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Ukraine To Open Chernobyl Area To Tourists

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the bring-back-a-shiny-souvenier-for-the-kids dept.

Earth 207

Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Ukraine plans to open up the sealed zone around the Chernobyl reactor to visitors who wish to learn more about the tragedy that occurred nearly a quarter of a century ago. Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Yershova says experts are developing travel routes that will be both medically safe and informative. 'There are things to see there if one follows the official route and doesn't stray away from the group,' says Yershova. Though it is a very sad story.' The ministry also says it hopes to finish building a new safer shell for the exploded reactor by 2015 that will cover the original iron-and-concrete structure hastily built over the reactor that has been leaking radiation, cracking and threatening to collapse. About 2,500 employees maintain the remains of the now-closed nuclear plant, working in shifts to minimize their exposure to radiation and several hundred evacuees have returned to their villages in the area despite a government ban."

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wait, what? (4, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544336)

But Greenpeace told me that half the frickin' Ukraine was going to be instant radioactive death for ten thousand years...

Re:wait, what? (5, Funny)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544366)

Well, most amusement parks are overhyped. Advertising, you know...

Re:wait, what? (5, Funny)

kanto (1851816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544894)

They're bound to get glowing reviews though once the tours get started.

Re:wait, what? (2)

troon (724114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544472)

the ... Ukraine

See frame 4 [angryflower.com] ...

Re:wait, what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544544)

Who marked this Troll? Green organisations have been hyping up the severity of Chernobyl for years.

Re:wait, what? (5, Interesting)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544650)

Some people seem to think that if you don't instantly die, then everything's fine. Never mind if incidence of cancer or birth deformities sky-rocketed for people in areas of radioactive fall-out, if people's heads aren't exploding, it's "Green Hysteria."

I'd love to visit the place, mind you. I hear that their restaurants serve a lovely leg of fish.

Re:wait, what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544724)

A good point, except that incidence of cancer or birth deformities did not sky-rocket. On any time scale. Your information has come from environmentalists who exaggerate the figures by a factor of ten.

The reality is more people die each year on the road outside my window (the A14, in the UK) than due to all the after-effects of Chernobyl put together.

Ironically, the reason the A14 is so dangerous is that car-hating enviroists keep diverting the funds to improve it onto stupid "alternative" transportation schemes.

Re:wait, what? (5, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544822)

The reality is more people die each year on the road outside my window (the A14, in the UK) than due to all the after-effects of Chernobyl put together.

The effects of Chernobyl are not limited to higher cancer rates for people. They also encompassed destruction of agricultural land, even Saami reindeer herds, by winds blowing north on that fateful April day. Some car accidents on your local motorway doesn't destroy thousands of people's livelihoods over a fairly broad swath of northern Europe.

FWIW, I support nuclear power and always point out to Greens that this particular accident was due to human error and faulty design, a level of risk that modern reactors don't run. But let's not pretend Chernobyl was inconsequential.

Re:wait, what? (4, Interesting)

e70838 (976799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544998)

Chernobyl was not inconsequential, but the facts are:
1) the (too huge) number of dead people is comparable to the number of people dead in car accidents
2) the nasty effects on the ecosystem are inferior to the positive effect of the departure of humans.

If we care mostly on ecosystem, Chernobyl is far from the top list of ecological catastrophes.
The consequences are mostly on humans that had to leave or that have been killed or injured.

Re:wait, what? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545060)

the nasty effects on the ecosystem are inferior to the positive effect of the departure of humans.

Are you saying what I think you're saying?

Re:wait, what? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545176)

the nasty effects on the ecosystem are inferior to the positive effect of the departure of humans.

Are you saying what I think you're saying?

Yes he is. Some people take the view that all lives, animal and human, are equally valuable. From that perverse perspective it is a logical conclusion that the Chernobyl disaster was a good thing. The problem is that you also have to conclude that you are being very selfish if you fail to provide a habitat for fleas, lice, and parasitic worms. I just hope he practices what he preaches.

Re:wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34545080)

this particular accident was due to human error and faulty design, a level of risk that modern reactors don't run.

That's a pretty broad statement. All modern reactors are safe from human error and faulty design? Unlikely.

Re:wait, what? (2)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545132)

I didn't say they are utterly and completely safe, I said they didn't run the same level of risk as Chernobyl.

Re:wait, what? (3, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545148)

Yes, they are safe from that brand of faulty design. No reactor used anywhere else in the world has a large positive void coefficient and nothing else uses that insane design of control rods. Then add in other stuff like a containment building.

Even the 11 remaining reactors of that same design had those flaws fixed.

Re:wait, what? (2, Interesting)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545062)

A good point, except that incidence of cancer or birth deformities did not sky-rocket.

You are aware that the most contaminated areas were all evacuated? Might as well make the argument that poisoning a river isn't harmful because people have to go and drink from a different river. Even so, there are estimates of around 4,000 people dying from cancers caused by the fallout.

And I love the traditional "more people die on the roads" variant. Really? Thousands die on the stretch of road outside your window each year? What - do you room mate with Godzilla or something?

Re:wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34545104)

Some fish do have legs. [wikipedia.org]

Re:wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544770)

But Greenpeace told me that half the frickin' Ukraine was going to be instant radioactive death for ten thousand years...

Take your Rad-X and you'll be fine.

holiday tan?! (0)

MindKata (957167) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544340)

Getting a tan on holiday is often expected, but I don't want to come home from holiday, glowing in the dark!

Re:holiday tan?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34545018)

But how awesome would that be? C'mon!

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544346)

STALKER. cosplay for real

Good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544348)

Hopefully we can send all the Americans there.

Re:Good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544566)

Hopefully we can send all the environmentalists back to the stone age, since that's apparently where they want to live.

What method of transport? (3, Interesting)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544368)

Will motorcycle tours [kiddofspeed.com] be offered?

Re:What method of transport? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544550)

Wasn't that completely discredited as being entirely fake? From what I remember, the girl never went there in a motorcycle, couldn't have gotten one of those passes to enter the area, her father isn't a scientist, and it's quite likely she never took any of those pictures.

Re:What method of transport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544714)

I don't know, was it? That's the first I hear of it. What's your source. Where did the pictures come from?

Re:What method of transport? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544738)

She went on the tour bus with everyone else. She just took a motorcycle helmet.
 
The admission is on her site. She said it was more about telling the story than her going on an adventure. That's her justification, anyway.

Re:What method of transport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544940)

The admission is on her site.

I just looked. There's no such admission.

Re:What method of transport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544780)

Before modding up the parent, please bear in mind that I can find no reliable sources for this "debunking" and parent has not offered any citations.

It's entirely possible kidofspeed is exaggerated or otherwise benefits from "poetic license" but the story is consistent with the established facts about the area around Chernobyl.

Perhaps the poster of the parent comment, when giving his citations, could also tell us his personal views on nuclear power, so we can check to see whether he has some kind of agenda?

Re:What method of transport? (2, Informative)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544878)

Re:What method of transport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544948)

Two seconds at that page and I left.

Great, now it's singing.

Re:What method of transport? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545078)

Could you please never link to that site again or at least give a warning that it's as annoying as chewing a handful of iron filings?

Re:What method of transport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544604)

I like this Post.
sena smh10 [bikeintercom.ca]

Re:What method of transport? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545090)

Debunked as a fake in 2004 [www.uer.ca] . Note: irritating 1998-style website at link. You have been warned. Turn off javascript before proceeding.

Conversation pieces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544376)

The nice thing about a trip to Chernoybl is that you will always have your extra limbs to use as a conversation starter. "So, wanna know where I got all those extra testicles?"

Closest thing to nuclear post-apocalyptic backdrop (1)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544378)

If they make it look remotely like the Fallout series (esp. the second or New Vegas), then they will probably get plenty of visitors...

Re:Closest thing to nuclear post-apocalyptic backd (1)

Magada (741361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544382)

Well it looks exactly like the sets in STALKER, so there's that at least.

Re:Closest thing to nuclear post-apocalyptic backd (1)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544428)

Well I got spurs, that jingle jangle jingle...

Re:Closest thing to nuclear post-apocalyptic backd (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544852)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh,

Re:Closest thing to nuclear post-apocalyptic backd (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545116)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh,

Yeah. Mine was "Johnny Guitar". Every time I heard that come up on a radio, I wanted to put the laser pistol+ to my own head.

Re:Closest thing to nuclear post-apocalyptic backd (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545096)

If they make it look remotely like the Fallout series (esp. the second or New Vegas), then they will probably get plenty of visitors.

Only if they let me carry my trusty 10mm Pistol+ that I use for radscorps.

Wait... (3, Funny)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544380)

What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

Re:Wait... (5, Insightful)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544396)

Nothing. There is little background radiation in most places and I'm pretty certain they'll want to avoid taking you to places with higher radiation if they want this tourism thing to last. Don't forget, there are people who *live* in that area and have lived for almost their entire life. So, a visit of a few days, so long as it does not involve taking you to any highly dangerous places, e.g. the core itself, should really be fine.

Re:Wait... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544578)

Don't eat any mushroom omelet though.

http://www.chernobyl.info/index.php?navID=578 [chernobyl.info]

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544668)

The food at markets nearby, from what I saw, is checked for radiation using specialist equipment so if you're going to buy stuff like that best to buy it there.

Re:Wait... (5, Interesting)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544702)

There is alot of background radiation, above normal levels, there. At reator #4, the one that blew, as soon as the doors to the vans opened the gieger counters went off. At that place it was around 5x normal levels. Most places were only 2x-3x unless you got near metal structure or some buildings.
When we got to the ferris wheel the guides stired up places where dust had collected due to rain water and that gave alarms of around 18x normal levels.
If you go by what we were told the amount of extra radiation we got from the day there was less then the amount of extra radiation a flight from NYC to Paris would of given.

Re:Wait... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34545072)

A LOT
reactor
Geiger
stirred
would HAVE given

Are you sure the radiation hasn't had an effect?

Re:Wait... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545036)

Cue:
- rabies vaccinations
- fixed path through buildings that underwent renovation
- fences to keep visitors from leaving the fixed route
- strong fences to keep bigger wild animals at bay
- security to move stragglers who stay behind...

Radiation is the least of the problems and there's really nothing that could go wrong with it. OTOH, the zone has grown very wild and desolate, and is not really a safe place to be in. Rabies is common in wild animals (and there is a major population of them), the buildings, roads and bridges are not maintained since '86 and many of them are on brink of collapse, and the place is BIG, it's quite easy to get lost if you get separated from the group.

Re:Wait... (2)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544422)

Well, if you're in a sealed bus probably not that much. For years after the disaster, they used to make guards stand in the rain inside the exclusion zone, keeping regular people out and letting the workers who ran the remaining operational reactors in. Now that is a sucky job.

Exposure... (2)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545030)

You would probably get more radiation exposure from the TSA to fly over there and back....

I hope the tourists don't wreck it. (5, Insightful)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544400)

I know that the most interesting places will be the apartment buildings and other structures where the cold war era artifacts are left untouched. I hope that they stay that way, and don't get sanitised or removed by tourists. The first tour of the area will probably be the best.

Re:I hope the tourists don't wreck it. (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544642)

I know that the most interesting places will be the apartment buildings and other structures where the cold war era artifacts are left untouched. I hope that they stay that way, and don't get sanitised or removed by tourists. The first tour of the area will probably be the best.

Is that because you'll get use to the green glow in a short time, or because it will be your last tour of anything?

Re:I hope the tourists don't wreck it. (4, Insightful)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544678)

I was there in July, part of the "illegal"(yea sure since the government gets a portion of the fee) tours.
Most places are in ruins and falling apart, anything of value has been stripped from inside the building. You do have large soviet items that are to big to haul away, that are left. What you get in the building are books, bottles, desks ,etc.
You have to worry about nails, broken glass, etc. So I am afraid the government will clean up the area put down carpeting and ropes and make it museum instead of place you have wander around. However as it is I would guess the government is going to close down the private tours and control the whole thing, they will advertise it more and take bus loads of people instead of the smaller vans currently used.
that said it was one of the best tours I have ever been on, and will probably go again, would like to do one of the overnight tours so I can get farther into the city.
One other thing about them doing this is that Kyiv is the location of some upcoming European football tournament so they are having lots of people coming and doing lots of upgrades and contructions, new airport, new hotels etc. As it is Kyiv is not that tourist friendly but is a great place to go to now.

Interesting preservation question (4, Interesting)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544716)

You hope that tourists don't wreck "it".

The problem I think is deciding what "it" is. The state of the area on 13 December 2010? What happens if a tourist breaks off a piece of something / steals something? do you put a replica in its place? What happens if there is heavy snowfall this year or rainstorms and these threaten to damage the soviet murals in the buildings or even collapse a roof of a building. Do you let them collapse, rebuild them, actively preserve them in some state?

This is the dilemma - what is the state you want to keep things in? Clearly the place has been touched by people, weather, and wildlife since (1986 was it?) - there's decay, graffitti, some stuff has been moved or stolen. What are your feelings? is it a tourist park, or a memorial, or other? Historians and cultural experts all have opinions about this.

Close to home, in the town I live in, Bletchley Park also has this issue to a small degree. They are always struggling for money but one question they have to think about is what state to preserve the place. A lot of the the famous codebreaking huts are in really poor condition - but then they were only designed as temporary wooden buildings to last a few years in the war. Now 70 years on their cheap constructions are falling apart. Do we freeze them somehow? tear them down and build replicas (but maybe to higher quality so they last longer and can survive tourists)? Do we save what is left and incorporate some of that original material alongside new material (replacing rotten wood, etc?

A big challenge for cultural preservation everywhere. What is the purpose of the Chernobyl area? What do you do when the buildings become unsafe because the weather has got in and they are in danger of falling down?

Re:Interesting preservation question (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544830)

Obviously do both. Its an accumulation of little artifacts not one individual artifact. You could have fun and maintain every other building and let every other building decay, plus or minus the collapse footprint.

Re:Interesting preservation question (1)

frenchbedroom (936100) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544840)

Neither by the public, nor by those who have the care of public monuments, is the true meaning of the word restoration understood. It means the most total destruction which a building can suffer: a destruction out of which no remnants can be gathered: a destruction accompanied with false description of the thing destroyed. Do not let us deceive ourselves in this important matter; it is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture.

John Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture

Re:Interesting preservation question (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545064)

In it's current state is part memorial part tourist site and part educational site.
By wrecking it I would probably mean cleaning it up, proping items up and making it safe for a 3 year olds to run around.
the place is interesting because of the way nature has been destroying it. Places are collapsing and in the Pripyay hotel you even have a tree growing in the floor the top level old bar.
As for what will happen as the building fall and become unsafe they will no longer be visited, and marked as unsafe. It is already happening. Previously they use to bulldoze them and then cover them in dirt but that has been stopped since it just allows the radiation to collect, they are now just allowing them to fall and do as they want.

Re:I hope the tourists don't wreck it. (2)

MrZilla (682337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544736)

There have been tourist trips to Chernobyl for over a decade already. I was there this summer.

Pripyat is already wrecked, since there have been a lot of looters going through the area. Our guide told us that the apartment buildings are completely stripped by now, even the toilet seats are gone.

We visited an abandoned school as well. The old swimming pool area had obviously been used by kids who went there to drink Vodka and smash the place.

Re:I hope the tourists don't wreck it. (1)

Dtyst (790737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544796)

This Chernobyl & Pripyat episode from Madventures season 3 was pretty interesting. Scroll to 7:00 to see some funny old soviet stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYMZFSDmvDI [youtube.com]

strange brew that's also good for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544404)

That would be home made Kombucha.

No mutants allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544406)

Get out of here Stalker

Re:No mutants allowed (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544962)

Aw man i rushed here just to post this :-(

SNPP (1)

donotlizard (1260586) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544410)

No thanks. I've watched The Simpsons. I know what a nuclear power plant looks like.

Re:SNPP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544590)

It's pronounced 'nucular'. Nucular.

WTB Artifact from exclusion zone (1)

Jayemji (1054886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544480)

Looking for Urchin artifact, offering 5k RU.

Re:WTB Artifact from exclusion zone (1)

Pharago (1197161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544526)

meet me at sidorovich's place at 18:00 and we'll talk about prices...

Re:WTB Artifact from exclusion zone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544634)

Dont go there. Its now a monolith chopshop. Would not buy again.

Re:WTB Artifact from exclusion zone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544866)

I would like to order a Military Exoskeleton suit. What is the going rate?

Obligatory KiddOfSpeed reference (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544502)

http://www.kiddofspeed.com/ [kiddofspeed.com]

Regardless of any controversy over how the pictures were taken, they and the commentary are interesting nonetheless.

Re:Obligatory KiddOfSpeed reference (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544660)

Based on that website, I had played with the idea of getting in there myself for years. Lack of funds and lack of a motorcycle made the idea remain... an idea.
However, I would be more inclined to explore thar fairly vast territory by myself, not in a big safe can with 30 strangers and following a predefined path. It would be just like looking at 3D documentaries, sans the comfort.

Re:Obligatory KiddOfSpeed reference (1)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544826)

Thanks for that link, that's an interesting site.

Re:Obligatory KiddOfSpeed reference (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544876)

Your welcome. There's more stuff (about Ukrainian battlegrounds and the Soviet Gulag) at her old Angelfire site:

http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/ [angelfire.com]

Obligatory quotation (1)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544538)

Tourist, Rincewind decided, meant "idiot".

— Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

..and "traveller" means.... (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545076)

well "traveller", as in "hey man, I am a traveller, not a tourist!" - means a tourist with pretensions.

I had great fun backpacking round the world and telling the international hippy set that I was most definitely a tourist, not a "traveller'. Either you live somewhere, or you're just touring through it, or you're popping in for a quick look.

And yup, most of the time you're a fish out of water and a total idiot. But hey, we all got to get along. I put up with dumb Americans in my neighbourhood and gently try to educate them when its possible so when I visit America they'll tolerate me being dumb and hopefully educate me a little too....

What they should do (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544546)

That thing is a mess, and they're struggling to contain it even after decades. They should nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be--- oh, wait.

RE: Already Open (5, Informative)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544614)

Actually, the area is already open to a plethora of tourists and buses. You pay your $50USD, and you get taken through the exclusion zone(s), stopping at the monuments, reactor, and Pripryat.

Some snaps from my trip, for the interested:

http://ninjito.com/2008-08-16 [ninjito.com]

The reactor:
http://ninjito.com/2008-08-16/qx-ch-6.jpg [ninjito.com]
'The' hotel in Pripryat
http://ninjito.com/2008-09-12-PANO/qx-pano-pripyat-1.jpg [ninjito.com]
Roof of the hotel, with the reactor in the background [Note, this was seen by 'straying from the group ;)]
http://ninjito.com/2008-09-12-PANO/qx-pano-pripyat-2.jpg [ninjito.com]
Neat shot of some of the hidden murels
http://ninjito.com/2008-08-16/qx-pripyat-1.jpg [ninjito.com]

Re: Already Open (4, Funny)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544868)

Yeah, I was planning to take my mate there for his Stag Weekend, mainly so that he can't have kids.

Re: Already Open (1)

slimshady945 (1553213) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544966)

It's wild how much it looks like Feodosia, Allushta, and Sudak... all of which have been continuously inhabited. Of course, the Soviets weren't really known for pushing the architectural envelope.

Cool! (1)

rcasha2 (1157863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544618)

Free tans that glow in the dark!

It's already been open to tourists for years (5, Informative)

timbo234 (833667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544624)

Some friends of mine did a tour through there - to within ~200 metres of the reactor 'sarcophagus' a few months ago. These tours have been running for years now form several different operators. Look up any travel website or just google 'chernobyl tours' and you'll find plenty about this.

I read the article but still can't understand WTF it's about when you consider these tours have been going on for years.

Re:It's already been open to tourists for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544692)

Yeah, I've been thinking of going myself. Tour Kiev offers a tour, for example: http://tourkiev.com/chernobyltour/
Picked up that link a few years ago, so the tours really are nothing new.

Re:It's already been open to tourists for years (3, Informative)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544734)

I went with Tour Kiev and it was great.
The way it works is that all those companies funnel you to the same location and same tour. You are picked up in Kyiv and watch movies for the drive. Once there you pick up some local government people who are your tour guides.
After your 5 hours there they leave and you are driven back to Kyiv.
Do it quickly, with this action the tours are going to probably going to become more disneyfied. Also some european football tournament is taking place there next year or 2012 and that will bring lots of people.
I stayed at Hotel Ukraine(in independece square) get a junior suite and facing the square. One of the most interesting trips I have ever done. The place is not tourist friendly, lack of signs pointing to major sites, lack of "tourist" events, etc.

Nitpicking (1)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544632)

nearly a quarter of a century ago

I suppose the more succinct and arguably more precise "24 years ago" or "in 1986" sounds so ordinary (to a journalist's ears, at least.

Re:Nitpicking (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545086)

I prefer to date such things as "in the previous millennium".

I suppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544644)

In Soviet Russia, Chernobyl tours you!

Interesting... (5, Informative)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544718)

AFAIK, the zone is already open for tourists. In guided tours, with authorized guides, the tour takes at most a day, visitors are screened for radiation levels upon entering and exitting and the guide has an active geiger counter at all times (which is one of major attractions too). At least a few travel agencies in Poland and Ukraine offer these tours (e.g. link [bispol.com] )

The route, time and organization of these tours really minimizes all radiation-related danger to bare minimum and as long as you follow the guide, there is no risk of overexposure whatsoever. (still, the free-roaming of Pripyat part of the tour, on the other hand, has a considerable risk of getting hurt by parts of ruined buildings.)

The zone is in major part uncontaminated and totally harmless (save for rabid wolves, collapsing roofs of houses, getting lost and freezing to death, wild boars and the likes) but there are still many smaller or bigger patches of more radioactive areas - not radioactive enough to harm you if you cross in a car or even walking at a fast pace, but enough to mean somewhat heightened cancer risk if you camp there for a night. Generally, if you have a geiger counter and an inch of brain to follow what it says, radiation is not a danger - the count rises, you turn around. If you are an experienced hiker and have some rudimentary means of defense from wild animals, you can spend weeks in the zone just fine.

Generally, obtaining permission to enter the zone is not very hard. Many Airsoft groups organize their games there for example. Which areas you are allowed to enter and for how long, is a different matter. You get day permissions at most for Pripyat, but for example, the far west of the zone is pretty open and accessible - the standard 30km perimeter around the power plant has been extended about 30km more to the east-north-east where one of two major clouds of contamination struck. That cloud was long, wide, but more stretched, so the levels near that border of the zone have already dropped to entirely safe levels by now and getting a prolonged permit for that area is not a problem at all.

Re:Interesting... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544964)

AFAIK, the zone is already open for tourists. In guided tours, with authorized guides, the tour takes at most a day, visitors are screened for radiation levels upon entering and exitting and the guide has an active geiger counter at all times (which is one of major attractions too). At least a few travel agencies in Poland and Ukraine offer these tours (e.g. link [bispol.com] )

The route, time and organization of these tours really minimizes all radiation-related danger to bare minimum and as long as you follow the guide, there is no risk of overexposure whatsoever. (still, the free-roaming of Pripyat part of the tour, on the other hand, has a considerable risk of getting hurt by parts of ruined buildings.)

The zone is in major part uncontaminated and totally harmless (save for rabid wolves, collapsing roofs of houses, getting lost and freezing to death, wild boars and the likes) but there are still many smaller or bigger patches of more radioactive areas - not radioactive enough to harm you if you cross in a car or even walking at a fast pace, but enough to mean somewhat heightened cancer risk if you camp there for a night. Generally, if you have a geiger counter and an inch of brain to follow what it says, radiation is not a danger - the count rises, you turn around. If you are an experienced hiker and have some rudimentary means of defense from wild animals, you can spend weeks in the zone just fine.

Generally, obtaining permission to enter the zone is not very hard. Many Airsoft groups organize their games there for example. Which areas you are allowed to enter and for how long, is a different matter. You get day permissions at most for Pripyat, but for example, the far west of the zone is pretty open and accessible - the standard 30km perimeter around the power plant has been extended about 30km more to the east-north-east where one of two major clouds of contamination struck. That cloud was long, wide, but more stretched, so the levels near that border of the zone have already dropped to entirely safe levels by now and getting a prolonged permit for that area is not a problem at all.

AFAIK, the zone is already open for tourists. In guided tours, with authorized guides, the tour takes at most a day, visitors are screened for radiation levels upon entering and exitting and the guide has an active geiger counter at all times (which is one of major attractions too). At least a few travel agencies in Poland and Ukraine offer these tours (e.g. link [bispol.com] )

The route, time and organization of these tours really minimizes all radiation-related danger to bare minimum and as long as you follow the guide, there is no risk of overexposure whatsoever. (still, the free-roaming of Pripyat part of the tour, on the other hand, has a considerable risk of getting hurt by parts of ruined buildings.)

The zone is in major part uncontaminated and totally harmless (save for rabid wolves, collapsing roofs of houses, getting lost and freezing to death, wild boars and the likes) but there are still many smaller or bigger patches of more radioactive areas - not radioactive enough to harm you if you cross in a car or even walking at a fast pace, but enough to mean somewhat heightened cancer risk if you camp there for a night. Generally, if you have a geiger counter and an inch of brain to follow what it says, radiation is not a danger - the count rises, you turn around. If you are an experienced hiker and have some rudimentary means of defense from wild animals, you can spend weeks in the zone just fine.

Generally, obtaining permission to enter the zone is not very hard. Many Airsoft groups organize their games there for example. Which areas you are allowed to enter and for how long, is a different matter. You get day permissions at most for Pripyat, but for example, the far west of the zone is pretty open and accessible - the standard 30km perimeter around the power plant has been extended about 30km more to the east-north-east where one of two major clouds of contamination struck. That cloud was long, wide, but more stretched, so the levels near that border of the zone have already dropped to entirely safe levels by now and getting a prolonged permit for that area is not a problem at all.

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Read _Wolves Eat Dogs_ by M. C. Smith (3, Interesting)

chrislott (1785872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544800)

I highly recommend reading the book _Wolves Eat Dogs_ by Martin Cruz Smith for a fictionalized account of chasing criminals thru the Zone of Exclusion. Lots of details about radiation, residents who stayed, and the disaster itself. Don't know how close it is to truth of course. Disclaimer: he's my favorite mystery writer.

itinerary? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544834)

do we get to see thunderdome in bartertown?

Been there, done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544862)

Well, I already managed to leave Pripyat alive in Call of Duty 4, so I'm not going to risk it once more.

I saw a great series of pictures from there... (2)

jnelson4765 (845296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544864)

I got to see a presentation given by a nuclear scientist who went there last year on a vacation - it can be done, but it takes at least one person in the tour that speaks decent Russian. Wild pictures - growing up at the end of the Cold War, seeing an abandoned, looted Soviet-era city is a little creepy.

Scratch that, a whole bunch of creepy.

The guy doing the presentation had his own geiger counter, and was showing just how hot some areas of Chernobyl still were. It was wild stuff, and sobering...

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34544904)

... environment kills YOU!

I am glowing with anticipation (1)

maweki (999634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544922)

I am glowing with anticipation

Funding, donations, not only for the new shell... (2)

MetalFingers (1952272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544946)

It would also be a good idea for the tour to include all of the hospitals that take in the young children affected - twenty years later - by the Chernobyl disaster.

Caution: car analogy follows: (3, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544972)

Touring Chernobyl is like walking across a freeway blindfolded, because it's okay, you can't hear any cars.

You see:

(1) The "Quiet Prius" prob: You basic inexpensive Geiger counter, for durability, has a thickish diaphragm over its sensor, which blocks alpha and beta radiation. The element of most concern is Plutonium, which is an Alpha emitter. So, as listening for traffic is not very efficacious at discerning quiet cars, a geiger counter is of no help, indeed, it's less than helpful.

(2) The "Quiet on the average" prob: It does not help that traffic sounds quiet. All it takes is one car to send you flying. Similarly, it does not matter that the radiation level is, on the average, low. All it takes is one particle of Plutonium, nestled against a lung cell, to start a cancer. The cell does not care that averaged over a day, over your whole body, you just picked up a millirad. All it knows is that an alpha particle just smashed into its DNA and caused a mutation. Yes, DNA has some self-repair mechanisms but they're not foolproof.

(3) The "Ivana made it okay" prob-- it does not matter that some dame allegedly snapped some pics years ago. She may be dead or dying now. Plus we will never know how many folks took a similar trip but are now too sick or too dead to post their pics.

(4) The "But Ivan made it across" prob-- It does not matter that your tour guide has been there a dozen times-- You don't know how many other guides are now in the Kiev Home for Comrades With Bad Coughs Who Eventually Keel Over.

Maybe the analogy isn't so bad. Think about whether you'd walk across a quiet freeway before you sign up for this trip.

Fun for all the family! (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544980)

Come kids, take a picture of the two-headed radioactive squirrel to show back to mummy when we go back.

Should be just about as popular... (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545046)

...as if they created a Root Canal Island. :)

The head count (1)

magpie (3270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545056)

...after the trip must be interesting.

A Lead Hotel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34545074)

I wonder if someone couldn't construct a radiation hardened building in the middle of it all? Then they could turn on some air raid sirens in the middle of the night and kick you out for authenticity.

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