Chernobyl Abandoned Vehicles

Satellite image from above

“Rassokha” is the storage area for vehicles contaminated by radiation, that were used by liquidators after the accident in Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant. It is located in the 30-kilometer exclusion zone near an abandoned village with the same name.

During the Chernobyl catastrophe there were hundreds of army vehicles, including combat vehicles, tanks and helicopters used to operate in first days of the disaster in Pripyat.
All those vehicles became very radioactively polluted and afterwards they were all stored on a special strip of land in the Zone.
Apparently their engines and wiring were removed despite this. Remeber this for later…

An assortment of helicopters, construction vehicles and maintenance vehicles.

A slightly higher up shot.

Soviet Mil Mi-6 helicopter. This was used alongside the Mil Mi-26 helicopter however most of those were recovered and returned.

I believe these are BRDM-2 based on the angles on the front.

Another Mi-6.

The removed engines as mentioned above.

The BRDM was actively used after the accident. The armor reduced the level of gamma radiation. It was also equipped with a built-in radiometer. Typically, such vehicles were used for radiation detection and level measurements on the ground.

A cabin of an ZIL-157.

A heavy engineering vehicle.
In 1986-1987 these monsters were irreplaceable. The thick armor protected against radiation while they they were cutting down a “Red Forest”. Many villages were buried by them.

The remains of a GAZ-66 “Shishiga”

Some ZIL-131’s

A path goes to the nearest residential village, from where citizens carried on their illegal business in “Rassokha” for years. They were stealing metal to earn a penny for food and vodka.

A crane.

Tanks for gasoline.

A pathway maker “BAT”.

They all are gone!

Some people suspect that they were stolen. Others say it might be used by Ukrainian army during recent conflicts, as the argument they post a video from Donetsk or somewhere near with a captured radioactive tank:

Others tell the stories how the vehicles were already heavily looted for parts despite they were guarded pretty much. However during recent years the radioactive auto parts surfaced a few times on the market in Ukraine. So others now afraid that all this metal could be scrapped and now used in recycled new products in Ukraine or Russia.

Source - Hundreds of Radioactive Combat Vehicles Disappeared from Chernobyl - English Russia
Source 2 - Radioactively Contaminated Vehicles Storage near Chernobyl - English Russia

_Taken from:
Something very much important to know


I can’t believe how much the STALKER game series got right in terms of atmosphere.

PS Anyone want to buy a radioactive tank?



So I’m not an expert on radiation. Does it permeate the metal and make it radioactive or is it the residue? Also, I’m curious what the half life of the worst types of particles they would be carrying would be. 100 years? 1,000? Also…if metal is melted down, does the radioactivity stay with the “slag” or does it get burned off? So many questions…

Fascinating photos…

I remember reading this story about the men who performed the work: The Liquidators

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High energy particles will “activate” the metal- most elements have radioactive isotopes that can form, and will have different half-lives and decay modes. As for the worst offenders, Cobalt-60 is one of the usual worse offenders- it emits scads of high energy beta particles. I’ll make a note to do some more research on likely radionuclides when I get home tonight.

Now, the question about activated material transferring if it’s melted down: yes, that’s a possibility, and depending on the mode of decay of the material, it could also activate other metals or alloys it comes into contact with.

I’ll add more when I get home, along with some numbers and links.


@Navynuke99 Wowza, good to have a Nuclear Engineer among us! :smiley:

I start believing that Mudspike is becoming the perfect think-tank in case of any kind of Apocalypse!


I’m no matter expert either, but I did pass my high school physics and chemistry exam :stuck_out_tongue: I’ll see if I can help shed some light.

Technically, both. Practicly it’s mostly the residue. typically only the inside of the reactor suffers the effects from induced radiation. So unless someone was inside the NPP terrain or perhaps close to the chernobyl elephant foot (the leaked lava out of the reactor core) I doubt they would suffer to much induced radiation.

From the stuff that got out into the atmosphere it’s probably Caesium Ce-137 that lasts the longest with a halflife of 30 years. That and Strontium Sr-90 wich has a halflife of about 28 years are probably what keeps the Zone for what it is. Note that there are nuclear fuels like Uranium U-238 wich remain radioactive for billions of years if left in a natural state of decay. Not to mention that they decay into products that are radioactive, that decay into products that are radioactive and so on for almost 2 dozen steps untill you finally get stable Lead.[quote=“BeachAV8R, post:4, topic:1871”]
does the radioactivity stay with the “slag” or does it get burned off?

Not possible to burn off radiation. It happens on a whole lower level of physics than where burning occurs.


Not sure how accurate this one is. But since its 30 years


Wow @Sargoth That’s surreal!:anguished:

I tried ‘snopes’ing’ this one, but no luck. Sounds like a raw deal for all:

After the 1st explosion Geiger counters in the control room read 3.6 - a safe unit. They were only designed to go up to 3.6 - the real reading was 15,000.

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It sounds right. Different detectors measure on different scales, since they’d be detecting different things.

Don’t think they expected 15,000 whatevermeasure (guessing µS) on normal operations :wink:

I guess if it was a physical needle and it was stuck hard to the right on 3.6 then that makes sense. I do wonder if it could have had a right hand scale that went to ‘unsafe’ though, as a ‘safe and really safe’ range seems unoptimal. :slight_smile:

Fascinating stuff, would liked to have done one of those exclusion zone tours now its all a bit safer, loved Stalker of course and even found the movie Chernobyl Diaries quite enjoyable, really much better than I expected actually given its IMDB score.

Really do like stuff like this, that Urban Exploration site 28 Days Later can soak up hours for me!

Heh, I remember playing the first Stalker.

Boy oh Boy- talk about immersion.
It’s still among the only three games I’ve ever played that truly had a psychological effect on me.
Stunning to say the least, never mind all the small (and not so small) bugs.


You should download Lost Alpha, which were trying to do the hardcore alpha demo that was showcased before the release of STALKER.

It’s pretty good.


Came over a couple of Imgur albums about the Chernobyl accident. It’s a nice quick introduction at what happened.

Part 1:

part 2:

part 3:

Fourth one hasn’t been made yet


(again, my avatar is pretty relevant! :smile:)

Now, if just there was Co-Op…

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µS? You mean microsieverts, µSv? A good guess but I don’t think that’s the case :stuck_out_tongue: 15 000 µSv is not even 25% of the highest dose of radiation you can receive when you’re getting an X-ray in the hospital. Not quite a dose I’d expect to see during a nuclear meltdown inside the nuclear powerplant. There’s many units to measure radioactivity, and many can be affixed with mili, mega, micro or something else to make it safe at 3,6 but lethal at 15 000. Not to mention what happens when you add a time to the unit as well.

If I where allowed a guess, it would go to rem. Perhaps rem/day. rem was the standard unit of equivalent dose when the powerplant was constructed and commissioned. A 3,6 rem/d radiation level would equate to an intolerable risk to the health of the powerplant workers under otherwise normal conditions, increasing risk of cancers by over 0,15% for every day worked at the plant. Not safe but absolutely not a bad deal to get away with during a nuclear meltdown. like @fearlessfrog stated I don’t believe they would use a useless instrument that can only indicate safe. When exposed to 15 000 rem/d. You will receive a lethal dose of radiation in 3 minutes. Sounds plausible to me during a meltdown. And sort of checks out with the 40 second liquidator story. (quick note that with this unit, day equates to 8 hours)

A needle stuck hard on a side should raise a red flag in any case. I think the device that may have been used is a Geiger-counter. Geiger counters are useful in that they are fairly cheap and detect pretty much all types of ionizing radiation. α,β and amongst other types less important when dealing with nuclear materials like X-rays. There are some disadvantages though. A geiger counter cannot rate the specific energy level of the radiation. And between each detection, the Geiger counter needs a short time to reset itself. I think it’s the last issue that caused the false readout. Since this means there’s a maximum level of radiation that can be detected per time-unit while the real radiation might be higher.

I might have to retract an earlier statement. I thought the vehicles had been used to evacuate civilians and personel and such but apperently they spent over a week flying directly above the reactor pouring in materials to cover the thing up. So I’ll have to admit the vehicles themselves might suffer induced radiation aswell.

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Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve dabled in radiation. It’s either Roentgen (exposure) or Roentgen equivalent man (REM - dose equivalent)

Think Sievert is more used today. But don’t quote me on that

I’ll throw this one up as well

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