The Top Secret Military Base Hidden in Chernobyl's Irradiated Forest

A Soviet military base in Ukraine was so secret that it was identified as a children’s camp on maps. That all changed on April 26, 1986, when the nearby Chernobyl nuclear reactor suffered a an explosion in reactor number four. The installation was immediately abandoned, and never used again. All that anyone knew about it before that was the mysterious radio signals known as the Woodpecker signal.

The purpose of the Russian Woodpecker remained a mystery. Conspiracy theories ranged from Soviet mind control to weather experiments. Then came the collapse of the Soviet Union, which revealed that the Russian Woodpecker was at the forefront of what is known as “over the horizon” radar, designed to provide early warning of an inter continental ballistic missile attack. The Duga-3 (Eastern) radar broadcasting the Woodpecker signal was located in the forests surrounding Chernobyl.

Luke Spencer ventured into the Exclusion Zone and found the Duga-3 radar base. Read about his adventure and see the pictures he took at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Luke Spencer)

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