The Chernobyl disaster is till date known as one of the worst nuclear accidents in the world. Soon after the accident in 1986, most of the contaminated areas in and around the Ukrainian power plant where the incident took place were cordoned off by the authorities. The restricted land which is known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone extends around 1,000 square miles (2,589 square kilometres) and it's illegal to live there. However, there are a few families who have moved back to the area.
However, recently Chernobyl tour companies revealed that tourists will now be able to visit the control room, the place where the decisions were made which ultimately resulted in the disaster.
For decades after the incident, the tourists were allowed to only visit abandoned schoolyards, amusement parks, and classrooms that were outside the nuclear power plant since those areas are not considered dangerous anymore. Until now, the place where the explosion took place, the infamous Reactor 4, remained closed to everyone except for the researchers, workers, and a few journalists.
In a recent CNN report, Chernobyl tour companies confirmed that it will be now open for tourists, too. However, according to a Berlin-based news agency, Ruptly, the radiation level of the room could be 40,000 times higher than normal. So, in order to ensure the safety of the visitors, the tourists will have to wear a hazmat suit, helmet, mask, and industrial boots. Also, they will be screened twice for radiation after they visit the room.
This year, around 85,000 visitors have gone to the exclusion zone and the day tours cost around $100 per person. In fact, in July, Ukraine declared Chernobyl as an official tourist attraction. "We must give this territory of Ukraine a new life," said Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, in July, when he signed the decree. "Until now, Chernobyl was a negative part of Ukraine's brand. It's time to change it."