“Chernobyl is a more lively place than you might imagine: Nowadays it is repopulated with 500 people, many of them scientists,” wrote Suess after his trip in March 2009. That's about one percent of what Pripyat's pre-disaster population used to be at 50,000. Besides scientists, he encountered looters and nuclear workers who still work at the plants, which are to be completely decommissioned by 2020.
However, the city still poses danger to its inhabitants with its high radiation levels. “The average radiation level in the field is around 50 uSv/h (300-500 times higher than normal) with pockets of up to 10 000 (50 000 – 100 000 times higher than normal),”wrote Suess. Consequently, those found within the radiation zone fall into either of two categories: “radiophobes” and “radioenthusiasts.”
In two weeks, it will be 26 years since Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded on April 26, 1986, so we thought it time to take another look at Suess's photos