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Chernobyl control room now is open to tourists
Posted on 12/10/2019


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The hit HBO show Chernobyl has increased the disaster site's popularity among tourists.

After years of operating as an off-the-grid attraction, Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky declared in June that Chernobyl would be treated as a bonafide tourist site. But despite its widespread popularity even before the hit HBO series, the site's Reactor 4 had remained off-limits to everyone but researchers and a handful of maintenance workers.


Reactor 4 is the site of the catastrophic explosion that occurred on April 26, 1986, and it has been closed to the public since then. But now tourists can spend five minutes inside the reactor's control room, shielded by a helmet, mask and protective suit. They also must undergo two radiology tests upon leaving to measure their exposure levels.

While exposure to large amounts of radiation can increase the risk of some cancers, lead to tissue damage, cause acute sickness, and even result in death, the Ukranian government has declared that when the proper precautions are taken the open areas are safe. Tourists must follow their tour guide at all times and follow the marked route as some areas are still closed to the public.

Sergei Sosnitsky/123rf

The vehicle graveyard or machine cemetery located in Rossokha village is one such area. This is where a number of machines and vehicles used during the rescue operations were dumped after becoming contaminated by radioactivity.

The HBO series Chernobyl caused a 30% increase in tourism to Pripyat, and the renewed interest in the tragedy convinced the Ukranian government to invest in its legitimacy as a tourist attraction. Numerous tour companies are capitalizing on its rise in popularity, and there's even a vodka made from grains grown in the exclusion zone.


The government has invested in a giant metal dome to house the still-radioactive ruins of the plant. Strong enough to resist a tornado, it's meant to last 100 years according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). It is also reportedly the largest moveable metal structure in the world. Tourism infrastructure like waterways and new radioactivity checkpoints are set to be installed as well.

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