Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant, Cuba

on a visit to cuba, i heard about an abandoned nuclear power plant left over from the cold war era.

i decided to check it out.

construction of the juragua nuclear power plant started in 1983 and would have supplied energy to 15% of the island. in 1992, a few years before completion, construction was halted after soviet economic aid was terminated at the end of the cold war and collapse of the soviet union.

Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant
juragua nuclear power plant

i was always fascinated with abandoned and crumbling buildings and this seemed like a really rare opportunity, so i had to take the chance. urbex has pushed this more into the mainstream and has given it a defined terminology, but in reality it’s not any different than exploring ancient tourists sights like the pyramids or machu pichu. the only difference is the amount of time that has passed.

i think for me this represented a tragic summary to the end of the cold war. so much effort was put into making each other fail, when it would have been easier to help each other.

from cienfuegos, i managed to hitch a ride to a nearby town…
definitely one of the coolest journeys ever.
after that it was very hot one hour walk to the road that led to the plant.

and then i just walked right in.

Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant
juragua nuclear power plant

i honestly wish i had more of an epic story of crawling through sewers, scaling a cliff, fighting ninjas and outrunning rabid dogs.
but i have nothing…
i literally just walked right in.

i thought my best option when trying to sneak in was to play dumb.
i knew i would be good at it.
years of practice.

Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant
viva fidel

it was such a ridiculously hot day that i guess the guards never expected anyone to just wander in.

i walked down the broken tarmac road, past what should have been the guards checkpoint and straight towards the main dome. it’s a massive, skeletal building. i figured i had a limited time to take photos, so i took as many as i could as fast as i could.

it is a wide open space and i figured i would easily be spotted, so i quickly headed to the main building. it was a massive structure and i figured it would give me some cover so i could snap a few more photos and have a look around. it worked. at least temporarily.

Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant
juragua abandoned nuclear power plant

eventually, a guard found me as i tried to enter the main turbine hall.
i think he was more confused than anything. so i quickly muttered in my worst spanish that i was really hot and i was looking for a shop to buy water.
this definitely confused him even more.
mission accomplished.

Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant

i rambled some more about the hot weather, my walk, the ninjas and where the nearest shop was…
i think he just got fed up with how stupid i was and escorted me out.
i couldn’t believe my luck.

i made it out, back on the road and walked as quickly as i could to the next town.

Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant

i definitely recommend hitch-hiking around cuba. lots of cubans hitch, so it’s a great way to see the country and meet people. havana is a true highlight and definitely lives up to all the hype. santa clara is great for the che history. and visiting the bay of pigs and scuba diving there is a unique experience as well.

Classic car on the streets of Havana
streets of havana

here are my other obligatory cuban pics:
– che guevara square and mausoleum, santa clara
– random missile
– and obviously a cigar pic.

Hand rolled cigar factory
cigar factory
Che Guevara Square and Mausoleum, Santa Clara
che guevara square and mausoleum, santa clara
random rocket

if you have time, please see my jonestown and nigerian film studios urbex blogs.

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