VR Tour Offered Three Decades After Chernobyl Disaster
Wojciech Pazdur was only nine years old when the disaster in Chernobyl happened on April 26, 1986. His father was a nuclear physician in Poland who said something bad happened when his equipment went crazy on the day of the disaster. The nuclear power plant in the city of Pripyat exploded, which sent radioactive debris up into the sky above Europe. Emergency crews worked feverishly to deal with the radioactivity and control the catastrophe.
Three decades later Pazdur and his team visited the city to produce a VR 3D video of the area. A 360-degree trailer was released by the group to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the disaster that killed 31 people. The trailer allows viewers to explore the remains of the abandoned city that serve as home to close to 50,000 individuals.
The team is a part of a Reality 51, a video game development company based in Poland. Pazdur works as the creative director of the company. Photogrammetry as used in the creation of a 3D version of Pripyat and Chernobyl. The method requires photographing and laser scanning the area.
A trailer lasting for three minutes and forty seconds was released on YouTube by the company. The project was initially aimed at providing people videos of places where they can never visit in their lives. The team initially thought it would be a fun project, but after interviewing people in Ukraine they started to understand the seriousness of the incident.
Pazdur said it was important to bring attention to the disaster that happened three decades ago. Most of the proceeds of the project will be donated to charities offering support to the victims of the disaster.
The “liquidators” were the people who were most affected by the disaster. These include soldiers, medical personnel, firefighters and local residents who worked on containing the disaster. Pazdur said the liquidators did not use protective suits and could only work at forty seconds at a time due to the high levels of radioactivity. He said some of them did not wear the suits since they did not want to scare the other workers. Many of the liquidators were exposed to high radiation levels without any idea about the danger they were facing.
Immediate after the explosion in Chernobyl, over 200 people exhibited signs of acute radiation sickness. Thirty one died within three months. Thousands were also affected by the radiation that resulted to birth defects and serious illnesses in the last three decades.