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Claw Of Chernobyl Deemed The Most Dangerous Thing On The Site

Claw Of Chernobyl Deemed The Most Dangerous Thing On The Site

Although the disaster happened 33 years ago, it's still highly radioactive

Amelia Ward

Amelia Ward

Sitting in the forest on the outskirts of Pripyat, the 'Claw' was abandoned after the Chernobyl disaster and never moved.

The Claw is a large peice of machinery, attached to a crane and used in the weeks that followed the disaster in 1986. It was used to pick up the graphite and material that exploded out of reactor four and on to the surrounding areas of the power plant.


When it was no longer useful, the Claw was taken off the crane. It's one of the most radioactive relics of the incident, and when workers at the time were unsure where to leave it. Too dangerous to be left anywhere else, they hid it deep in the forest, hoping it would never be found.

Only a few tour guides know where the Claw is located, and hardly anyone requests access to it. Not surprising given it is highly contaminated.

But, as with most parts of the site, there is a fascination that continues on.

Australian archaeologist Robert Maxwell has been to Chernobyl twice and said how important the Claw's work was.

Speaking to, he said: "The three rooftops alongside the exploded reactor four were, at the time, the most lethally dangerous places on earth. One of the rooftops was measuring in the tens of thousands of roentgen, which was the measurement of radioactivity back then.

Reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl power plant.

"When reactor four of Chernobyl exploded, it liberated the lid of the reactor vessel. This 6-10 tonne concrete roof was blown into the air and then landed vertically into the hole. All of the control rods, the graphite, the fuel rods and everything else blew out of the reactor and landed on the rooftops nearby.

"So imagine someone trying to stand on a rooftop that was so radioactive that it could give you such acute radiation sickness that you basically cook yourself and die. So this Claw was deeply involved in all the intensely radioactive material as it moved the material back into the core. To say the Claw is highly radioactive and dangerous is not an exaggeration."

Fuelled by HBO's critically acclaimed series Chernobyl, tourists have had their curiosity ignited with people flocking to the site.

Martin Duben is part of the team behind CHERNOBYLwel.come, one of the tour operators taking anyone willing into the exclusion zone.

Whilst exact figures are not available, Martin told LADbible that around 75,000 people went to the area last year, with around 100,000 expected in 2019.

He said: "It depends what time of the year you go, the spring and autumn are crowded - months April, May, September and October there are thousands of visitors per weekend.

"The ghost town of Pripyat is not a ghost town at all, you have a hard time trying to take a picture where there is no-one there. There's too many tourists."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, Chernobyl