This story is about a real time machine. This machine can send you only to one day in the past, to the place where time had stopped in the period of Soviet Union, to the place of abandoned houses and apartments, corrugated signboards of stores, empty streets and scattered baby toys. In this place, the time had stopped on 26/04/1986 after Reactor Number 4 of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station disaster. It is the biggest man-made disaster all over the world. Today, everyone can spend one day in a deadly alienation area. You have the opportunity to fill yourself a real STALKER and walk through the “atomic route”. It is impossible to find a more interesting place for nuclear thrill-seekers than the Chernobyl Zone, the place where radiation exceeds the permissible standards dozens of times. Here, in Ukraine, you can try a dangerous type of travelling - radioactive tourism.
The V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Station (or CHAES, as we called it in Ukraine) is one of four Ukrainian nuclear power station. The Reactor Number 1 was launched in 1977. CHAES was located near the Pripyat town, in the Kyiv region. This town was built especially for the workers of CHAES. It was a modern town filled with young smiling people, a children laughter and hopes for the future. Back then, nobody could imagine how quickly Chornobyl would become one of the major technological catastrophes in the history of humankind. On April 26, 1986, there was an explosion on Reactor Number 4 of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station. Because of the explosion, the building of the station was destroyed, and a huge amount of radioactive particles was thrown into the air, which polluted more than 20 000 sq. km of land, and about two million Ukrainians were affected by radiation. The reactor itself left behind 216 tons of radioactive waste. Today, a magnificent sarcophagus conceals them.
Officially, tourism in the exclusion zone of CHAES is prohibited. However, some tour operators in Kyiv create the tours to the Chernobyl zone and bring excursions there. The duration of such an excursion is one day, with an approximate cost of $100. The largest biosphere reserve in Ukraine is the Chernobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve, which leads to the exclusion zone. The tour includes a trip to the city of Pripyat, Chernobyl, as well as the visit the epicenter of the catastrophe.
In the city of Pripyat, near the CHAES, the consequences of the disaster are most noticeable. Entering one of the schools, you will be able to see breathes pictures - on the floor, in one pile are collected children gas masks, the books left in haste and children's notebooks on the desks. Throughout the excursion, you have the opportunity to walk with a dosimeter. You can measure the radiation levels here everywhere. There is a lot of “dirty” places in Pripyat - dirty means infected. Here, the scenes from a computer post of apocalyptic games and films come to life. Creepy amusement park, thrown homes and kindergartens. Once living streets of the city today are buried under the trees.
In 2018, the Chernobyl Zone was visited by 72 000 nuclear thrill-seekers. There are many movies and shows about the Chernobyl catastrophe, and Pripyat streets are the main locations of computer games. In addition, the place is very popular among the Stalkers. If you have never tried radioactive tourism, the Chernobyl Zone, though not officially, is open to you.
Cover photo © credits: iStock/Pe3check
Like this story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.