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That is Chernobyl nuclear reactor number four.
It melted down on April 26, 1986.
So what happened was so much heat was generated inside that reactor that it basically blew
the top off spreading radioactive isotopes throughout this whole surrounding area and
over into Europe.
And that is why we can still detect the contamination here today.
And they covered it in that sarcophagus which is kind of crumbling as it ages.
And so they are actually building a brand new containment facility over here which,
when it is finished, will be slid over on top of the old containment, on top of the
old sarcophagus.
The town of Pripyat was built just a few kilometers away from the reactor, mostly to house the
families of the people who worked there.
And now it is completely abandoned.
So now you can find all of these high rise Soviet apartments completely empty and crumbling
and the forest is basically reclaiming this whole town.
When the residents of Pripyat were told to evacuate they were told that they would only
be away for two weeks.
So they left most of their belongings exactly where they were and they never came back.
So their lives are on display here.
I am inside an old kindergarten and it is incredibly peaceful.
You know, you look around and it looks like a disaster has hit here.
But, mainly, what this shows is 30 years of weathering and no maintenance.
So things just fall apart.
The most insidious thing about radiation is how invisible it is.
You can’t feel it.
You can’t smell it or see it.
This could be pristine wilderness, but it is not.
It is a contaminated, deserted waste land.
This is what a real post-apocalyptic world looks like: abandoned buildings, over grown
streets, everything crumbling, rusting, breaking.
Near the reactor there is an area called the red forest, because after the accident, so
much radioactive material was dumped in that area that all the trees died.
And their leaves turned red, just like they do in autumn.
I am standing on the stage of the old Pripyat theater.
There is something about this place that just ... I can picture the scene.
I can picture it here: a packed house, all the great Russian productions that were staged
here.
And you look around at all the old lights and the layers upon layers of walkways they
would have used.
This is a pretty amazing location.
This is my favorite place so far, nothing radioactive.
It is just an amazing look at the past of this place.
Everything is so recognizable and so familiar and yet it is being destroyed.
It is crumbling and nature is reclaiming this whole area.
This is what the world would look like if man disappeared one day all of a sudden.
This is what it would look like 30 years later.
I filmed this video while shooting a documentary for TV all about how uranium has shaped the
modern world.
For details about when and where that will be broadcast, check out the description.
And thank you to everyone for writing in to request that this be broadcast in your area.
We are working as hard as we can to make that happen and/or to make it available online,
because I know most of you watch most of your content online just like I do.
So we will try to make that happen.
You know, I really want to thank you for supporting me, because I think without your support and
the support of my long time sponsor, Audible.com, I don't think I would have been selected as
the host for this documentary.
And this is the part where I tell you about Audible, the leading provider of audio books
in all areas of literature.
It has got hundreds of thousands of titles in fiction, non-fiction and periodicals.
This week I wanted to recommend to you a fiction book, which is The Martian by Andy Weir.
If you thought that that was an alien landscape—what you just saw—imagine what would really happen
if there was a disaster on another world.
It is an awesome book and will be made into a movie later this year.
So you probably want to read it or listen to it before that happens.
And you can download this book for free by going to Audible.com/Veritasium or you can
pick any other book of your choosing for a one month free trial.
So I really want to thank Audible for supporting me.
And I want to thank you so much for watching.