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.

back to Kiev Oblast