Chernobyl Atomic Power Station Opens to Visitors

Chernobyl Atomic Power Station is open to the public. For more news visit ☛ Follow us on Twitter ☛ Follow us on Facebook ☛ On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the largest nuclear catastrophe in the history of mankind, the Chernobyl Atomic Power Station is open to the public. Particularly relevant in light of current events in Japan, our Ukrainian correspondents take the official travel tour. Let's join them. 25 years after the nuclear disaster, interest in the Chernobyl Zone is increasing. Yuriy Tatarchuk has been leading tours for 13 years, and reports growing numbers of visitors, especially from Russia, Scandinavia and the UK. [Yuriy Tatarchuk, "Chernobylinterinform" Agency Member]: "I remember 10 years ago we had 1 or 2 delegations per a week. Today is about 8 groups a day." Recently even an official tourist tour of the Chernobyl zone has been launched. Paying slightly more than $100, one can view all the symbolic locations. [Anna Varavva, NTD Correspondent]: "That is the fourth power block, where the accident occurred. It is expected that by 2015 a new additional safe cover will be built over the current shell of the reactor. It has been already designed, and will soon be installed to avoid radiation." Visitors are not allowed to stay on this viewing point more than 15 minutes, due to the high radiation levels. [Yuriy Tatarchuk, "Chernobylinterinform" Agency Member]: "My apparatus captures about 240 micro-roentgen per hour, which is 20 times higher than the natural background reading for the area before the accident." Near the red forest, where trees have assumed the greatest share of the released radioactive dust, the figures rise yet higher. Next stop on the tour is Pripyat. The former town of power engineers is located a few kilometers from the Chernobyl Atomic Power Station. Almost 50 thousand people were living here before the disaster. [Anna Varavva, NTD correspondent]: "Before the accident Pripyat was called a city of flowers and children. The average age of its residents was about 28 years old. After the disaster, people were promised that they would return here in three days. A quarter of a century has passed and the town is still empty, and today it is rather reminiscent of a cemetery of that era." This restaurant was opened just a month before the accident. The dilapidated city is now overgrown with trees and moss. Living here will be prohibited for another 200 years -- the background radiation in Pripyat is at least 10 times greater than in the capital. [Yuriy Tatarchuk, "Chernobylinterinform" Agency Member]: "Pripyat is very interesting because we can see how life was during the Soviet Union. There are no other cities like this in the world, that remain unchanged from that era. And the Soviet Union is the most important milestone in our history that needs to be studied, and needs to be remembered, because if we repeat such errors again, then only empty cities will remain after us." In light of recent events, the Chernobyl Zone has become particularly interesting for Japanese visitors. [Nishida Hiromasa, Correspondent]: "There is the sad experience of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is perhaps the origin of Japanese peoples interest in Chernobyl. But now of course there is also the incident at the Fukushima nuclear power station. People fear that the situation there will be as bad as it was in Chernobyl." Tour operators assure us that the route is safe for visitors. However, children under 18 and pregnant women are prohibited from participating. NTD, Chernobyl Zone, Ukraine