Chernobyl and the nearby city of Pripyat have been abandoned for over 20 years. Old Soviet symbols still adorn the buildings, and textbooks remain open on desks at the local school. The worst nuclear disaster in history left 52,000 residents homeless – never to return again. Today, the site is a popular tourist attraction: enter at your own risk.
On April 26th 1986, an unexpected power surge hit nuclear reactor #4 at the Chernobyl Power Plant in Ukraine, causing the biggest and most cataclysmic nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. The chemical explosions were powerful enough to blow the reactor’s 1000-ton lid to pieces, and fatally injure the 31 technicians who were working there at the time.
Russian and Western scientists have estimated that over five million Ukrainian citizens, and those from Belarus and Russia, have been exposed to harmful levels of radiation – the toxic clouds even spread as far as the UK. In recent years, scientists have concluded that the nuclear disaster is directly responsible for a large increase of cancer, and other health issues, experienced by those living in close proximity of Chernobyl.
Over twenty years have passed since the devastating explosion and the Ukrainian government, in conjunction with the management of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, have capitalised on the site's mysterious factor. By developing the deserted cities of Pripyat and Chernobyl into a tourist destination , believes that inviting visitors could raise greater awareness and understanding of the threat that nuclear plants pose.