In shadow of Chernobyl: how the young generation of the inhabitants of Slavutych radioactive corrects the mistakes of the pastPictolic
After the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant the residents of nearby settlements were evacuated and the area around the plant became derelict and dangerous no-go zone. But after the explosion there was a new settlement, almost all the inhabitants of which were busy work on an abandoned nuclear power plant. In Slavutych employment was based around Chernobyl. Now a new protective structure over the sarcophagus of the NPP is completed, and radioactive waste no longer fall into the local water sources.
About six thousand people spent the last six years for the construction of a new protective constructions, which is a huge vault with a height of 120 meters over the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. About the future of the environment in this region can be calm, but the future residents of Slavutych is now in question.
Swedish photographer Nils Ackermann spent four years watching the life of a young generation of citizens and how they turned from restless partygoers from soft drugs to hard-working employees, producing bread for their families and correcting the effects of one of the worst disasters in modern history.
When Niels came here, it was hard to imagine that this generation of people will take the responsibility for saving the environment. He was watching the life of a girl named Julia, who loved loud parties in the close company of friends. Several brave images show wild leisure of the company, where alcohol flows and drugs have become commonplace.
Photographs taken the next morning, the heroes of the photo project often with a hangover and surrounded by mountains of empty bottles and cans.
As time went on, the characters of the photographer grew up and learnt to work together with many other residents of Slavutych, helping to build a new protective structure, and getting used to adult life.
Niels Ackermann said: "at First it was a lot of booze, lots of parties with alcohol and sometimes with drugs. But then I watched them grow, form a pair. Flirtation turned into a serious relationship."
"For example, Julia, the heroine of photos, got married, and shortly before my departure divorced. It has been fascinating to observe the way of life of these people, as they go through the same thing and each of us," says the photographer.
Slavutich was built for the employees of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, who were engaged in the production of electricity at the station until 2000, despite the fact that the accident at the fourth reactor had occurred in 1986. When electricity generation is stopped, the prospects of the city was called into question while in the middle of zero no approved plan for the construction of new protective structures.
Now construction is completed, and about 3,500 people will lose their jobs. But Nils Ackermann hoped that in the future they will all fit well. "There is no clear future for the town. The large number of people who lose their jobs, given that the population of the city is only about 25 thousand people," says Nils.
"Often when we think of Ukraine, we think about it in a negative light, with bad stereotypes, but I see this as a positive. Many of these people were accountants, journalists, anyone, but they gave up their career for the sake of honestly paid work. I'm not optimistic about the future of this town, but I'm positive about the future of these young workers."
"It is very symbolic that they fix what generation their parents left broken, and everything during the revolution. They are just one example of how young people across the country working to build a more secure and ambitious Ukraine", — said the photographer.