A fish farm prior to the disaster the buildings were re-used as a radiological laboratory up until 1996. Located alongside the picturesque shoreline of one of the man-made cooling lakes a number of rusting fish pens still remain in place along its banks.
Entry into the lab is through a side window which, although not difficult, is rare here. The window leads into a room containing a number of bottled fish specimens. Preserved in recycled food jars the majority of the fish appear to be in remarkably good condition (although the fish themselves look far from impressed). In the same room lockers, their doors open, are stacked full of empty water and vodka bottles. Bagged soil samples are piled up on windowsill of the room next door and throughout the building the floor is covered in thick clear plastic to aid cleaning.
To the rear of the lab is a long wooden outbuilding. Housing rows of stacked animal cages the scratch marks of their former inhabitants are clear to see. Continuing through the shed there are many large water tanks and equipment in the sections that follow, presumably dating from its original use as a fish hatchery. Exiting through the back of the shed the lonely sight of a Zil fire engine greets me. Behind the Zil is a trailer containing what appears to be a giant washing machine. An assortment of slowly disintegrating clothing covers the trailer floor. Towards the lake a long-beached boat points skywards in the direction of the power plants. As I return to the lab I pass, almost hidden from view by the trees, a monument to the Great Patriotic War, a long faded wreath decaying at its base.
- Long-term observation of radioactivity contamination in fish around Chernobyl (PDF) – Igor N. Ryabov
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