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Сhernobyl tourism. A hope for better future

One of the most unusual travel destinations - Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is considered Ukraine’s and Europe’s most unique and popular among «dark tourism» sites, with the most beautiful after-nuclear-catastrophe landscapes with nature retaking abandoned Soviet cities and villages. It may appear that decaying buildings which are occupied now by the trees and lush greenery were uninhabited centuries ago. But in fact, 2016 year had only marked 30 years that passed after the biggest nuclear disaster that had ever happened on Earth.

Travel tours to Chernobyl and Pripyat ghost towns are unbelievably popular among the people of different ages and citizens from all around the world. Bloggers, writers, stars of the TV had been here for tailoring new emotions. People with diverse interests and hobbies are attracted by this place more and more each year. And everyone tells that experience is worthwhile and exceptional. Over 38 000 people booked tours to Pripyat in 2016 to get closer to the history of the place, its atmosphere, feel the Soviet Union ghost which lingered there, within the forlornness and decay of “peaceful atom” area, and of course to pay respect to the victims of the catastrophe: liquidators, people who helped with neutralizing Chernobyl accident consequences. As well as to the citizens who haven’t been even cautioned or informed of the tragedy but should have changed their lives, not knowing they will never come back. Today’s main purpose of Chernobyl tours from Kiev or any other part of the world is more educational than entertaining. You can visit Pripyat and go to the city of Chornobyl not just for new experiences in a unique place but first of all to learn about the reasons which led to the tragic event and the response it had in people's lives.

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Chernobyl tourism. A hope for better future 1
      Explore. Interact. Stay radiation free 1.1.
            Reasons 1.1.1.
            What's on the table? 1.1.2.
            Radiation: Myth and Reality 1.1.3
       Pre-history 1.2.
              Happy city of Pripyat 1.2.1.
              The Accident 1.2.2.
              Liquidation hell or The Call of Duty 1.2.3.
              Evacuation 1.2.4.
       Aftereffects: today and tommorow of the zone 1.3.
             Life changing experience 1.3.1.

Explore. Interact. Stay radiation free

Reasons

The Chernobyl Zone of Alienation was officially permitted to buzz in visitors only in 2009. Interesting fact about that year is that Forbes included the site to the list of top 12 most popular and exotic tourist destinations of 2009.

Part of the wondering visitors didn’t even know was Chernobyl a city or just a name of the area, they were attracted by unique and intriguing opportunity to visit abandoned placed and look at the formerly closed region. Part of visitors longed to wonder in the post-apocalyptic landscapes, empty streets full of trees and free of people.

No matter what was the prime reason all and everyone were able not just to see the Soviet Union signs all over the buildings, posters of propaganda, Soviet-style buildings and the ruin it all represented 20 years after but also to feel the atmosphere of the place once full of citizens who loved it, to negotiate the ruined surroundings, to understand what lays beneath.

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Those tourists who played games like “Stalker” or “Call of Duty 4” can say that the experience for them is more fulfilled as their gaming memories of the Pripyat locations are connected with the feeling of alertness and they can recognize a lot of places like they have already been there. One of such locations is the swimming pool spot tourists can enter while they visit Chernobyl. It was one of the latest abandoned places as it has been in operation, serving people involved in liquidation and building of safe containment as a place of recreation and relax for more than 10 years after the Accident.

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What’s on the table?

While you are visiting Europe or Ukraine, in particular, you have a good possibility to take a look at the place of the most tragic nuclear accident in the history of mankind. Some would like to be prepared for what they will see and it is easy to find Chernobyl tour video on the Internet together with thousands of photos of the town and power plant itself. For those who cannot come here exists a “Chernobyl: virtual reality tour” which will take you to different places in the area online.

There are all types of tours to the restricted area possible: small and large group tours, individual tours if you prefer privacy, 1-day or several days’ tours for visitors to see more areas to interact with locals who returned here against the official’s orders. There is also an option of the Air tour, tour to the insides of a Chernobyl NPP and to the highly secret military spot Radar DUGA-1, combat systems unit of missile warning together with the hidden town"Chornobyl-2" that was built nearby.

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Can you go to the Pripyat? Sure. Is it worth it? Without any doubt, your visit here would be super eccentric for your friends and will bring you really rare life experience different from anything before and after it.

Considering the fact that the territories around Chernobyl NPP had been totally restricted from visiting for a long period of time and still contain a number of hot radiation spots the Chernobyl Administration set rules and regulations for visitors to be followed. To be safe from radiation – it is prohibited to drink and eat local water and food; to touch greenery, mushrooms, soils – it's better to walk on the concrete path as human-made covering has been cleaned a lot from all kinds of radioactive particles. To be safe in a more broad sense it is better to listen to your guide and not to go inside the buildings beside the route that are not checked. Through the unattended period of 31-year buildings remained in Chernobyl and Pripyat are in a poor condition that’s why authorities and tour operators agreed to exclude some most wrecked buildings to avoid probable harm of visitors.

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The second main thing is that you need to achieve an official permission to get inside the zone. So you will be asked to send your personal data to a chosen tour operator. It often takes a week or two so you'd better plan the trip beforehand. The real trip begins when you are going through the first checkpoint on the border of the 30 kilometers zone. Documents of the group, passports and a must-have there – an insurance for a time of the visit are checked. Without any of the documents mentioned there is no way inside. Tour operators usually include the preparation of all needed to the tour cost. But you can always ask them for sure. After that guides with Geiger-Muller dosimeters with their groups are entering The Zone begins the most interesting part. But be prepared that you will be surprised. You will see people live in the contaminated area for years mainly in the villages, who refused to leave their homes. And ghost town of Pripyat is not a horrifying wasteland. There are still hundreds of people working on the plant and there is life in the town of Chernobyl as all Administrative buildings were relocated there after the fallout. In the beginning of June 2017 new hostel named ‘Polissia" opened its doors for visitors who want to stay here for couple days and nights. There are also some local shops and even a café with wi-fi there. Besides “Polissia” hostel there is one more accommodation - hotel "Desiatka" with rooms in Soviet style, no luxury but with all needed to rest after a long day of wandering and exploration.

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Besides, as the site is really popular sometimes the area is overcrowded with tourists.

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Once a year in a week before and after Easter former citizens and liquidators come here to honor those who died risking their lives to save others. Considering everything you can choose what time is suitable for you and come visit. The place is really one of a kind. Tour operators are giving part of the profits to organizations which helping Chernobyl children and ‘samosels' – locals who are all old people. Tourists who are visiting Chernobyl Zone often bring something for them too but it is optional and will only be useful if the visit to the inhabited villages is included to your tour.

There is one fascinating truth about Chernobyl Zone and it's about local nature changes that are really a wonder to scientists. It's not about the trees that made former concrete jungles look like forests. And not the myths about animals with 2 heads and monsters who eat people. The thing is in the populations of different wild animals that increased unexpectedly after humans left the area.

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Species that hadn't been detected here for more than a century like brown bear appeared. A great number of Przewalski's horses – endangered subspecies which were released here in the 1990s feel quite perfect.

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Also, scientists who have studied Chernobyl Zone fauna detected increased populations of lynx, moose, rare European Bison, badgers, red foxes, and for the last years –really great population of beavers. The last ones are known like elephants in Africa, landscapes are changed where they live.

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The story is the same as with another nuclear meltdown - Fukushima in 2011. Thousands of wild boars, wolves, elks, deer, and lynx doubled their populations in the abandoned area. Quite noticeable are the footprints of animals on the ground even in the places with constant people flow. Cameras on the trees also captured the images of tanuki – raccoon dogs there.

There are debates in scientists circles whether the radiation or the absence of human kind resulted in the restoring of animal habitats for the last 30 years but the obvious thing is: radiation or not wild life species don't feel danger within The Alienation Zone. If combined with the Belarus exclusion zone we have a little more than 1,600 square miles, making it one of the largest 100 % wild sanctuaries in whole Europe and a very important place for scientists study in native wild life in Europe.

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Radiation: Myth and Reality

Though one of the important reasons people travel to Ukraine for Chornobyl tours is that the site provides its own unique atmosphere and is the place of the biggest radioactive disaster there is a part of travelers who are hesitating as the word ‘radiation’ get shivers running up and down their skin. Especially sci-fi and video games lovers can vividly imagine monster mutants in the Zone, enormous plants, aliens making their cunning inhuman business or deathly ionizing green light coming out from every piece in the restricted area. A lively imagination beyond any doubt is a pretty great thing but let us use it in more creative and healthy ways. Sure enough, the Zone is called restricted not for nothing. As a lot of soils and vegetation have been contaminated with highly radioactive fallout along with every building and every metal object there, the area is prohibited for resettlement. The reason is in the radioactive isotopes like cesium-137, multiple isotopes of plutonium, strontium-90 and more than fifteen other radionuclides. Some of them have the period of half-decay varying from 500 hundred to 30 thousand years so it is obvious that the question of repopulation of these places wouldn’t be under consideration for long. All the food and bottled water here are from the capital or other cities outside the Zone.

As for the trees, plants, and fungi – they absorbed airborne radionuclides and trapped them in their lifecycle. Without all of the greenery and forests that surrounded Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant radiation wouldhave migratedout and contaminated much larger territories blown with dust particles. Had the precautionary measures not been taken to stop reactor 3 Unit and to clean up surroundings and insides of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant dangerous nuclear fuel would have made it into waterflow sand carried to river Pripyat and further to Dnipro river and the BlackSea. Owing to liquidators that scenario had never happened. Thousands of tons of contaminated trees and village buildings which were polluted the worst was buried and covered with thick layer of clean soil.

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One more good thing is that highly dangerous isotopes had already been through their half decay time that's why the irradiation dose a visitor gets from walking in the restricted area is even smaller than he or she can get simply living in a city. In fact, there are no danger to get radioactive particles inside human body while visiting The Exclusion Zone if one follows the rules and paths of the guides, doesn’t touch anything or eat local berries or fruits. Every tour group stops for a meal in a canteen for visitors but the food there is from Kiev and is safe as any other you buy in the markets of your own town. Every tourist group also has a couple of Geiger-Mueller counters. The guide will show you that every place you go has safe levels of radioactive evolving. In addition, you will hear it if the radiation meter detects more irradiance than normal. Of course, you can always rent a Geiger meter for yourself for additional pay if the option is not included by chosen Chernobyl tour operator.

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Radiation is all around us – solar rays, concrete buildings, radioactive particles from food and water, X-rays, even our bodies are sources of radiation. The main thing to understand is that the dangerous radiation – is the one which is called an ionizing radiation. And there is no way you can come across it or which is more badly - swallow it until you are working with it or appear in a place of highly radioactive material leakage. Most of the deadly dangerous radioactive gases and particles had been released in the first weeks of the disaster in 1986. The points in Pripyat and Chornobyl where there is still risky or deadly levels of radioactive emanations are the places where the mass of radioactive fuel remains. Those are the places like under the Sarcophagus of Unit 4, in 2 paths surrounding the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, The‘Red Forest' trees, a wide range of technical equipment that is now resting and getting rusty on the machine graveyard in Rossoha. But no one will ever let visitors come to those places and be endangered. It’s enough not to touch anything, not to bring things with you from the Zone and check for conspicuous radiation levels with G-counter. Visitors should notice that a person gets less radiation during travel to Pripyat or Chernobyl for one day than during simple chest X-ray procedure or during an 8-hour transatlantic flight. Every visitor is checked twice on the checkpoints for radiation levels so that you can be sure not to get radioactive particles with you. No one is exposed to a high ionization levels, no one is going toglow in the night. That was the ’privilege’ of the nuclear fuel mass during three or maybe five days to emanate with different colors through the night.

Pre-history

Happy city of Pripyat

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant building started in 1972, and the Pripyat city was founded in 1970. The facility should have become the greatest and most reliable of the Soviet Union’s nuclear plants. The place for the NPP was chosen at a safe distance from the capital of Soviet Ukraine – the Kiev city. The construction started near the river Pripyat and it was used to provide water supply.

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The city of Pripyat was situated in 3 kilometers and was a home to almost 50,000 people. Most of which were operators, support staff, builders, technicians who worked on the Chernobyl NPP and their families, that’s why the city was called ‘atomic’. As it was young and new, everything in Pripyat was done according to latest standards there were libraries, restaurants, cafes, hospitals, schools, college, kindergartens, hobby clubs, river port, department stores, cinemas etc. There even was a local music band ‘PULSAR’.

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Visitors from Moscow used to tell locals that the town was a resort, locals called their place ‘The Flowers city’ as they were proud that 35,000 rose bushes were planted all over it.

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Roads were constructed to make traffic jam impossible. Furthermore, it’s a fact that the average age of the citizens was 26 years old so that's why the city was established with swimming pools, gyms, stadiums and athletic fields – sport was very popular among citizens as in every other at those days. The future for Pripyat seemed to be brighter than any other.

The Accident

The Accident on the Chernobyl’s reactor started late in the night April 26th, 1986 with the test of a safety feature which was intended to allow the Unit 4 to power itself for at least a minute during the probable event of a total power shut. Should it be a warning that previous 3 attempts of the test conduction failed or that the experienced workers should have run the test in the afternoon of the 25th of April and instead they left? In any case, as the testing operations had been left for mostly inexperienced workers of night shift and the instructions of the future operation were not clear and consisted of partly hand-written alterations there’s no surprise something went extremely wrong that fatal night. On top of that, it is now known that Chernobyl power plant managing director along with Soviet ministers agreed to make the safety tests later in order to set the Plant running ahead of schedule. Such was a common practice in the times of USSR that everyone involved in work completed beforehand were to get different bonuses.

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The Nuclear Power Plant reactors were all RBMK-1000 type which transliterates from Russian as ‘Reaktor Bolshoy Moshchnosti Kanalnyy’, or simply ‘High Power, Channel-type Reactor’. Those were graphite-moderated, boiling water-cooled reactors. And when we talk about nuclear facility we need to understand that it should be built and operated using safety strategy of ‘defense in depth’ which means:

-accidents avoidance by means of embracing safety rules

-the foresight of inevitable mechanical and human failures

The goal of the strategy is in making safety system more failure surviving which can be achieved with several barriers. First one is the fuel ceramic pallets. Modern nuclear plants have their nuclear cores built inside the 3rd barrier and it is always nearly unbreakable metal shield, called a ‘pressure vessel’. But in the Unit 4 reactor there where only part of the statutory shielding needed. There was no way for explosion not to knock through the weak building and not to release an enormous amount of highly dangerous radioactive fuel particles into the air.

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At 01:23:58 am, April 26, 1986, steam pressure overwhelmed inside the reactor. And that was the beginning of the end. An explosion of steam caused the shield of 450 tons blew away of the reactor after that steam and air reacted with zirconium cladding which led to hydrogen and oxygen aggressive powerful 50-ton explosion. Vaporized nuclear fuel erupted to the atmosphere in seconds. Poisonous clouds spread across most European countries and further around the globe. The explosion unleashed more than 700 tons of radioactive material of different ionization levels throwing it across an area of a few square kilometers and vaporizing part into the atmosphere. Winds blowing that day and weather conditions resulted in the hottest radioactive particlesflew to north and east of Europe especially Belarus, and deposited on mountainous regions of the Welsh and the Scottish Highlands, on the Alps through rainfall. Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway also received heavy levels of fallout.

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Released from reactor number 4 fuel’s extreme temperature pushed the ignition in core’s graphite which led to an inferno. Deathly flames burnt out for weeks before rescue and cleaning crews could overpower it.

Now it is obvious that mistakes were happening on all levels: starting with the disappearance of the materials needed for the building of power plant constructions in 1970-s, to the substitution of low-quality materials, the omission of crucial stages and rules of security ending up with all sorts of human mistakes.

Main Reasons of Chernobyl Accident

Human Design
- Inexperienced night shift stuff
- lack of knowledge of reactor physics and engineering
Specialized equipment of poor quality or its absence
The absence of accurate instructions Constructed with only partial containment:
- Forgoing of a conventional pressure vessel
- the absence of an airtight containment building
- poor quality and rushed design
Lack of communication and insufficient communication among operators and technicians Containing new and old fuel at once ( around 75% of the fuel in Unit 4 was at the end of its cycle)
Making erroneous decisions Facility of disabling all safety systems (which have happened) Violation of safety regulations during test

Liquidation hell or The Call of Duty

At the present times, we all have gadgets, mobile phone cells and most of the processes on plants and factories are highly automatized. But back in 1986, the communicative segment in the Soviet Union was adjusted poorly. Besides, back in a time of an accident, there were no means for detecting amounts of radioisotopes spread into the atmosphere, that is now well-developed thanks to international efforts to detect illicit nuclear testing. Neither were there a proper radioactive counter on the whole Nuclear Power Plant, let alone the proper emergency management in general.The only functional meter workers could find indicated just 3.6 roentgen-per-hour, but in fact, it was the maximum the device could show. For nearly half of the day after the explosion, no one had simply checked radiation levels. No one knew that the reactor was damaged, no one could even think of it. Soviet government was unable to check and adjust the amount of radioactive material escaping the destroyed reactor. Moreover, like at Three Mile Island Unit 2 accident in seven years before, no usable evacuation plans were available.

The explosion released 400 times more radioactive material into the air than the amount that was unleashed by the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima 40 years previously.The effect was as if 10 Hiroshima bombs detonated altogether. Japan bomb exploded in the air over the city and radioactive particles didn’t contaminate the area, nowadays it is just an ordinary city where people live and work but for The Restricted Area, there is no such an option in the nearest future.

To make it clear why the radiation was extremely deadly that particular night here is a comparison of radiation levels.

Average day The day of Accident
- background radiation we get every day is a harmless dose of 0.000023 roentgen-per-hour

- chest x-ray we get provides us with only 0.8 roentgen-per-hour
- The radiation in Chernobyl's Unit 4 reactor was instantly-lethal - 30,000 roentgen-per-hour

- 500 roentgens, received by a human during 5 hours, is a fatal.Even 400 roentgen are deadly

As no one had been informed of the danger of nuclear reactor explosion plant workers and firemen were preparing a water to cool the reactor, andr educe the fire on the roof and in the turbine hall. That was the tragic but heroic battle. The firemen didn't realize and were not informed about the radiation dangers. Their skin got black with achieved deathly doses, a lot of them became weak and started vomiting. And doctors in a hospital didn't even have needed medicine for treatment of radiation disease when the pattern of the sickness became obvious: people had swollen glands, suffered from a headache, dry throat, vomiting, and nausea. The symptoms of iodine-131 irradiation poisoning.

Those first groups of firemen and plant workers played the fundamental role in preventing the catastrophe from spreading further. By 7 am in the morning the total of 37 fire crews consisting of 186 firemen were trying to deal with the fire.

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Moscow authorities were contacted with a request to permit evacuation of Pripyat citizens but unfortunately, Soviet Communist Party officials refused to allow it. They didn't want to start a panic and spread information about the accident and obviously didn't quite imagine the extent of the catastrophe.

In the morning 15,000 children went to school and other citizens started the normal day while being silently irradiated by radioactive dust, particles that get into milk, water and all sorts of foods. Lots of people felt sickness but all cure they get that day was pills of potassium iodide with milk and Russian vodka as it was believed it could help to get rid of radioactive isotopes. Streets and furniture in the administrative building have been washed couples of times through the day.

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Despite the fact that authorities were unwilling to deal with panic in the city the order for police was to block all the roads entries so that no one can go out or into the area which of course brought suspicion among locals. Those who have tried to escape through the forest that surrounded the town and the Power Plant would regret it later. The woods are now known as the Red Forest which remains the most anthropogenically contaminated area on our planet.

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Right after an explosion, the most dangerous radioactive dust cloud had blown through the adjacent pine forest and that was the reason the wood area of 10 km² was affected and died, after absorbing most of the released deadly amount of radiation - 3,000 roentgen. Green forest turned orange in less than 6 hours. The name of Red Forest appeared as the pine trees needles become reddish because of the unbelievable level of neutrons absorbed. Green forest turned orange in less than 6 hours.

Former liquidator Evgeniy commented that the direction of radioactive steam was nothing more than sheer luck on one hand and on the other, it was really a great piece of luck! Had the deadly flow been heading the other way, towards Pripyat - no one would have survived. Liquidators leveled the forest later and coated it to suppress radioactive dust.

Even now 30 years later the area is restricted with special signs as radiation levels here are several times higher than near the reactor core. So don’t be fooled by a deciduous woodland which took over fir trees and is beautifully green and seems so normal it’s still the “dead area”.

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Extensive clean-up project began only after the accident was admitted to be nuclear fuel explosion. The main task was to reduce the number of the radioactive particles, which stuck to dust molecules in the air.

Helicopters were to fly across the town and around the plant in order to spray a foam that would absorb the particles. Those actions allowed radionuclides settle on the ground. After the needed amount of foam was reaching the surface it was washed from the surrounding buildings of plant and most streets of the Pripyat. The same procedure took place after the topsoil was removed and buried away. Due to this the "cleaned areas" are now used to make tours paths and are considered relatively safe to wander around.

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White flashes on thelower part of the photo is a radiation emanation from under the roof captured in a film.

As for the cleaning up the roof from the debris authorities firstly tried to bring in radio-controlled heavy equipment but vehicles failed: intense irradiation quickly broke down semiconductors in it. Thus, the only option was to use human beings to clear the roofs. All available people were called to help – the whole amount of 800,000 men worked shift after shift for day and night: Russian reservists were there together with scientists and civilians. Many of them had only a weak home-made protection on them like hand-sewn lead suits others had not. You can even find a video to see how Chernobyl" bio-robots" worked that day using only shovels and wooden boards, or even their (gloved) hands. Dangerous irradiation that was coming from the nuclear fuel under the roof did not give much time for one person towork there more or less safely. The limited time one person was permitted to spend on the roof varied from 40 seconds to 3 minutes. An overwhelming majority of the brave men didn't even have dosimeters to know what danger they were exposed to. The first firemen who got lethal doses right after the explosion died in a week or so from acute radioactive disorder, the same was the destiny of helicopter pilots and photographers with them who flew right in the dangerous radioactive vaporizations.

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The first photo of burning reactor¸ radioactive smoke contaminates air and helicopters flying to shut the fire with special mixed materials.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers were the heroes of that night too. They all stayed at their posts as they know nobody else could do their job. The team understood all dangers but acted bravely and replaced the hydrogen coolant in the generators with nitrogen in order to avoid another explosion and undertook steps to prevent more fire. 11 staff workers were running in and out from horribly polluted menacing zones, 3 of them died right there. They only have cotton suits on them. Thanks to all those people the flames didn’t spread to Units 1, 2, and 3, which could probably end up with the total destruction of the reactor number 4.

Helicopter pilots drowned down 5,000 tons of clay, sand, lead and other material in an effort to weaken and stop the flames. They achieved the goal only on May, 6th. Many of the 3,400 "bio-robots," unbelievably brave men who took part in the operation of cleaning up of the roof from parts of graphite absorbed a lifetime radiation dose in seconds which will cause health problems, various cancers, and death in the next 20 years.

The Sarcophagus was hastily built by an army of liquidators, huge trucks with concrete started arriving non-stop from all the corners of Soviet Union.More than 7000 tons of metal constructions and 400,000 cubic meters of the concrete mixture were together transformed into the Shelter in a record time of 206 days. It was ready till November,1986.

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Evacuation

People were not informed that the incident had happened and everyone would only be evacuated only on the 2nd day after the explosion. Citizens of Pripyat were asked to take some little amount of clothes and documents as they will be back in 3 days, the lie Soviet authorities mastered to avoid panic. 50 000 people and 17 000 of them were children were evacuated during 6 hours on 1200 buses. Logistic heroism as it is in the terms of total information vacuum. Communications were cut down; no one would tell how serious the situation was. But people knew the situation was serious – in the Soviet Union, there was an unspoken rule: when something is really bad there will be no information on it available. Evacuation of citizens out from 81 residential areas in the 30 kilometers zone around Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was completed in August 1986.

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After effects: today and tommorow of the zone

Life changing experience

The nuclear tragedy that happened April 26, 1986, was quite literary a catastrophe to whole Earth, to people’s lives all over the world that will never be the same, to nature that was artifactualy contaminated for thousands of years. Those who left their houses, their pets and everything they knew and love have no opportunity to get back and to check on what have remained there for years.

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Only people who still worked on the plant or on the Shelter building and continued clearing works was able to get inside the restricted zone as they lived in the city of Slavutych build right after the accident for them outside of the dangerously polluted native town.

It is very difficult to bring together the information about the lasting effects of Chernobyl accident especially after the dissolution of USSR in the 1990s. Right after the incident, Soviet administration officials were reluctant to provide real figures of the disaster or even made precise estimations. Official records are edited and hard to get, they are incomplete. Evacuated people had a very long term of mobile life and used to travel across the country a lot to find the place of living and working. Sure enough political stonewalling did no good. But nowadays Pripyat and Chernobyl abandoned and empty for years, have become an unexpected and atmospheric tourist destination. Visitors see greenish half-forests on the streets and in buildings locked in time. Last year Chernobyl’s giant New Safe Confinement was moved to its place above the previous first Chernobyl reactor number 4 shelter. Ambitious engineering project in the long program of dismantling the remaining nuclear fuel within the 4th reactor building. This new shelter will provide an adequate shielding from irradiating reactor for the next 100 years and is already making Chernobyl tours much safer.

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As the times goes by the knowledge of the tragedy got less painful, memories less acute. Mass media and entertaining segment did their part to popularize The Exclusion Zone. The radioactive catastrophe was used as the location in computer games such as STALKER and Call of Duty and was very popular to be mentioned in books, music videos and in movies. Through such cultural global commons, people were able to get to know about such a place on Earth.

The disaster changed not only the radiological map of the world but also lefta deep trace in the heart of humanity. Even though there are those who consider visiting the place of a disaster morbid and improper but as it is said:”A good exampleis the best sermon”. If we do not learn from history today, we are bound to repeat it tomorrow. For many visitors trip to Chernobyl or other places of tragic events is a very inspirational experience. In places like this one can truly feel and understand how fragile life is, how brave people can be and what should be avoided for all it is worth.