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Ukraine. Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The Duga 3 military antenna is a huge radar antenna 150 meters high and 500 meters in length with buildings, and was part of the anti-missile defence system that would track any missiles from the USA.
The Zone

The Zone

Ukraine. Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The Duga 3 military antenna is a huge radar antenna 150 meters high and 500 meters in length with buildings, and was part of the anti-missile defence system that would track any missiles from the USA.

Life after death in Chernobyl

After the Chernobyl nuclear accident, which occurred on 26 April 1986, the Soviet government created a 30km exclusion zone around the plant and evacuated the 116,000 residents. The area around the plant became a dead zone. Despite being one of the most contaminated places in the world, it is far from deserted.

For the past 20 years, Pierpaolo Mittica has documented what happens inside the area known as “The Zone”. He has collected the stories of those who gravitate to this place: those who have always refused to leave, those who have returned to live there, or the 2,000 or so people who continue to work there to keep it safe.

A derelict fairground in Pripyat, 3km from Chernobyl

Hasidic Jews pray at the tomb of Rabbi Menachem Nachum Twersky, founder of Hasidic Judaism, at Chernobyl’s synagogue

Rusting ships in the harbour at Chernobyl
Sasha and son Igor at home in Radinka, just outside the zone

Inside Reactor No. 3 at Chernobyl, which was not destroyed in the blast and continued to operate until 2000
“Stalkers” Jimmy, Sasha and Maxim in their apartment in Pripyat. Stalkers are organised like paramilitary groups and illegally enter the exclusion zone to play survival games
Oksana and her son Igor in their home in Radinka

The control room of Reactor No. 2, which was eventually shut down in 1991. The three intact reactors were not closed immediately as the Soviet Union needed the power

The abandoned part of the village of Radinka

A selfie from the roof of a building in Pripyat with distant views of the abandoned nuclear power plant
The Chernobyl exclusion zone.

All photographs by Pierpaolo Mittica/Parallelozero Photo Agency