A Drone in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Footage from the ruins.


If you'd like to get a glimpse of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone but don't feel like sneaking in illegally, check out this video from Danny Cooke, a photographer who gathered footage from the nuclear disaster site both in person and via drone:

Cooke put that film together while working on a recent 60 Minutes report on Chernobyl. For a transcript of that story—which includes interviews with people who actually live in the Zone—go here.

[Hat tip: Bryan Alexander.]

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  1. Is there a version of the video without the shrill caterwauling in the background?

    1. It's called 'mute'.

      1. I did watch it muted, and I felt it lost something. It would have been 1000x more poignant had it just consisted of environmental noises; however, the drone of the, um, drone's engines might have prevented that.

  2. I'm not quite sure I get the point. What's the difference between this and any other abandoned area? The Chernobyl incident itself didn't cause that damage, but I guess we're supposed to believe that it did.

    Is this intended to convince us that nuclear energy is just too risky?

    1. I think the point is that central planning socialism completely fucked up a good thing. It is a special case though, that doesn't usually happen.

      That is what I got out of it.

      1. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I just can't see a 60 Minutes staffer trying to make a story out of a failure of socialism.

    2. yeah, exactly. Wasteland, environmental degradation. Be afraid, be anxious, get angry.

  3. Drones should be in the next iteration of STALKER.

    1. Anyone who remade Stalker would screw it up.

    2. Bethesda has the rights now, STALKER's dead and buried, and should stay buried.

      1. But Bethesda's awesome.

        1. Yes, Bethesda has a fantastic track record with subtlety and procedurally generated content. Wait, no they don't. They're good at other things, but not the things that make STALKER good.

          And now I'm really confused, because apparently Bethesda doesn't own the rights, bitComposer claims they have them as does the original company. So it's legal gray area limbo, even better! Stay dead, STALKER, unless the original studio gets its shit together.

  4. Yippy skip. Over ten years ago, some Ukrainian motorcycle chick had a fantastic blog of her trip all over Pripyat. Since then there have been Vice reporters, more bloggers, national geographic, every kind of documentarian and scribbler. Apparently they're not too worried about cancer or mutations either.

    1. No atomic hobos either? I haz disappoint.

  5. The vegetation looks normal. Where are the trees with the square leaves or why isn't it all dead?

    So how is the wildlife in the area? Certainly there are three headed frogs and glow-in-the-dark birds, right? Deer born with antlers, and such?

    I admittedly know little about radiation and its effects, but I suspect it wasn't/isn't as bad as everyone claimed (because fear sells)? Can't Dr Crusher just give you a shot?

    Where is smokin joe when you need him?

    1. A shot? Uh, maybe you need a history lesson on how hyposprays work.

      1. I think FoE wanted to give Dr. Crusher his shot, if you know what I mean.

        (wink, nudge)

    2. The area is hot enough that a colleague of mine who toured the area recently was warned to stick to paved walkways and roads and avoid stepping on any plants (or grasses) which apparently concentrate some of the nastiness. It's not that you can't go there, but you need to be smart and limit your exposure.

      Most mutations are lethal, so most mutated vegetation (or frogs or birds or ...) never grows to live birth to begin with. Over time, there may be an increase in the number of oddities (think the gamma garden at Brookhaven), but unless you're talking about yeast or E coli or such, the generational time means that it takes a while for the oddities to spread.

      1. Or maybe people are just super paranoid about radiation.

        If you compare the charts on this website:

        Lowest annual dose at which an increase in cancer is clearly evident = 100 mSv
        Pripyat Fairground = 1.3 uSv/hour

        To get the lowest annual dose at which an increase in cancer is clearly evident (100mSv), you would have to hang out in the Pripyat fairgrounds for about 10 years.

  6. Basic nuclear Physics; Radiation strong enough to be quickly dangerous does not last; the radioactivity eats the source. Are there contamination issues? Certainly. Is this an argument for not using Nuclear power, or for not letting anything as fundamentally fumble-fingered as a socialist government use Nuclear power.

    I grow weary of the intellectual Left's Anti-Nuclear fetish. It's multitudinous half-truths and fabrications make it impossible to asses any actual danger.

    And in the meanwhile, the damage done to the environment by Left-beloved technologies like Wind Farms and Solar plants is TABOO.


    Environmentalism could be a real thing. There are real issues that should be addressed. But as it stands it is merely a club to beat all opposition to the Left's agenda into pulp. There are a few, a very few, heretical Environmentalists willing to look at actual issues and actual costs. The rest of them have by contempt, having earned it hundreds of times over.

    1. Most "environmentalists" are dreamy eyed fools who think if we nasty humans would just leave nature alone, the lions and lambs would just lie down together for a cuddlefest.

      Yes, it could be a real thing, but how many environmentalists do you know who have shown some integrity and had either no or just one child? Or at the other extreme, how many are hard core capitalists who believe in private ownership of large parcels of land, which is the best way to insure that it is wisely maintained?

    2. "And in the meanwhile, the damage done to the environment by Left-beloved technologies like Wind Farms and Solar plants is TABOO."
      How about the damage caused by the oh-so-wunnerfulest 'no more nukes!' fashion:

      "Energy revolution spells doom for German village"
      "Five days a week, a giant machine eats its way through soil at the Jaenschwalde open-cast mine in eastern Germany, exposing the brown coal buried beneath."

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      1. For some reason, that hadn't occurred to me.

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