A whole lot of you just got deja vu looking at the above picture. Specifically, those of you who have played Call of Duty 4, as there is an entire level that takes place there. If you thought the idea of a completely silent, abandoned, radioactive city was typical video game apocalyptic fantasy, you were wrong.
Prypiat is in the northern Ukraine and once housed the workers and scientists of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant. Founded in the 70s, it held as many as 50,000 people. Then in 1986, according to a footnote in the official Soviet records, there was a small malfunction in the Chernobyl reactor, so for safety reasons the city was evacuated.
Since then, Prypiat has been desolated, its buildings decaying, the giant Ferris Wheel just standing there all alone with nobody to ride it. The city actually had an entire amusement park for the families of the Chernobyl employees. Because when you are living next to a nuclear reactor which was outdated even by 1986 Soviet standards, the only thing on your mind is bumper cars.
The city is located in what is known as the Zone of Alienation, the 30-kilometer radius directly affected by the Chernobyl “minor technical difficulty” over 20 years ago. Despite that, Prypiat is now opened to the public because the radiation levels have apparently went down significantly over the years. We guess we have a different view on radiation than the government of Ukraine. They obviously have a scale for it, while we consider any radiation a very bad thing.
Aside from the inherent risk of getting bit by a radioactive snail and becoming the lamest superhero ever, there is another reason why you will never see us among the tourists occasionally visiting Prypiat.