Tour OperatorsNew tour takes visitors to the heart of worst nuclear disaster in history

Would you take the risk of visiting Chernobyl Reactor No 4?

Reactor No 4 at Chernobyl  is now a tourist attraction.
Reactor No 4 at Chernobyl is now a tourist attraction. Photo Credit: Blinoff/GettyImages

KIEV - Intrepid tourists can now visit the control room of Chernobyl reactor four, the epicentre of the worst nuclear disaster in history.

Visitors will need to wear respirators, helmets and protective clothing to guard against exposure to radiation.

The success of the Chernobyl HBO series has launched a tourist boom to the site where, in April 1986, an explosion and fire killed 31 people. Many others died later from radiation exposure.

An estimated 200 tonnes of radioactive fuel still remain in the site’s reactor four.

English-language tours of the site usually cost around US$100 per person.

Visitors board buses in the centre of Kiev and are driven 120 kilometres to the area, where they can see monuments to the victims and abandoned villages and have lunch in the only restaurant in the town of Chernobyl.

They are then taken to see reactor number four, which - since 2016 - has been covered by a vast metal dome, 108 metres high. The day finishes with a walk around the ghost town of Pripyat whose 50,000 residents were evacuated.

Officials recently took journalists into the reactor four control room to mark its opening as part of 21 new tourist routes.

The Ukrainian government has been improving walking trails, checkpoints and mobile reception and recently approved river boat tours.

Yaroslav Yemelianenko, director of the largest excursion company Chernobyl Tour, said if visitors stay on the guided route for the day, they are exposed to less radiation than in an hour on a transatlantic plane flight.

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