Slavutych - Refuge Created for Chernobyl Disaster Survivors
The town of Slavutych, is a town of survivors. It was constructed in the year 1986 and residents started to increase from 1988. Slavutych is located in the Kyiv Oblast and is only 50 kilometers away from the structure that instigated its foundation, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The power plant was located in a town named Prypiat and even though this town had approximately 50 000 inhabitants in its day, Slavutych only has an estimated 25 000 residents.
Prypiat had to be abandoned after the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster, as the radioactive isotope that was released will remain life threatening for the next 300 years. Residents were evacuated from the town with only a few personal belongings, and were forced to leave most of their items behind. The ghost town was left in peace for many years, with coffee cups still standing on the tables, clothes still hanging on the lines and bicycles waiting for their owners to return. But as some areas have been cleared to walk in, vagrants and criminals have looted the buildings of these items. Some buildings are not deemed safe to enter anymore, and some have collapsed due to lack of maintenance. There are tour companies that take visitors into the streets of Prypiat, and visitors are given gas masks, a Geiger counter and a hazmat suit when nearing the plant. Even though the town is lethal to humans in some areas, a great variety of wildlife can still been seen here, and scientist are trying to discover if the radioactive materials cause them harm, or if they only roam the safe areas. Many visitors come to Prypiat each year.
Slavutych is home to many of the disaster's survivors and family members and many still remained employees of the company. The town is reliant on the plant for economic structure and the buildings are extremely modern in architecture. Each district in the town, of which there is eight, has its own unique atmosphere and are equipped with apartment blocks, clinics, homes, youth centers, a town hall, internet cafés, sports facilities and a hotel. The number of residents still working for the plant has decreased, as the nuclear units that remained after the accident were closed down in the year 2001.The town has now been declared to be a Special Economic Zone, as those who were left unemployed have moved away, leaving the town to an uncertain future.
Interestingly enough, the name Slavutych can mean a great deal of things, so you need to be specific. There is Slavutych, the town in the Kiev Region, it is the name used for the Dnieper River in poetry, it is a brand of beer and a football stadium in Zaporizhzhya carries the same name. But the town of Slavutych is worth the visit, as not many people get the opportunity to walk through the ghost town of Prypiat.