I'll Be Home Soon
During radioactive decay, an unstable atom releases excess energy in order to become stable.
At the time of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe in 1986 the city of Pripyat had a population of around 50,000. Today, a thirty-kilometer exclusion zone surrounds the nuclear power station's site. The short-lived radioisotopes have decayed away while longer living radioisotopes remain. The radioactive contamination is dispersed sporadically with some areas are safe to visit temporarily. Long-term human habitation is illegal. In spite of this some 300 elderly samosets (self-settlers) live a semi-legal life in the exclusion zone, quietly growing their own food in the troubled soil.
In the year 2000, the remaining reactors at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant ceased operations. The equipment is currently being decommissioned, with plans to clear the site by 2065. Around 4,000 people work in Chernobyl. They are scientists performing research at the site and its surrounding areas, construction workers building the second shelter structure around the damaged reactor #4, administrative officials and other maintenance and cleanup workers.
In some regards, it may be difficult to accept that life goes on in Chernobyl. The scarred landscape of the exclusion zone is constantly striving for a state of stability and equilibrium, from the ecological level to the subatomic. This landscape is gradually being reborn into an entirely new kind of human settlement.