35 Years After Chernobyl – What the City of Pripyat Looks Like Today

Grandpa Savva and his wife Elena, Novoshepelichi village (Photo: Twitter)

However, outside the 6-mile zone (the 10-kilometer radius around Chernobyl that is the most contaminated), about 180 people, called selfsettlers, defied the laws barring them from their homes and returned to their rural lives. They have been warned of the risks, but the Soviet, then Ukrainian, government decided it was better to allow them the freedom to make that choice rather than forcibly remove them from their native villages.

Photo: Shutterstock

Refugees from Pripyat couldn’t stay in temporary housing forever, and the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant still needed workers. All those people and their families needed a place to call home, close enough to commute to work at the plant.