On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded, causing the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. The massive radiation leak caused the site to be abandoned for many decades. Some parts of the plant have been open to the public for nearly a decade. However, tourists are not permitted to wander on their own. Also, they must stay with the tour guides because of ongoing radiation concerns.
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It has been reported that exposure to large amounts of radiation can cause tissue damage and acute sickness. Aside from that, it increases the risk of cancer. That’s why some parts of Chernobyl such as the “machine cemetery” remain off-limits. The "machine cemetery" is where contaminated machines used during the cleanup were dumped. Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared the site an official tourist attraction in June at the inauguration of a giant dome built to contain radioactive material.
This year, bookings to Chernobyl increased by about 30% following the release of the popular HBO series of the same name. Fortunately, Ukranian officials have deemed some areas to be safe, such as Reactor 4.
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Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture, and history, reported that Reactor 4, a control room, had remained closed off to most of the public. It was highly damaged from the explosion and was only available to a few researchers and cleanup workers.
|Photo Credit: Live Science|
The control room is now open to the public. However, people are required to wear protective gear such as a protective suit, a helmet, and a mask when inside. Also, visitors should stay for only five minutes since the radiation in the room is 40,000 times higher than normal levels. After the tour, people are required to undergo two radiology tests to measure the amount of radiation they were exposed to.