Chernobyl Officially Opening To Tourists

Posted Dec 14th 2010 10:33 AMUpdated Dec 16th 2010 12:36 AM

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The Chernobyl nuclear power plant, scene of the worst nuclear disaster in history, will officially open to tourists beginning next year, say officials in the Ukraine.

Visitors will be allowed into a previously sealed zone, says the Emergency Situations Ministry. Unofficial tours have taken visitors near the plant, but this is the first time the facility will officially appear on tourist maps.

The idea is an attraction where visitors can go to learn more about the 1986 tragedy.

The explosion of a reactor at Chernobyl contaminated the then-Soviet states of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, and fallout spread across other parts of Europe as well. In Ukraine alone, 2.3 million people are designated as officially having been impacted including from higher cancer rates.

Yulia Yershova, a spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry, tells The Associated Press that new travel routes are being designed to be both safe and informative.

Chernobyl Opens to Tourists

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, file

"There are things to see there if one follows the official route and doesn't stray away from the group," Yershova says. "Though it is a very sad story."

United Nations Development Program chief Helen Clark, visiting the plant, says she supports the idea of tours as a way of education about nuclear safety.

Chernobyl Opens to Tourists

Efrem Lukatsky, AP

The exact date the plant will open for tours has yet to be announced.

The remains of the nuclear plant, which is no longer functioning, are maintained by 2,500 employees, working in shifts to limit their exposure to radiation.

Officials say they also hope to finish building a safer shell around the exploded reactor by 2015. The current shell is cracked and has been leaking radiation.

The death toll from Chernobyl is subject to dispute, ranging from an estimated 4,000 to what may eventually be determined to be tens or even hundreds of thousands.

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Ladeekittee@aol.com

Putin, King of Chernobyl.

Is there any way they could somehow convert the energy source there to solar or wind instead? Disasters as this prove the hazard is not worth the risk to the planet or people. If only some kind of paint or sealant could be put on the buildings to make it safe again, the land around restored for more crops and forests. Help reverse it from a ghost town.
~Maija from Detroit

December 14 2010 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ladeekittee@aol.com's comment
James

>>Disasters as this prove the hazard is not worth the risk to the planet or people.

December 15 2010 at 1:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fast Eddie

I think there should be spa there..."Chernobyl: Where you can go and have a melt-down"

December 14 2010 at 6:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cecil B. DeMille

My wife and I were looking for something different this year. This really looks like it will fill the bill. We were also considering a romantic canoe trip on Falcon Lake in Mexico or a hike thru the mountains of Afghanistan.

December 14 2010 at 5:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Cecil B. DeMille's comment
Annie

Sam S. took the words right out of my mouth!

December 14 2010 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kenny

what an awesome place to visit, can't wait to go!

December 14 2010 at 5:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
larson6600

Why anyone would want to get within 500 miles of that rickety sarcophagus is beyond me. When it collapses we'll have a nuclear holocaust all over again.

December 14 2010 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gramorrison123

Here come the sickness, it will start all over again

December 14 2010 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Koz

Well I guess Hanoi Jane was wrong about her prediction.
No China Syndrone.
She is the main reason we are so dependent on oil.
We should have been more nuclear years ago.

December 14 2010 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ashtonian54

Ukraine, not the Ukraine. You don't say 'the France' or' the Germany' ergo 'the Ukraine' is incorrect. Having said that, I booking right away!


December 14 2010 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ashtonian54's comment
JAKASMFKR

Be careful. Dont catch 'the radiation poisoning'...

December 14 2010 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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