31 Years Later, the Lights Come Back on in Chernobyl

Polish adventurers entered the town of Pripyat in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and turned on lights for the first time since the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Photo from Napromieniowani's Facebook page.

On April 26, 1986, a nuclear meltdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine caused radioactive material to be spewed into the atmosphere, exposing hundreds of thousandsif not millions—of people in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe to extremely high doses of radiation.

The effects of the nuclear fallout are still being felt: more than 500,000 people in Belarus, the country most affected by the disaster, have thyroid problems stemming from Chernobyl radiation, and more than 2 million people live in areas of the country that put them at high risk of contamination.

Last week, on the eve of the 31st anniversary of the disaster, a group of Polish adventurers decided to turn the lights back on in Pripyat, a radioactive ghost town located three miles from the Chernobyl reactor. Pripyat was evacuated the day after the meltdown and has been abandoned ever since—though it has become the center of the disaster tourism industry that has developed in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

The lights come on at a school in Pripyat.

Using generators, the Poles were able to electrify some of Pripyat's buildings, lighting up the abandoned city for the first time in more than 3 decades. The adventurers posted the photos on the Facebook page they curate, Napromieniowani.pl.

This post has been updated to provide proper attribution for the photographs. They were originally posted on Napromieniowani.pl, and are republished here with permission.


  • First you just take these photos (some of those are taken by me), write a short sumarize based on our text, then you publish the content WITHOUT any attribution to the creators, going as far as removing watermarks from the photos. WTF is wrong with you?! Have you ever heard a term “copyright”? FYI: what you just did is illegal.

    This is the original post:

    • Marc

      Anything posted on facebook is considered to be open source information, any pictures posted on facebook are considered international public property. I agree that it is shitty that he didn’t credit you, but it is far from illegal.

  • This pictures is from Napromieniowani.pl website and has been posted without the author’s permission – the author, Adam Bojanowski from above-mentioned website. You only need to ask or AT LEAST provide a link with the information about the source. It is not demanding, and you will appreciate the effort we put in working on Napromieniowani.pl.

    • Hi Krystian,

      We found these pictures on Russian websites that had reported on the appearance of the images on social media without crediting the source; we did not realize that the original post came from Napromieniowani.pl. We have reached out to you on Facebook to correct the error. We regret this mistake and will work to rectify it immediately.

      All the best wishes,
      RuNet Echo

  • That one Dude

    “On April 26, 1986…”
    “Last week, on the eve of the 31st anniversary of the disaster….”
    “Posted 19 April 2017 16:02 GMT”

    Job well done.

  • Wesley Adam irvine

    Did they power the Farris Wheel?

  • D Lode

    I did the same thing in an old abandoned hospital. It’s a neat experience

  • Jason

    Urban photographers are screwing things up for urban explorers by publishing stuff like this all for their 15 seconds of fame. This quest for recognition gets things locked back up and reinforced, security checkpoints put in and cameras installed. I know this because some selfish photographer got every rooftop tower locked up where I live. It happened after he published in the local newspaper and started selling his prints online.

    I’ve wanted to visit Chernobyl for years. Thanks Marcin for jeopardizing that dream.

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