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Chernobyl Zone Opens For Visitors

7 years ago3.1K views

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On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the largest nuclear catastrophe in the history of mankind, the Chernobyl Atomic Power Station is open to the public. Particularly relevant in light of current events in Japan, our Ukrainian correspondents take the official travel tour. Let's join them.

25 years after the nuclear disaster, interest in the Chernobyl Zone is increasing.

Yuriy Tatarchuk has been leading tours for 13 years, and reports growing numbers of visitors, especially from Russia, Scandinavia and the UK.

[Yuriy Tatarchuk, "Chernobylinterinform" Agency Member]:
"I remember 10 years ago we had 1 or 2 delegations per a week. Today is about 8 groups a day."

Recently even an official tourist tour of the Chernobyl zone has been launched.

Paying slightly more than $100, one can view all the symbolic locations.

[Anna Varavva, NTD Correspondent]:
"That is the fourth power block, where the accident occurred. It is expected that by 2015 a new additional safe cover will be built over the current shell of the reactor. It has been already designed, and will soon be installed to avoid radiation."

Visitors are not allowed to stay on this viewing point more than 15 minutes, due to the high radiation levels.

[Yuriy Tatarchuk, "Chernobylinterinform" Agency Member]:
"My apparatus captures about 240 micro-roentgen per hour, which is 20 times higher than the natural background reading for the area before the accident."

Near the red forest, where trees have assumed the greatest share of the released radioactive dust, the figures rise yet higher.

Next stop on the tour is Pripyat. The former town of power engineers is located a few kilometers from the Chernobyl Atomic Power Station.

Almost 50 thousand people were living here before the disaster.

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