The Chernobyl explosion is seen as one of the deadliest nuclear plant accidents in the history of mankind! More than three decades ago, on April 26th, 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, located in the then-Soviet Union, resulted in a cloud of radioactive particles spreading across parts of Europe.
A lethal amount of radiation expelled into the atmosphere. The aftermath of the explosion was horrifying. Despite clean-up operations, the area remained contaminated. Due to high levels of radiation, trees around the nuclear plant perished, cancer cases among children increased, thousands of abortions took place as pregnant women feared that their unborn children would have health issues in the future. The settlements nearby were frantically and permanently evacuated. Approximately 2,20,000 people left from the most contaminated areas in the following months. The worst affected area of Pripyat, which was a home for power plant employees and their families was also evacuated. About 4,930 residents abandoned their homes and left behind their clothes, books, toys and event pets as it is.
The area became a ghost town and is known as Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Till now, certain parts of the area show high levels of radiation.
Strangely, after Chernobyl featured on Netflix and HBO, many tourists (especially travel bloggers) are tempted to pack their bags, hop onto a plane and travel to this notorious site. You can watch the series on Foxtel. Let's start with the HBO trailer first?
For those eager to travel here would be delighted to know that for the very first time, Ukraine has opened the control room of Chernobyl reactor four to visitors. (It's the place where the nuclear reactor exploded).
Before visiting the room, tourists will be equipped with face masks, industrial boots and anti-radiation suits to protect them from the existing radiation. Due to the heavy radiation in this room, tourists will be allowed to only stay there not more than five minutes. The radiation there is still 40,000 times higher than the normal level.
According to a local media report, this year, around 85,000 people have visited Ukraine. The best part is that the number keeps on increasing.
Interestingly, the world's largest adventure travel company, Intrepid, will be launching a new Ukraine Highlights tour. According to Intrepid Travel's Europe product manager, Steph Millington says, "The trip allows travellers to visit the ghost town of Pripyat—where Chernobyl workers were rapidly evacuated 36 hours after the disaster—and the village of Paryshiv to meet the self-settlers, people who chose to come back to their homes after the evacuation."
If you do intend to travel from India, you can check out plenty of tour options on TripAdvisor. However, keep a few safety measures in mind when visiting Chernobyl. Wear long-sleeved tops, long pants and closed shoes and avoid placing anything on the floor (like your bag) as the soil could be contaminated.
In other news, did you know that since its abandonment, Chernobyl has become an accidental wildlife sanctuary too? It seems as if wildlife is starting to adapt to this radiation. Today, you will find wolves, lynxes, bears, bison and around 200 different types of bird species roaming freely around the Exclusion Zone.