00:00:00 – 00:02:00 : black

00:03:00 : titration : April 26, 1986

Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

00:07:06 : You all know that we have undergone a very painful event :

00:11:20 : The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

00:13:18 :

On April 26, 1986 at approximately 1:24 am, reactor number four of the Chernobyl nuclear plant starts melting.

00:22:12 : For the first time, we were actually faced with

00:26:19 : the formidable force that is nuclear energy.

00:30:06 : when it’s out of control.

00:31:09 :

A significant amount of radioactive material is projected for several days in the air affecting all forms of life in a radius of 500 km around the plant.

00:41:06 : To date, 299 people are hospitalized for radioactive contamination

00:45:13 : to varying degrees.


Tens of thousands of liquidators clean up radioactive waste that is scattered at the site and the surrounding areas just after the explosion. Their protections are insignificant and they are exposed to doses of lethal radiation.

Most of them will die or end up disabled.

01:11:15 : I express my deep sympathy to the families and relatives of the victims,

01 :17 :02 : workers, and all those who have suffered from this calamity,

01 :21 :17 : and to all those who have lost loved ones.

01 :24 :06 :

An area of ​​30 km around the plant is closed and totally drained of its one hundred and fifteen thousand inhabitants.

Chernobyl is and will remain radioactive for thousands of years.

01:41:00 : titration : Chernobyl’s café

01:47:20 :

30 years after the disaster, what is it that drives man to come back to this contaminated land?

At about an hour and a half drive from Kiev, the checkpoint "Dityatki" marks the entrance into the 30km forbidden zone.

02:09:18 :

Access is strictly regulated and the army controls every entrance and exit.

02:26:04 :

At first glance we see that nature is very present.

02:43:00 :

In 1986 Chernobyl city had about 13 000 inhabitants, and officially today there are none.

Despite all this, grass is mowed and houses are maintained...

And you quickly forget where you are.

But the devil is in the details.


All is calm, almost frozen.

03:19:00 :

Yet, there are signs of life, attempts to make daily life more colorful and joyful.

In fact, about 600 people live and sleep here in Chernobyl.

Most of them are working on the building of the new sarcophagus, that will soon cover the plant.

They’re allowed to stay for 15 days in the area, but then they must leave for the next 15 days.

This is the rule, in order to not exceed the radiation dose.

The new water pipes were not buried in order to avoid contact with the radioactive ground.

So the pipes are apparent.

Sometimes you have to step over them.

And sometimes they are the ones that cross over you.

04:18:00 :

And all of a sudden, at certain hours, life starts up again.

Cars go by. People walk home or ride their bikes.

04:37:00 :

Here, combat clothes are the fashion.

04:43:00 :

It’s as if everyone was at war, against the invisible enemy.

04:52:00 :

Radioactivity in the city is near to normal.

In subdivisions, homes were abandoned immediately after the disaster.

People left everything.

05:11:00 :

Some people have returned, and have put their homes back in order. They’ve furnished them and they live there, but they still follow the rule of 15 days in the area, 15 days out.

In these neighborhoods, life is modest and for a few hundred euros you can buy a small house with a garden and enjoy the tranquility of a true country house.

05:37:00 :

A small community co-exists, and social life is slowly growing.

05:49:00 :

In 2013, a café opened in the heart of the city of Chernobyl.

Before 1986, these premises housed a large municipal canteen.

The establishment was called "canteen Number 10", and the café was christened Café 10.

06:13:00 :

Coincidence or destiny, it’s 10 kilometers from the plant.

06:21:00 :

It is open from 7am to 10 p.m. and every day thirty some people have a drink, or eat Ukrainian specialties on the menu.

06:32:00 :

Several devices continuously measure radioactivity.

The café also offer rooms worthy of a good hotel in Kiev.

06:44:00 :

SergeÏ, the boss, made a bargain when he settled here.

06:45:15 : titration : Pachkevytch Sergej Leonidovitch


06:50:00 : Our clients are very diverse. There are employees of the plant,

06 :53 :04 : the workers who are building the new sarcophagus,

06 :56 :10 : and also tourists.

06 :58 :14 : They sometimes come here to celebrate holidays,

07 :02 :18 : birthdays, corporate events,

07 :07 :02 : New Year or any kind of occasions.

07 :10 :18 : (question) Is it a coffee like everyone else?

07 : 13 :05 : Yes, we lead a life of ordinary Ukrainians,

07 :16 :15 : as if we were outside the exclusion zone.

07 :19 :10 : Tourists more often come to eat.

07 :23 :05 : There are also people who come to watch football games.

07 :27 :20 :

The café employs ten people. They’re all aware of the risks, and have thought long and hard before coming to work here.

07:36:00 : My name is Anna, I am the assistant director.

07:41:00 : I worked in the restaurant business for seven years,

07:42:00 : and one day I was asked to come and work at Chernobyl.

07:53:04 : The conditions and the wages were good so I agreed.

07:59:14 : I was scared. Maybe even too much ...

08:02:20: I hesitated a lot.

08:05:10 : People told me it was not so dangerous ...

08 :08 :20 : Finally, I came and saw it was true.

08:12:05 : This is my third year here.

08:15:00 : Of course, there are risks,

08:17:20: but you know if you look for problems… you find them…

08:22:20 : either in or out of the contaminated area.

08:27:16 : You just have to be vigilant and follow the rules.

08:32:04 : Chernobyl is in the most populated city in the restricted area,

08:35:20 : So it’s obvious that we need a café here !

08:41:00 :

More and more Tourists come eat in the café.

They rub shoulders with the plant workers.

08:54:15 :

Noon is the rush-hour.

The time in the zone being limited, service must be fast and efficient.

09:06:00 :

This meal is an essential moment for both eating but also exchanging and preparing for the afternoon’s excursion.

09:18:18 :

Everyone releases stress and anxiety.

Coming to Chernobyl is far from trivial ...

09:27:20: The Café is definitely important!

09:31:18 : After their tour visitors need to rest and have a meal.

09:37:04 : Here it is clean and welcoming ...

09:41:04 : Anyway we are the only café Chernobyl!

09:46:20 :

The café even has its gift shop.


In the afternoon, the tourists leave Chernobyl, and hit the road to the city of Pripyat.

10:03:05 :

Fresh out of Chernobyl, we must go through a new military checkpoint. We enter the 10km zone around the plant.

10:15:00 :

The Red Forest.

This is the name given to the 400 hectares of pines that once surrounded the plant.

After the accident, the trees turned red because of the radioactive radiations.

The whole forest was bulldozed and buried.

10:34:20 :

Today the new arch construction is visible from afar.

It will replace the old sarcophagus, and it will entirely cover the plant.

10:53:10 :

The radioactivity here is alarming. In the inside of a car it is 50 times above normal. You do not stop.

11:02:16 :

Doses are much higher on the ground.

11:08:10 :

A few kilometers further north, the road splits into two.

A monument points to the one that leads to the city of Pripyat.

11:24:05 :

One must cross "the bridge of death". The day after the disaster, the inhabitants of the city gathered here to watch the plant burning. On this bridge they all received lethal doses of radiation.

11:41:00 :

On April 27, 1986, at dawn, the city of Pripyat is still asleep.

The white flashes visible in these images are due to radiation.

The plant has been burning for over 20 hours now, and the population still doesn’t know what’s going on.

12:00:20 :

The military rushed here cross by the first early risers of the population.

But nothing is said.

12:12:00 :

It's Sunday. People go out.

12:18:10 :

Three kilometers away, helicopters hover above reactor number 4.

They try to extinguish the flames and limit releases of iodine, cesium and tellurium that spread continuously in the air.

12:38:16 :

Every hour, the army measures radioactivity around the city.

The counters are panicking, at this rate the lethal dose is reached within 4 days.

12:59:00 :

Precisely forty nine thousand, three hundred and sixty people live here.

In a few hours the lives of these people will be shattered.

13:12:05 :

Twelve hundred buses and 200 trucks will arrive in the main square.

It will only take three and a half hours to empty the city.


The loud speakers make the announcement.

One may only take bare necessities.

Identification papers, change of clothing and some food for the trip.

It is forbidden to take animals.

13:49:00 :

The voice on the loud speaker says that this is a temporary evacuation.

14:02:00 :

The first buses enter the city early in the afternoon.

People leave their apartments, and entrances of buildings are locked behind them.

14:19:06 :

Some faint and others vomit.

Most of them are already heavily irradiated.

14:34:00 :

By late afternoon, the city is deserted.

14:44:15 :

The families will be rehoused in social apartments in Kiev.

They will be rejected and abused. No one wants to live next to contaminated neighbors.

15:02:08 :

Those that left for three days, would in fact never return.

15: 14:10 :

Pripyat is now completely surrounded by barbed wire. And access to the city is guarded by one man.

16:46:20 :

Pripyat is now populated with trees.

They grow everywhere.

Most plants have adapted and their DNA has mutated. They have many structural defects, tumors and malformations.

It's not spectacular but degeneration has become the norm.

17:11:04 :

The land is less contaminated in the area, because each year, radionuclides sink deeper into the ground.

However, these plants absorb radioactive particles by their roots, which then grow to the surface. Moss, leaves, and flowers, are contaminants.

17:44:16 :

The Pripyat swimming pool has become one of the most visited places in the city since it appeared in a famous video game.

17:56:15 :

Some come from far away just to see it ... for real.

18:07:16 :

Built to accommodate the families of those who worked at the plant, the town provided everything one could wish for at the time.

18:22:10 :

Right next to the pool we can see the trace of an old courtyard of one of the five schools.

A thousand students studied here.

18:38:22 :

On the ground floor, the canteen is strangely empty. Even the heavy cast iron radiators are gone.

Looters came and took everything that was valuable.

19:03:14 :

A little further, hundreds of children's gas masks litter the ground.

Each school had its own stock, in anticipation of a possible US nuclear attack.

In reality, they were never used, the looters are the ones who threw them there.

19:25:00 :

Time is frozen in the corridors.

The patriotic newspaper of April 23 is still on display.

19:39:00 :

In some classrooms it feels like the day after the disaster.

19:56:10 :

Sometimes, realism is a bit too forced and disturbing.

Some objects seem to have been moved and staged for tourist’s photographs.

20:13:20 :

The city has the most contaminated spots in the whole area, yet it attracts more and more people.

20:28:04 :

In the hospital you can still find clothes left by the liquidators on the day of the disaster.

This is one of the most radioactive places in the world, yet some visit it unprotected, risking exposure to lethal doses.

20:53:10 :

The area is often compared to a nature reserve thanks to the great diversity of flora and fauna that are present.

Hunting and fishing are prohibited.

21:06:08 :

In the little port of Pripyat, the last moored boat has almost finished sinking.

21:21:10 :

It is difficult to imagine that life once swarmed here.

Hundreds of people came every weekend to go sailing or picnicking.

21:35:10 :

In this tavern at the water's edge, young people used to meet and flirt.

22:01:05 :

Serge Ditiarenko has been a guide in the area for 5 years.

His work is his passion.

But he admits that being here, is also a form of fighting defeat.

The Ukrainian army is fighting to keep its land and border from Russia, whereas here we are in the process of taking back soil contaminated by former USSR.

22:24:16 : At first it was rather more a hobby.

22:27:14 : titration : Sergej Dihtjarenko


22:31:02 : I organized a visit for friends and they really enjoyed it.

22:35:06 : After that overseas tourist agencies made me proposals,

22: 39:07 : and I have done it my job.

22: 43:20 : My role is to accompany tourists and explain the disaster.

22:49:16 : of course I also show them the different places but ...

22: 55:00 : I primarily educates them about the seriousness and consequences of the accident.

23 :02 :13 : There is no danger.

23: 04: 15 : Wherever you go you’re always accompanied by an official city guide.

23:08:22: We only visit safe places.

23:11:14 : So tourists are safe.


An amusement park should have been opened four days after the disaster.

Yet the Ferris wheel was started the day after the explosion to keep the locals busy and avoid panic before the evacuation.


It became the symbol of the city.

This is the inescapable cliché.

23:45:14 :

The authorities and tour operators want reassurance regarding the doses of radiation that tourists are exposed to, but nobody knows the real impact of such visits on the body.


So-called black or morbid tourism is on the rise. Travel agencies have seized this opportunity.

24:15:00 :

There are more and more tourists, but the former inhabitants of the city rarely want to come back.

24:25:22: One day, a friend heard that I organized tours to Chernobyl.

24:31:06 : He then told me he was from Pripyat ...

24:35:13 : I checked his passport and indeed, it was true.

24:41:05 : I organized him a trip to Pripyat.

24:45:06 : He was only four years during the evacuation.

25 :02 :08 : We found the house of his parents and the emotion overwhelmed.

25:06:19 : He phoned his parents, he had tears in his eyes ...

25:10:15 : He said, "Dad, I found it, I found our house!"

25:15:20 : It was really very moving ... unforgettable ...

25:20:20 : I have two sons, one of the two is 13,

25:25:01: he dreams about coming to Chernobyl.

25:29:16 : Maybe one day he will be a guide too.

25:36:11 :

By late afternoon, tourists who are still in the area return to the café.

At dusk, exterior doors are locked.

In the area, a curfew is in place until morning.

25:55:03 :

Pripyat and Chernobyl were the two main cities.

But there were also many villages.

The most radioactive ones were bulldozed and buried.

Those that remain are the prey of metal looters.

26:14:00 :

The metal is often radioactive to the extreme, especially when it comes to tools or vehicles that were used during the liquidation.

26:26:00 :

Houses and apartments have been robbed.

Everywhere, radiators, power lines, cars and even military equipment has disappeared.

Some clandestine trucks were arrested but the majority crossed checkpoints unmolested.

Corruption is widespread and the government says it is helpless.

26:50:00 :

In 30 years, 6 million tons of radioactive metal have left the zone, that makes 548 tons per day.

This metal goes to foundries in Eastern Ukraine, that are then are sold on the Chinese market.

The Chernobyl radioactive metal can maybe be found today all over the world in the most ordinary objects.

27:19:22 :

Only churches and memorials seem to have been spared.

27:29:03 :

Looters haven’t passed through this kindergarten yet.

27:38 :03 :

Radioactivity is still very strong.

But thieves don’t care. They’ll come and cut every centimeter of metal without wearing any protective equipment.

28:00:00 :

These men often live in precarious conditions and don’t care about risking their future health.

28:35:00 :

The Ukrainian generation born after the disaster perceives the situation from a different angle.

28:44:05 :

Many have already come to the area but virtually, through video games like Call of Duty or Stalker, that take place around the plant and Pripyat.

28:58:00 :

Elina is part of this generation, she’s a translator and comes regularly to the area.

29:04:16: My name is Elina, I am 23 years old.

29:08:13 : And I live in Zhitomir, a small town next to Kiev.

29:11:09 : My passion is French.

29:13:14 : titration : Elina Milevich


29:16:10 : I accompany groups and foreigners who come here at Chernobyl.

29 :21 :07 : All my friends dream about coming here ...

29:25:19 : When they learned that I came to Chernobyl

29:29:15 : they said : Wah, cool! I dream to go there.

29:33:22 : How can I do that?

29:36 :19 : No one of my age wonders why I go or if I'm afraid ...

29 :43 :08 : Elderly people I work with ask me

29 :48 :12 : if I'm not scared or if I am not afraid of pollution.

29 :53 :20 : They also tell me not to go too often ...

29 :59 :00 : So it's very different, it actually depends on the age.

30 :04 :00 : I think it is in the minds of elderly people.

30 :09 :00 : They lived trough all this,

30 : 12 :09 : they saw dead and sick people who were irradiated.

30:17:00: But people of my age find it’s cool to come here.

30:23:07: There is nobody in the area.

30:25:19 : They think of Pripyat, Stalker (video games).

30 :29 :03 : I think that above all it is a state of mind.

30:33:21 :

The story of the drama is alive, but the emotional memory of those who lived through it gradually fades away.

Ivan and his wife Maria are Samossioly.

This is the name given to those who have returned to live clandestinely in the area after the disaster.


Most of them are sick and their numbers decreases from year to year.

31:06:13 :

They live in near autarky.

And when we ask them why they returned to live in the forbidden zone

Their answer is simple: their life is here.

31:29:02 : Of course the evacuation concerns the whole area, including our village.

31:33:11 : So we had to go with all the others.

31:37:15: We were told it would be for three days.

31:42:02 : Actually it was for several years ...

31:48:00 : We left in 1986 and returned in 1987.

31:54:01: But I came back earlier than the others.

31:58:07: I was hired as a guard at Chernobyl. To monitor the area.

32:02:17 : (question) : How long ?

32:04:07 : Fifteen years

32:07:03 : 140 families have returned to live in their home.

32:12:00: Everything worked perfectly!

32:15:21: There was light.

32:19:19: The electricity had not even been cut.

32:24:15 : We installed the radio, we lived well ...

32:32:04 : Of these 140 families only five remain today.

32:39:00 :

Other Samossioly work collecting metal abandoned by the army.

Whole fields of irradiated military equipment has disappeared.

These men paid dearly for a few hundred dollars.

32:59:20 :

Ivan never participated in the dismantling, but nevertheless he was exposed to high doses of cesium.

33:08:14 : One day after work, returning Chernobyl I felt bad.

33:15:05 : My radiation was measured and I had 500 mSv.

33:21:16 : I was really surprised,

33:24:16 : I did not understand where I had been contaminated ...

33:28:20 : And then I remembered that passing in front of the plant

33:33:00 : my car got stuck in the mud.

33 :35 :18 : It was pushing it out of the mud that it must have happened ...

33 :40 :06 : I feel the radiation now, yes I do ...

33 :43 :19 : It burns me.

33 :46 :00 : It tingles in my lips,

33 :49 :02 : and under clothing.

33 :51 :17 : When I feel that I quickly go away,

33 :54 :17 : It’s better not to hang around ...

33 :58 :12 : Because otherwise I feel bad, dizzy, I have vertigo.

34 :05 :12 : My lips become all dry ...

34 :10 :21 : Yes I feel the radiation ...

34 :15 :16 : and so I try to avoid contaminated areas.

34 :22 :06 :

The human body does not adapt to radiation as easily as nature.

The most resistant animals are insects, and even though many of them died in the beginning, they’ve gradually adapted.

34:43:04 :

In some species, close to 60 generations have passed, while man is still in his first.


If some animals in the area have grown to impressive sizes, it is only because of the absence of humans.


Among the regulars of the area, Misha is a regular customer at the café. He works for the city of Chernobyl and allows access to the different sites.

35:20:04 : I come almost every day to eat here with visitors.

35:24:10 : titration : Misha Teslenko

Official Guide

35:27:14 : In 1994 my whole family was evacuated from our maternal village.

35:37:01 : Here I work according to my studies.

35:39:20 : Because of the harmful working conditions,

35:43:09 : my working years count double.

35:46:02 : And I get bonuses ...

35:48:07 : At first it seemed strange to me.

35:51:08 : I imagined that there was nobody.

35:54:04 : I did not expect to find so many people there.

35:57:03 : I thought the area was a large forest,

36:00:15 : surrounded by barbed wire and filled with soldiers.

36:04 : 11 : But I found that it was not like that at all.

36 : 10:05 : There is work and everything we need ...

36:14:20 : Gym, shop ...

36: 20:00 : a police station too.

36:23:10 : There is also a section that continuously...

36:26:22 : checks the radiation level.

36:31:09 : Everything seems normal.

36:35:00 : What really differs is the lack of school.

36:38:19 : There are no children here.

36:41:11 : I ended up being used to it.

36:45:12 :

Despite the reassuring speech of the authorities concerning radioactivity in the city, the 30 km zone is strictly prohibited for pregnant women and children under the age of 18 .

36:58:03: Today nothing shocks me.

37:00:10 : But in the beginning, this image of the plant terrified me.

37:04:09 : The crackling and alarm dosimeters, scared me…

37:07:15 : really

37:09:01 : But I got used to it.

37:11:06: Now I know the rules.

37:14:06: I know how we should behave in the plant.

37:19:19 :

The Lenin Plant lies between Chernobyl and Pripyat.

37:26:10 :

It is the heart of all concerns.


The old sarcophagus, hastily built around the remains of reactor No. 4 reactor is no longer sealed.

Some gaps are large enough to drive a car through them.

37:47:10 :

Recently the building structure became unstable and scaffolds were built to prevent its collapse.


To delay the threat, a gigantic arch is under construction.

It is mobile and will cover the entire plant.


For the moment, it is impossible to decontaminate and treat highly radioactive substances present in reactor number 4.

38:24:13 :

The ark is expected to last a 100 years. From now on, we must invent, fund and implement an eventual solution.


Novarka, a consortium between the Bouygues and Vinci companies, is the firm in charge of the work.

It employs between 1000 and 1200 people each day on the site.

For people in the region, these job offers are a fantastic opportunity.

Their health is not their priority.

39:00:10: Thankfully, we have a job!

39:02:20 : titration : Sergej & Alexandre

Plant workers

39:04:15 : Every day I leave Slavoutich, I live there.

39:08:13 : I get up at 5 am and I only go back at 8 pm.

39:12:04 : I have my dinner and fall asleep ...

39:15:07 : My wife and I lived in Pripyat, we saw the reactor burning.

39:18:21: And all finished well ...

39:20:19 : We’re still alive!

39:22:14: That’s it !

39:25:20 :

Since 2000, all engines have stopped, but people are still working right inside the plant.

There is around-the-clock surveillance.

39:38:00 :

At 10 meters high, a gigantic corridor that is over one kilometer long, goes through the entire length of the building.

It's called the golden corridor.

It leads to the strategic places of the plant.

39:56:21 :

At the end of the corridor, lies the terrible reactor number 4, that exploded.


The equipment used in construction seems surprisingly rudimentary.

Most doors and door frames are made out of wood and the mosaic floor moves and falls apart when you walk on it.


The Lenin Plant was nevertheless known to be one of the safest and most modern of the former USSR.


Despite the dangers, the plant was kept in business after the disaster.

The decision to completely shut it down was only made in December 2000.

The other reactors had become too threatening.

41:04:00 :

It is from post number 4, identical to this one, that operators handled the situation 30 years ago.

41:14:05 :

We now know that the center had some design flaws, but if the explosion occurred, it is because of human error.

41:27:07 :

Chernobyl is not unique.

The oldest plant of this type is located in Leningrad, Russia, and we discovered that in 1975 a similar incident had occurred.

41:43:20 :

The accident was less important than here.

41:51:10 :

There are still ten plants using this style of technology worldwide.


The equipment is completely outdated and the situation is distressing.

42:09:06 :

The real wealth of the plant are the people working there.

They have devoted themselves body and soul, waiting for the arrival of the new sarcophagus.

The chief operating officer of reactor number 2, has been working at the plant for 28 years. He’s Russian and his colleagues are Ukrainian.

The common goal being primarily to prevent another tragedy.

42:35:01: Nobody forced us to work here.

42:38:19 : After my studies, I came to work here of my own accord.

42:44:00 : We were given time to think.

42: 48 :13 : (question) Have you come here for patriotism?

42:52:23 : It's not really that ...

42:56:03 : This is more complex.

42:59:13 : (question) For humanism?

43:01:09 : not really…

43:03:03 : It was the Soviet Union!

43:04:16 : That was my specialty, my role!

43:08:02 : Given that the plant must be active without interruption,

43:11:16 : we work per team and the team is changed every 12 hours.

43:18:04 : This is the best schedule for the operating personnel.

43:21:13 : And I think it’s the best in the world.

43:25:16 : (question) You're not afraid to work here?

43:28:00 : No !

43:28:20 : The combination of experience and knowledge

43: 36:25 : allow us to forget the fear while working.

43:39:00 : In France, people also work in plants and they are not afraid either ...

43:43:16 : Chernobyl is the same kind of plant as yours…

43:48:05 : With subtle differences.

43:50:22 : But we know them, some technical aspects, that's it!

43:56:06 : People visit museums, don’t they ? So why not Chernobyl ?

44:01:06 : They must know what nuclear is,

44:04:17 : and see the result of human errors.

44:07:15 : I think it's normal.

44:11:00 :

The authorized dose for nuclear workers is 20 times higher than for an ordinary citizen.

44:21:12 :

If we go deeper into the core of the plant towards reactor number 4, the passage suddenly darkens.

Corridor is narrow and damp.

 The walls are peeling.

The dosimeters are creaking continuously.

44:41:00 :

In the cooling air passages between reactors 3 and 4, most accesses have been processed.

Yet radioactivity is extremely variable, and where the worn-off linoleum exposes the concrete floor, the measures are very high.

44:58:10 :

This big white wall is the sarcophagus built after the disaster.

45:07:20 :

A memorial has been erected in honor of Valery Khodemshuk, the first victim of the explosion.

45:20:00 :

Here radioactivity in the air is 16 micro Sieverts, in other words, a 160 times above normal.

45:31:02 :

Behind this red door, less than 20 meters away, is a corium; also called elephant foot.

This is a highly toxic and radioactive magma. It destroys everything in its path.

45:48:18 :

It’s temperature of 2500 ° does not decrease in contact with the air. It will remain radioactive for 250,000 years.

46:02:10 :

It kills all those who approach it in less than five minutes.

46:08:15 :

Before exiting the plant, one must pass a security check-point that measures radiation.

46:16:17 :

But is the machine really working?

The guide says it hasn’t beeped in 30 years ...

46:28:16 :

A wall in memory of the liquidators was built just outside the entrance of the enclosure.

Between 600 000 and 800 000 people have worked to decontaminate the site.

46:47:03 :

They were volunteers and considered that their involvement was part of their duty.

Without them, the Chernobyl disaster would have severely contaminated all of Europe.

47:11:20 :

In the end, 250 000 people were evacuated. And hundreds of villages were wiped off the map.

47:28:20 :

Tonight, there’s no curfew in Chernobyl.

Once a year the city lets the liquidators families come in for a few hours.

47:43:20 :

They all lost someone, and are often sick themselves.

47:51:17 :

Emotions are contradictory. We are guilty for surviving, but happy to still be alive.

48:12:20 :

The families of the survivors have rebuilt their lives outside the area.

Radiation has affected their health and that of their young children. But what about the next generations?

In Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, doctors have found dramatic increases of malformations, leukemia and cancer in children born just after the disaster.


Even today, many cases of malformations are detected. They affect the vital functions of newborns and are more difficult to detect.

48:56:07 :

30 years have passed and man is back in Chernobyl.

When we start leaving the zone, the café appears to be a first step towards reclaiming contaminated soils.

What could be more reassuring than a simple café, to imagine that we could live here like anywhere else in the world?

49:19:14 :

We now can work, sightsee, have a drink with friends or enjoy a country house in Chernobyl.

49:30:19 :

The explosion of the plant had terrible human, ecological but also economic consequences for Ukraine.

49:40:15 :

In 2011, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich declared that he wants to resume farming on irradiated land, even within the prohibited zone. The undeveloped area is the size of ​​a country like Luxembourg.

50:01:00 :

In addition, the United Nations launched a development and rehabilitation program for the affected areas of Chernobyl.

50:12:02 :

A new step has been taken.

50:16:00 :

So we will perhaps soon have irradiated products from Chernobyl in our food chain.


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