Kopachi, Ukraine is a village located almost in the heart of the exclusion zone – just a couple of minutes of driving from the power plant. It wasn’t very big: a bit more than 1,000 people used to live there. Today you’ll not see any of their private houses in the village, but still will be impressed by its history.
Why Kopachi Village is Buried
Despite the proximity to the epicenter of the accident, people were evacuated from the village just in the beginning of May 1986. It was never re-inhabited as some village of the 30km zone. Moreover, Kopachi is one of three villages in the zone that were buried under the ground.
In case of Kopachi, burying was needed because of contamination and the material the houses were made of – wood. Wooden constructions had particles not only on the surface, but absorbed them as well. Liquidators were afraid: if there had been forest fire nearby, all those houses would have burnt and released the particles into the atmosphere. So, the liquidators made a decision to knock down all the buildings and bury them under the ground.
Though, a few exceptions were made. The buildings that were made out of bricks didn’t absorb particles and could be easily decontaminated. So, there are post office, farm buildings and kindergarten left in the village. Only the kindergarten is included into official route.
This is one of the spookiest places that you can see in a one day tour. First of all, you will be shown a couple of the hotspots by the kindergarten. The level of radiation that you’ll measure there will be 100 times higher than normal atmospheric level (don’t worry, it is still safe to be in Kopachi and to approach those hotspots, but don’t step on them neither put your belongings.
The kindergarten is pretty small, but anyway it was luxury thing for the village. Tiny beds with a few pillows on them left inside. There are some kids’ toys there as well. Some of them were brought outside, so don’t be surprised by the doll sitting on the ground and welcoming you as you approach the building.
Despite being the only location visitors can take in this village, it gives a lot of impressions. You can get detailed explanation of decontamination process, about the spreading of radiation and hotspots or simply take the time to get amazing footage there.