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Tomas Tetrix's Posts
Tomas has posted 2 reports and 6 photos.

Existing reports and photos: (Mouseover any camera icon for sample images. Click on any camera icon for all images)

Trans Dniester Visit: 2007-10
2007-12-14 - Uah, this is the most corrupted country from all I visited... and it was really hard to get in... I was not allowed to enter directly from Ukraine Odessa, the soldiers at border did deep one hour! long hearing to me and when they recognised, that I would like to go to Tiraspol and Bender as a tourist, their first sentence in english was: "GO BACK". I tried to bribe them (first time in my life tried to bribe somebody...) but they did not reflect. I tried to go to Transdnistria beyond official border post (it is even the same situation, because they will not! give you arrival stamp to your passport at the "official" Transdniester border post, so.. it does not depend on way you get in, you are not officially entering Moldovia - but when you exit, they just ask if you entered by Transnistria and do not problems during exitting the country not having the official entry stamp). Ukrainian border police stopped me and politely advised me to go to another border post at "Platonovo" and not to try to cross border ilegally, because Transdnistrians have their troops watching the borderline... Platonovo.. how nice... that ancient philosopher brought me good luck :-) I did not tell them I am visiting as a tourist, but only said that I am strictly on transit to Chisinau only (that was not actually true, of course...). They demanded payment, but it was very small amount around 3 UAH (0.5 USD). I did not have any small banknotes, so the policeman (accomnanied by young 20 years old policewoman :) took my 20 UAH banknote and did not give back the change, of course. I did nod demanded the change and that probably saved my entry to Transnistria. You are not allowed to bring there cell phone, camera and noteboook! To the question if I have any, I answered NO! They did not check only because they have the change in their pocket (even 17 UAH is a big amount for them, according to CIA Factbook, GDP data that sum is their average 3 days salary!). I was at last there. The road is in terrible condition and they have the only radar in Transdnistria there, to catch the unaware foreigners on the very low speed limit... The journey through the roads southwards to Tiraspol is for another article... I saw abandoned schools, official parade and the dictator Smirnov, I was arrested because of making a photo of the flag (using my cell phone!) and I was not allowed to leave the country and was completely comb out (I was expecting so I saved my full CF memory card with all material at a safe place :-) The purpose of this action was to demand bribe, so they threatened arresting and so on... If you are in time pressure (as I was, it was almost completely dark at that time) give them the smallest banknote you have (even if they take more banknotes from your ammount, YES, they take your wallet and take out money, put all at the desk and take some of your money and say that it was enough for you to have no problems!). I ripped of my banknotes from his hand and gave him only the smallest (unfortunately) 20 USD banknote. He completely changed his behaviour and was very polite, he put all my things to my wallet, escorted me to my vehicle and wanted to shake my hand... I had refused to do that. They also investigated my visa to USA i received this spring of 2007. They adhere to Russia, they have red star in their signs, Lenin statues in towns, but they admire USA... This is the sign, that they are completely insane or they run the state only for the top politicians to earn money from controlling the smuggling and unofficial sale of weapons (of mass destruction?). The only really "nationalwide" company is called Sheriff and is in american Texas style and runs petrol stations, supermarket, casinos...
I wish all people good stay in Transnistria and I advise - do not get robbed at the border checkpoint... if you have any troubles (they demand bribes), call immediatelly your embassy in Moldovia, they are going to help you... ask name or number of the officer who demands the bribe, even if he is hiding his number. Do not be easy to get person :-) Enjoy... FOR ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO WRITE AN EMAIL TO MY ADDRESS: madtom@post.cz

Ukraine (Other) Visit: 2008-3
2008-05-28 - This post is about Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP), Ghost town of Pripyat and the Zone of Alienation ONLY!

Because of my interest in nuclear physics, I decided to visit the nuclear power plant which caused by its explosion in 1986 the biggest shake in perception of nuclear technology ever...

ChNPP has four blocks and fifth and sixth was under construction (never finished). The fourth block exploded because of instability in the core caused by lack of knowledge of principles of nuclear fission by operators in April, 1986. The operators bypassed many of security precations during the test of electrical self sufficiency of the ChNPP in the case of standing off the reactor.

Nowadays, none of four block operate. The last third reactor was stood off in the year of 2000. Deputy of ChNPP told me that stopping of the last block was very uneconomical and even when safety regulations were much stronger then before. The risk of this type of reactor is positive void coefficient, which means when loosing the pressure during an accident, the chain reaction propagates. In modern types of reactors will the reaction cease.

Nowadays, around 3000 workers still work at ChNPP and on Sarcophagus, reconstructing the deteriorating shelter. Even if the radioactivity next to the shelter is not ever so extensive as it was in 1986, workers are only allowed to work in weekly shifts. Official visitors to ChNPP can get the permission to enter the Zone of Alienation, which is secure and guarded 30km radius from the site. Strict time plan of the visit is made and everyone must adhere to it. I visited the new Nuclear Spent Fuel Storage, which was started by French and completed will be in five years by Americans. Then I met deputy of International affairs and we discussed about financing, deteriotaion of the shelter, about people's attitude to nuclear energetics and so on. After the lunch at local canteen I was shown the Shelter object from special thick/walled viewing building which is only about 250 meters from the collapsed reactor. Next part of the day was visit to the former town of Pripyat, that should be home for 80.000 people. Now it is the larges ghost town in the world. Board mounted apartment buildings are mostly hidden behind wildly growing trees and bushes, which were not cut down for 23 years now. The main square hosts a restaurant, a hotel and cultural house, a cinema, swimming pool... All interiors of building are destroyed by looting in the years after accident. There is absolute silence. Even the radioactivity is safe for a day visitor or for workers, it is not safe for living. I also visited one building on the former Lenin avenue, but I felt like a gatecrasher...

There are many other places of interest in the Zone, for example ship graveyard at the harbour of the city of Chernobyl. Some big ships are partially under water, waiting for corrosion to complete the work. The city of Chernobyl is cleaned up and there is no radioactivity. It is now safe place for living and a few hundreds of people live there. There is ordinary bus station, grocery shop, coffee bar and a police station.

If you plan to visit the Zone and ChNPP and you are professional (journalist, physicist, ...) you can get a permission and build up the time plan with the deputy of ChNPP (contact is on their official home page) free of charge. You can use your own car for transportation, or you can be probably also transported from the control post Dityatki at the border of Zone by their van.

The accident happened 23 year ago, which is almost one generation, people start to forget. Solving of the problem of tons of higly radioactive waste under the shelter Sarcophagus is waiting for developing new technologies that could handle extreme conditions at the core. As I was told, Chernobyl NPP is a place for evaluating new technologies. It is a challenge for new technology and development. Now, we are able only to repair the shelter, build a new one. We are onlyisolating the problem from the environment, but we are not solving it. It can be only made by worldwide cooperation and effort in the future.

If you wish to see more photos and a VIDEO, continue to:



I am just about to establish a special site dedicated to the city of Pripyat and Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. If you are interested in helping with texts videos, visit http://www.pripyat.eu/ and send me a message.

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