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Chernobyl exclusion zone opens to visitors in January

Chernobyl Reactor in the Exclusion Zone
 Cooling tower of the unfinished Chernobyl reactors 5 and 6

The official tour program of Euro-2010 in Ukraine will include the Chernobyl exclusion zone of Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukrainian officials announced today. Earlier this week, they announced that the zone will open to tourists in January.

April 2011 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the most catastrophic nuclear power plant accident in history. While five or six dozen deaths are directly attributed to the disaster, another 4,000 are thought to be indirectly linked to it through cancer, etc.

Currently, a limited number of visitors are already allowed into the 19-mile exclusion zone around the plant, which exploded and burned in 1986. According to Viktor Baloha, Minister of Emergency Situations, the Ukrainian government will present a detailed plan for lifting the remaining restrictions on travel to the area December 21.

Chernobyl Photos: Gas masks in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Gas masks at Chernobyl
Photos by Tim Suess via Flickr with Creative Commons License

Currently, guides from the Chernobyl Authority Zone take small groups of people into the exclusion area for a day tour during the summer time. The tours on site usually take three to five hours.

For all the Ukrainian people Chernobyl is a tragedy site. Meanwhile, by telling the true Chernobyl story to the world, the country intends to dispel a number of myths and fears spreading around the world about the exclusion zone. For instance, the radiation level that a visitor receives during an excursion is nearly equal to the one that he gets on board of a plane and is lower than the one he gets during an X-ray examination.

What do you think? Do you believe this? I don’t know about you, but they would have to pay me a lot of money to be a tour guide in the exclusion zone at Chernobyl.

Chernobyl Accident: Pripyat port bus station
Pripyat port bus station
Photos by Tim Suess via Flickr with Creative Commons License

Check out the work of Tim Seuss, a photographer who spent two days in the exclusion zone in March 2009. He’s documented his observations on Chernobyl Journal.

Related articles

Holiday in Chernobyl: Ukraine to lift restrictions on disaster site (

Ukraine Eyes Tourism Spot: Chernobyl (

Ukraine to open Chernobyl area to tourists in 2011 (

Ukraine to open Chernobyl disaster area for tours (

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Yogi♪♪♪

    If somebody would pay my way there I would take the tour for one day. I wouldn’t be a tour guide, going in there several times a week, or even once a week, for any amount of money.

  2. Jim Smith

    It scares me a bit to admit that I’d really like to tour this area. Why are we fascinated with disasters? I wonder if it’s my carnal nature showing itself.


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