History 8.10.2013
4min read

Chernobyl 2 – (Чернобыль – 2)

In the woods about 10 kilometres south from Chernobyl nuclear power plant there is a top secret object, Chernobyl-2, also called Duga. It’s one of the three Soviet ‘over the horizon’ radar stations of the system of early detection against attacks of ballistic rockets.

This system was beginning to be developed in the Soviet Union in the 1950’s during the cold war. First experimental devices of this type started to originate in the Soviet Union during the 1960’s, however, they skirmished with a number of technical problems and were not able to really capture the danger, therefore, questions of their ability to operate in the enemies area were not solved. The first really functional systems were successfully designed at the end of the 1960’s.

The first experimental system DUGA-1 (Дуга) has been constructed near the town Mikolaiv (Миколаїв) in Ukraine and was able to successfully discover rocket launches from cosmodrome Bajkonur, over 2500 km away. This system was followed by a second prototype of DUGA, which was built in the same place. It was possible to monitor the launch of the rockets from the Far East and a movement of submarines in the Pacific Ocean. Both systems levelled at East and were a relatively small delivery. However, works on an upgradet operation system DUGA (sometimes referred as Duga-3) has started with a proven concept, which turned to West and was also called The Moscow Eye – this were objects Komsomolsk on Amur (Комсомольск на Амуре) and Chernobyl-2. DUGA was supposed to facilitate monitoring of space in Europe as well as potential enemies targets in North America.


They started to built the Radar station Chernobyl-2 in 1970 and as part of this station there was also a small town close to a garrison of the radar station for families. The garrison held about one thousand people.

The metal construction of the radar aerial is composed of two parts, a low-frequency antenna with a height of 135 – 150 meters and length of almost 500 meters. There’s also a high-frequency antenna with a height of 100 meters and length of 250 meters. Obviously the antenna also had a few other supporting buildings for technical tasks, the operating technique and the control centre of the radar. The object is easily visible even from a far due to is huge size. It is also necessary to mention that this device was only a receiver and to this receiver belongs a broadcaster antenna, which is located in Chernihiv area (Чернігівська область) in the complex Lubech (Любеч) 60 kilometres from Chernobyl. This antenna was not as large as the receiver and it was removed in the 1990’s

DUGA radar required for its functioning high input about 10 Mw. Among other things, but also because of this it is located in the neighborhood of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which started to be built simultaneously with it. According to some sources the costs of the radar was about 7milliard Soviet rubles. To give an example of the cost, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant cost only half this.


It was found out during examinable operation in the 1970’s and 80’s that it is necessary to solve the problem of disturbing frequencies. While operating they disturbed radio frequencies beyond that of the Soviet Union and this characteristic sound was nicknamed in western countries as the Russian Woodpecker.

It was also necessary to solve the problem with concourse of working frequencies of DUGA and civil air forces. These problems were solved by modernisation of the system in 1985 – 1986 and afterwards the system was officially adopted as a part of the air protection of USSR.

After the adoption in 1986 the functioning was interrupted because of the accident to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on 26th April 1986 and to the end of 1987 the system was partially preserved. Consequently together with the final decision of closing the zone in the surrounding of the nuclear power plant, the operation was also finally closed. Some important and expensive parts of the system were removed and moved to the object Komsomolsk in Amur. At this present time, the object Chernobyl-2 is left abandoned to the same fate as other objects inside the closed Chernobyl zone.

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