What is Chernobyl?
Chernobyl is a wold-famous site in Ukraine where a nuclear power plant once operated. Located in the then USSR, Chernobyl encountered a huge disaster when one of the reactors exploded in 1986. This caused a catastrophic event where huge amounts of radiation was released from the reactors into the atmosphere and surrounding areas. This meant that a 10km radius was set up around the nuclear power plant, with people having to be evacuated. This exclusion zone was later expanded to a 30km radius.
Why visit Chernobyl?
The disaster recently became the subject of a HBO mini-series, which saw a boost to tourism in the area.
There are many different things which bring tourists to the area. Some are fascinated over the abandoned city, with traces of human life being overrun by nature and the forest regrowing. Others are interested in the culture which was frozen in time 30 years ago, providing a glimpse into the soviet era and of a culture that no longer exists.
When visiting Chernobyl, you will be able to see the town of Pripyat and also the main power plant. However, stick to the safe zones, as advised by your tour guide.
Is Chernobyl safe?
Although Chernobyl’s exclusion zone still exists for good reason due to the harmful levels of radiation, tourists visiting for a few days bare little risk of radiation damage. In fact, the levels of radiation that you will encounter are often compared to the same low levels that you may be exposed to when going on a transatlantic flight. Some areas, such as the main power plant centre are off-limits to the public and visitors, because this is deemed to be unsafe levels or radiation. However, if you visit with a guide then you are able to keep to the safe areas. Upon exiting the exclusion zone, the levels of radiation on you will be measured to ensure that you are safe to exit.