Is it safe to visit Chernobyl in 2020?
Extreme tours to Chernobyl attract a lot of tourists year over year. The number of those wishing to visit the exclusion zone skyrocketed after the release of the epic series HBO. But is it that safe to go to Chernobyl? Here’s what you need to know and what you shouldn’t do if you decided to visit the site of the tragedy.
How can you visit Chernobyl?
Exclusion Zone of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant covers 30 km. You can enter Pripyat legally with the help of several official Ukrainian tour operators. In this case, there will be a group gathering in Kiev, a two-hour bus ride, sightseeing tour, photos against the background of tourist attractions, lunch at the authentic place, and a way back. You can even buy a magnet or a cup with the image of the NPP at a gift shop.
Some tourists consider the professional guides’ beaten tracks quite boring and they resort to illegal stalkers’ services. These guys will try not to risk your or their safety as well. They most likely will give a tour a little more memorably by offering to stay the night in an abandoned house. In this case, the program is individual and the price is negotiable. If you get caught or something goes wrong – every man for himself. So it’s better not to take any chances…
Safety of visiting the exclusion zone
Do you want to get familiar with the history of the Chernobyl disaster? Do you want to feel inexpressible emotions? Then you definitely should visit the exclusion zone. No one will stay indifferent. Guides, who work legally, will make your trip safe.
Many tourists are worried about the radiation background in this area. Won’t they receive a dangerous radiation dose? What happens if they accidentally get caught in the rain?
Potential tourists’ worries are groundless:
- Radiation in the exclusion zone has diminished to the permissible level over time owing to natural decay;
- Area cleanup work has been carried out for over 30 years;
- Tour routes are made away from places with high radiation levels.
The risk of receiving a dangerous radiation dose remains only in immediate proximity to the NPP. The critical level is only inside the «Object «Shelter», however, this territory is only available to service personnel, who does necessary maintenance works in special protective suits.
The radiation dose obtained during the tour to Chernobyl is far smaller than during a two-hour jet flight.
What do you need to know about individual protection?
There’s no need for special work clothes in Pripyat. You better prepare clothes with long sleeves and hiking shoes. Such an outfit will protect you not so much from potential radiation, but from traumas and insects. You don’t have to take a dosimeter either. Your guide will definitely have it.
It’s a good idea to take a raingear, especially during the off-season. But it’s more for your comfort – you shouldn’t be afraid of «radioactive fallout». Rain in this territory is no more dangerous as in any other territory of Ukraine
What you definitely shouldn’t do:
- stray from the group;
- ignore guide’s recommendations;
- visit the exclusion zone unaccompanied by professional guides.
It’s also not recommended to eat in the outdoor area. You will be offered to have lunch on the bus or at the canteen. Widespread advice after visiting Pripyat is to take hard liquor and iodine. Similar prevention methods are a misconception.
In compliance with all the rules, your trip will be safe and full of rich experience. So you can book a place in the tour group and come on an adventure!
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