UARU
Chernobyl Through Decades: Life and Work
26 April, 2018

Today, almost 2,500 people work at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station. They are overseeing the process of decommissioning the power station. They work in shifts and live in the surrounding areas of Chernobyl, in Slavutych.   

Almost 100 “self-settlers” live in Chernobyl today. Some returned straight away, and others returned decades after the catastrophe.

Mykhailo Shylan is 80 years old. He moved to a village outside Bila Tserkva with his family in 1986, but came back to Chernobyl in 2000.

“My wife died eight years ago, my daughter lives in Vyshneve, on the ninth floor. And Mykhailo is here alone in Chernobyl, he’s not going anywhere. Last week, my daughter came and helped me plant potatoes. Good quality, large potatoes grow here. I’m not afraid because there is no radiation here.”

Anton Povar, a specialist at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station’s department of international cooperation and information, has worked there for five years: “All the staff have taken technical exams in radiation safety. People are afraid of what they don’t know. We know what to be afraid of, we know what the risks are, everyone sets their own limits. For me, it’s just work,” Povar says.  

READ MORE: New Life near the Exclusion Zone