Tbilisky quarter boasts traditional Georgian crosses on balconies while a Yerevansky quarter’s architecture was inspired by Armenia’s pink houses.

“In a land filled with charmless settlements, Slavutych could almost have passed for the West,” American writer Matthew Brzezinski said. 

 

 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Slavutych is an ideal city for many people. Kids are seen playing in playgrounds and go to excellent schools. During the 1990s, it was considered the richest in Ukraine. However, the final retiring of Chernobyl in 2000 caused many people to lose their jobs. Since then, the town has been suffering from multiple issues, including the abuse of drugs and alcohol. But positivity still reigns in Slavutych. “We will be the city of energy. Not just nuclear energy,” Mayor Yuri Fomichev said.

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