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Offline UncaBuffalo

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Chernobyl Tours
« on: Apr 26, 2013, 10:52 »
Anyone have any information/suggestions on how to get a tour of the Chernobyl site?  I'm going to be over in the Ukraine this summer and think it would be interesting to check it out.

I've been googling it and, so far, most of the commercial tours I find seem to be aimed at getting you into the restricted area (like at the town of Pripyat), but don't actually get you right up by the plant.  There are also some tantalizing hints that if you have the right connections, you can get a plant tour...that would be optimal. 

Any/all help and suggestions appreciated!  Thanks in advance.  :)



Note:  The plant tour seemed to hinge on 'being in the industry'...  I worked nuke for several years, but now am semi-retired - and will be traveling with a nephew with no nuclear background, so...?
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cedugger

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Re: Chernobyl Tours
« Reply #1 on: Apr 27, 2013, 10:45 »
Buffalo,

The tourist-type tours are only going to take you within sight of the plant, but not up to it. I consulted on several start-up projects there in 2007 and they only took us within sight. It's not the Ukrainians...it's the international community that's keeping everyone so far out. The "shelter implementation plan" is in full swing now and the number of contractors and amount of work is enough to keep any non-essentials out.

As you mentioned, however, having an "in" somewhere can get you close, but I don't have any suggestions for you. I lived in Ukraine for nearly 5 years and couldn't get a hookup. The standard Chernobyl tours are still impressive, and there's not much you'll miss outside of looking at the station from a distance. For me, it was interesting enough to see how much background jumped up as you stepped off the pavement. There's still a lot to take in by touring the abandoned cities.

What part of Ukraine are you visiting? I spent most of my time in the south along the border of Moldova and the Black Sea. You'll love your time there...I wish I had more time to see the rest of the country...it's very enlightening!

Best of luck you and I hope you get a closer look. I'll be envious, of course!

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Chernobyl Tours
« Reply #2 on: Apr 28, 2013, 10:49 »
Buffalo,

The tourist-type tours are only going to take you within sight of the plant, but not up to it. I consulted on several start-up projects there in 2007 and they only took us within sight. It's not the Ukrainians...it's the international community that's keeping everyone so far out. The "shelter implementation plan" is in full swing now and the number of contractors and amount of work is enough to keep any non-essentials out.

As you mentioned, however, having an "in" somewhere can get you close, but I don't have any suggestions for you. I lived in Ukraine for nearly 5 years and couldn't get a hookup. The standard Chernobyl tours are still impressive, and there's not much you'll miss outside of looking at the station from a distance. For me, it was interesting enough to see how much background jumped up as you stepped off the pavement. There's still a lot to take in by touring the abandoned cities.

What part of Ukraine are you visiting? I spent most of my time in the south along the border of Moldova and the Black Sea. You'll love your time there...I wish I had more time to see the rest of the country...it's very enlightening!

Best of luck you and I hope you get a closer look. I'll be envious, of course!

Hey Slavutich!

Thanks for your insights!  I don't really want to do one of the tourists-type tours, as I'm allergic to tour guides  ;) ...and also don't want to shell out around $300 (there will be two of us) if we don't actually get to tour the plant site.

I've heard mention of a train that gives you a good view of the plant and area on its route.  I think it runs from somewhere west of Pripyat, past Pripyat & Chernobyl, and then through Belarus to Slavutich?  (HEY! That's you!  :) )  Have you ever ridden that train, and, if so, does it let me see enough to check the 'Chernobyl' box on my bucket-list?

As far as the rest of the trip?  Wide open.  Any suggestions appreciated.  I will be traveling with a twenty-year-old nephew for the first couple of weeks...coming up from Istanbul through Bulgaria, Romania, and Moldova.  After that, I'll be alone with no deadlines or firm destinations.  Have considered either continuing around the Black Sea and catching Kurdistan and N. Syria...or heading east and north and doing Central Asia.  Any ideas for any part of the trip would be great.

Thanks again for the info about Chernobyl!

:)
« Last Edit: Apr 28, 2013, 10:58 by UncaBuffalo »
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Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Chernobyl Tours
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2013, 06:33 »

I've heard mention of a train that gives you a good view of the plant and area on its route.  I think it runs from somewhere west of Pripyat, past Pripyat & Chernobyl, and then through Belarus to Slavutich?  (HEY! That's you!  :) )  Have you ever ridden that train, and, if so, does it let me see enough to check the 'Chernobyl' box on my bucket-list?


I found out that they have closed the line west of Pripyat...and the line from Slavutich to Pripyat is only for plant workers.


I also got a reply back from Семыкин Павел, who control access to the area.  They sent a link to the regs that control permits:
http://www.dazv.gov.ua/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=184:order-moe-of-ukraine-on-november-2-2011-1157-approving-the-visiting-of-the-exclusion-zone-and-zone-of-unconditional-mandatory-resettlement&catid=80:normativno-pravov-akti-z-pitan-scho-nalejat-do-kompetenc-dazv&Itemid=156



:(
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Wlrun3

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Re: Chernobyl Tours
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2013, 03:04 »
Highly recommended for Chernobyl buffs..."Visit Sunny Chernobyl", Andrew Blackwell ... Thank you Linda Sewell.

Offline Ksheed

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Re: Chernobyl Tours
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 08:49 »
Don't know if you are familiar with the show River Monsters. It is on Animal Planet. I watched an episode with my kids last night. The host, Jeremy Wade, was granted permission to fish the cooling lake at Chernobyl. He was attempting to catch a rumored mutated fish. Turns out it was actually a Wels Catfish. He finally caught one in the channels that used to feed Unit 4. They were supposedly going to study it for effects of radiation. It was pretty interesting. Here is a link to a short video of footage from the show.

http://blogs.discovery.com/bites-animal-planet/2013/04/river-monsters-threatened-by-radiation-jeremy-hunts-down-an-assassin-in-chernobyl.html?cid=6a00d8341bf67c53ef017eead966e7970d

cedugger

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Re: Chernobyl Tours
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 04:34 »
I found out that they have closed the line west of Pripyat...and the line from Slavutich to Pripyat is only for plant workers.:(

Unca ~ It makes sense that they've restricted that line and reserved it for the SIP personnel commuting from Slavutich to the plant. I really hope you're successful in getting close up, and I'd like to hear about it once you do.

I don't have any pointers for you in Bulgaria or Romania...never been outside their airports. In Moldova, you're fine as long you avoid the Transdniestr region, as it's not yankee-friendly. If you're coming into Ukraine through Moldova, you'll be passing up much of what is good about Ukraine...the Black Sea coast. I guess you can always head north (toward Chernobyl) and back down to the coast.

Not sure if you're on a cultural trip, party trip, or a little of both, but I'll go over a couple places. To keep this post from being a novel, I'll leave you to your Google devices to see if any of these are worthwhile...

I didn't have much free time in Kiev, but I can recommend the Pechersk Lavra. Never seen anything like it before. It is a tourist stop, but without the tour guides, so you won't need Benadryl for your allergy. You'll need to look up some history of the monks, saints and mummies before you go, or it won't really mean much to you. Once there, you'll be hard-pressed for information unless your on top of your Russian-ese.

Sofiyivsky Park in Uman (half-way between Kiev and Odessa) is quite something, but maybe not for two grown men to visit. Direct rail line from Kiev-Uman-Odessa. Given your travels, you can probably forgo the air-conditioned railcar!

Odessa is by far my favorite, but I'm biased after living there nearly five years. It's a place to just relax. The city center is easy for us (English menus and such) and the beaches are what attract most. Arcadia is the resort area of Odessa and at least worth a visit. If you or your nephew happen to also be allergic to topless Ukrainian women, you may want to avoid the beaches. 8)

Anywhere on Crimea is great. You can get to Crimea via bus, train, or boat from Odessa. Sevastopol has great naval history and Yalta is a large attraction, but will be very crowded (translates to paying too much for a place to stay). I prefer Feodosiya as it's not as crowded. You can cross over into Russia via ferry from Kerch (visa needed for Russia).

Geez...I hope you haven't already started this trip or else this will become a big list of things you COULD have done.

Safe travels!
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 04:41 by slavutich »

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Chernobyl Tours
« Reply #7 on: Jun 22, 2013, 09:38 »
Unca ~ It makes sense that they've restricted that line and reserved it for the SIP personnel commuting from Slavutich to the plant. I really hope you're successful in getting close up, and I'd like to hear about it once you do.

I don't have any pointers for you in Bulgaria or Romania...never been outside their airports. In Moldova, you're fine as long you avoid the Transdniestr region, as it's not yankee-friendly. If you're coming into Ukraine through Moldova, you'll be passing up much of what is good about Ukraine...the Black Sea coast. I guess you can always head north (toward Chernobyl) and back down to the coast.

Not sure if you're on a cultural trip, party trip, or a little of both, but I'll go over a couple places. To keep this post from being a novel, I'll leave you to your Google devices to see if any of these are worthwhile...

I didn't have much free time in Kiev, but I can recommend the Pechersk Lavra. Never seen anything like it before. It is a tourist stop, but without the tour guides, so you won't need Benadryl for your allergy. You'll need to look up some history of the monks, saints and mummies before you go, or it won't really mean much to you. Once there, you'll be hard-pressed for information unless your on top of your Russian-ese.

Sofiyivsky Park in Uman (half-way between Kiev and Odessa) is quite something, but maybe not for two grown men to visit. Direct rail line from Kiev-Uman-Odessa. Given your travels, you can probably forgo the air-conditioned railcar!

Odessa is by far my favorite, but I'm biased after living there nearly five years. It's a place to just relax. The city center is easy for us (English menus and such) and the beaches are what attract most. Arcadia is the resort area of Odessa and at least worth a visit. If you or your nephew happen to also be allergic to topless Ukrainian women, you may want to avoid the beaches. 8)

Anywhere on Crimea is great. You can get to Crimea via bus, train, or boat from Odessa. Sevastopol has great naval history and Yalta is a large attraction, but will be very crowded (translates to paying too much for a place to stay). I prefer Feodosiya as it's not as crowded. You can cross over into Russia via ferry from Kerch (visa needed for Russia).

Geez...I hope you haven't already started this trip or else this will become a big list of things you COULD have done.

Safe travels!


Hey Slavutich!

Thanks for the advice!  Sorry I'm slow replying, but this gig I'm on had a flurry of activity and...

Definitely not a 'party trip', but not sure you'd say either of us is the 'cultural'-type either.  I just like to take the nieces and nephews out to see new places...and maybe let them see that there might be more than one 'right' way to live... 

I googled Sofiyivsky Park and it looks perfect.  Probably wouldn't need to stay long, but a place like that is always a nice break when you have been ricocheting around on public transportation and overnight trains for a few days.

We'll check Odessa out, too.  I don't think my nephew has any allergies, so will ask him if he wants to risk the beach.  ;)

Does the ferry to Georgia still run out of Kerch, too?  Will have to see how we are doing on time, but might try to loop all the way around the Black Sea after the Crimea.  Going to Georgia on a ferry looks like it would probably be as quick as trying to get a Russian visa...

One other thought:  My nephew is an aspiring musician...is there a city that has a real music scene?

Anyway, again, thanks for the help!  :)



We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Chernobyl Tours
« Reply #8 on: Jul 24, 2013, 04:41 »
OK.  We went to Ukraıne stıll wıth a vague hope that we could fınd a way to hook up wıth a Chernobyl tour once we were there.  Often the realıty on the ground ıs enough dıfferent from the ınternet/offıcıal versıon that ıt's possıble to work thıngs out on the fly...

BUT. ıt became VERY obvıous once we were actually ın Ukraıne that there ıs stıll a HUGE bureaucratıc attıtude left over from the Sovıet era.  All the young people we dealt wıth were frıendly and helpful, but older people tended towards rudeness and petty-mınded foot-draggıng.  Thıs was especıally true ıf they had a unıform...even ıf ıt was only a raılway ınformatıon clerk unıform.

Based on the huge amount of ınterference we encountered ın our fırst 12 hours from every 'offıcıal' (from bank teller to postal clerk) we gave up on the ıdea of sweet-talkıng our way ınto a Chernobyl tour and fled back to frıendly Moldova wıth our taıls between our legs.  

 :(



modified for spelling
« Last Edit: Aug 05, 2013, 10:10 by UncaBuffalo »
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Chernobyl Tours
« Reply #9 on: Aug 05, 2013, 10:13 »
If you or your nephew happen to also be allergic to topless Ukrainian women, you may want to avoid the beaches. 8)


It turns out that my nephew did have allergies...to senior citizens on nude beaches and over-weight guys in Speedos...   ;)
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Offline Marlin

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Re: Chernobyl Tours
« Reply #10 on: Aug 05, 2013, 10:24 »

It turns out that my nephew did have allergies...to senior citizens on nude beaches and over-weight guys in Speedos...   ;)

I saw some of that on English beaches, I saw pale skinned Scandinavians and Danish ladies on Italian black pumice beaches.  8)
« Last Edit: Aug 05, 2013, 10:24 by Marlin »

 


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