The Ukrainian government is focused on boosting tourism in the Chernobyl disaster zone. As a part of these efforts, the government has recently decided to open up a highly radioactive reactor control room to the tourists.
The control room of Chernobyl’s reactor-four is where the Ukrainian engineers switched off the nuclear reactor’s cooling pumps while attempting a safety test in April of 1986. It was this action that eventually led to the explosion that claimed the lives of 28 persons and contaminated the surrounding area with radioactive waste. It doesn’t sound like the perfect tourist destination, but you would be surprised at how many daredevils are actually willing to pay serious cash to get a chance to set foot in the room. The Ukrainian government is willing to make their dream come true.
Ukrainian authorities announced earlier this month that they would be giving access to the reactor control room to tourists. This would be done as a part of a bigger plan to boost tourism in the Chernobyl disaster zone. The building is situated under a 355-foot, 36,000-ton steel arch that was placed over an area around the reactor to cease radiation leaks.
This piece of information should, in itself, be enough of a warning and must make people think twice before they decide to check out the control room. Furthermore, the visits to the room are limited to only a few minutes to prevent excessive radiation. To give you a perspective, the tourists that will be visiting the control room will have to spend more time trying to wear the protective clothing and in scanning for radiation than they would spend inside the room.
The most alarming threat during this tour would be radioactive dust. As per maintenance workers, this dust has significant doses of radiation. If a visitor was to brush against something, they would be running the risk of getting contaminated with alarming levels of radioactive material. In order to prevent this from happening, workers make use of a chemical spray to keep the dust down.
Yaroslav Yemelianenko, the director of the largest tour operator in the Chernobyl disaster zone, claims that if the tourists abide by the rules of the tour, they will only be exposed to less than four micro-sieverts. This is less than the radiation exposure that you are exposed to during a transatlantic flight. On the other hand, Doctor Yury Bandazhevsky, who has been studying the Chernobyl disaster and aftermath for decades, says that it is a needless risk that should be and must be avoided.
Tourism in the Chernobyl exclusion zone has come in full-swing ever since the TV show ‘Chernobyl’ aired on HBO in May.