No Holiday At Chernobyl

A few years ago disinformation published an alternative travel book by Martin Cohen, No Holiday: 80 Places You Don’t Want To Visit. Somewhat tongue in cheek, Martin created a grueling world tour of political and cultural excursions to the likes of North Korea’s DMZ, Tora Bora in Afghanistan, and, first in line, radiation-blitzed Chernobyl in Russia.

It turns out that Martin was ahead of the curve; AFP reports that Chernobyl is now a top tourist destination! Only 79 more to go Martin…

CHERNOBYL, Ukraine — Yellow Geiger counter in hand, the guide announces that radiation levels are 35 times higher than normal. Welcome to Chernobyl, the site in 1986 of the worst nuclear disaster in history and now an attraction visited by thousands of tourists every year.

Nearly 25 years after a reactor at the Soviet-era plant exploded, the irradiated zone around Chernobyl is attracting curious visitors from around the world, from nuclear specialists to ordinary tourists, willing to pay 160 dollars (122 euros) a day to visit the zone.

Described by US magazine Forbes as among the “world’s unique places to visit,” Chernobyl last year hosted about 7,500 visitors, according to official figures.

On one recent trip, a small bus ferried tourists to the edge of the zone, forbidden to those without special permission. At the entrance, each signed a form promising to respect rules aimed at preventing contamination, including not eating or smoking outside, not touching anything and not sitting on the ground or even putting down personal belongings.

The tourists signed the form with nervous laughs. A young Belgian psychologist, Davinia Schoutteten, admitted to being “a little bit scared” of the radiation and said she planned to throw away her shoes after the visit.

She moved forward with the other tourists nonetheless, heading toward the infamous reactor, now covered in a cracked concrete shell. The Geiger counter registered radiation levels of 3.9 microsieverts, against a normal level of 0.12 microsieverts…

[continues at AFP]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)