They want to turn Chernobyl into a tourist Paradise. Is this real?
Only according to official forecasts from tour operators in 2019, the Chernobyl exclusion zone will be visited by 150 thousand tourists, but the country’s authorities dream of millions of visitors…
This is almost a direct speech of the newly elected President of Ukraine, who officially declared his desire to turn the grim monument of a man-made disaster into the country’s most important landmark. And now-imagine how much money will bring tourists, whose interest is thoroughly fueled by the recent release of the eponymous series? However, there is a downside to the coin.
The growth of tourism, the number of visitors to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the Ghost town of Pripyat, is inevitable in the coming years. And it’s not just about the series and idle curiosity. In 2019, the construction of the second, now permanent protective dome over the first, temporary “sarcophagus”was officially completed. The main source of radiation threat in the Zone is reliably covered, moreover, now you can build convenient schedules for visiting the station by tourists and scientific experts, so that they do not interfere with each other. The number of expeditions, research, and excursions will only grow.
The new dome will last at least 100 years, but this still does not go to any comparison with the 20 thousand years that will be required for the complete cleaning of the 30-kilometer territory. So, you can’t let tourists go for a walk in the background thickets without guides, but where can you get so many trained personnel? For example, such a simple aspect as checking the personal dosimeter of everyone who leaves the zone. The procedure takes several minutes, not counting the baggage inspection, so only one bus will be inspected for an hour or more. We will have to build dozens of passageways at the border, otherwise there will be no significant traffic.
Something expensive and difficult comes out. And let’s run tourists light, without things at all, giving everyone disposable plastic overalls? A good idea, especially since spoiled travelers will probably want to have a picnic, but the use of food and water in the area is deadly. Even if you brought them with you in an airtight bag. As you put a mask on your face at the entrance, do not remove it under any circumstances, even for selfies. And don’t complain, enjoy the tour.
From the Chernobyl zone, not to take anything, any subject, it is a clear fact. But can I touch it? Unfortunately, you can’t, and not just because of the fear of radiation. More than 30 years without maintenance and repair have turned many structures and objects in Pripyat into rusty, fragile and therefore dangerous junk. Cut yourself, fall through a rotten floor, be buried under collapsed ceilings – a very real prospect. So, as in the universe of “Stalker”, you will have to lay paths and not go off them under fear of the death of the entire group. This is an exotic entertainment!
If the wind blows, the air is full of radioactive dust. And if it’s raining, there are puddles and streams of gushing water around. The helicopter of rescuers to the broken leg of the tourist will not arrive, and do not hope. Fight off aggressive ground squirrels or squirrels yourself, while in some bushes waiting for a forest boar, and in others-wolves or feral dogs. And spending the night in the zone is akin to a disaster. No, while the pros are doing this, there are a minimum of problems, but how to ensure the safety of thousands and millions of inexperienced tourists in such conditions?
However, the idea of turning Chernobyl into a new tourist Mecca has one huge plus. All this can be organized as a huge experiment to develop new technologies and methods for organizing conditions for the lives of large masses of people in difficult situations. Alas, in the future there will be new man-made Apocalypses and natural disasters, and therefore such knowledge and skills will be very useful to mankind.