On April 26, 1986, Chernobyl's power plant underwent a nuclear disaster, resulting in the death of 30 people, and affecting the lives of many more in the years that followed. As a result, the area surrounding the power plant was sectioned off, due to its dangerously high radioactive levels.
Now, more than 33 years later, Chernobyl's Reactor 4 control room is open for business, where tourists can safely visit the zone.
Touring Reactor 4
Even though the control room is open for tourists, there are some precautions in place. For instance, every person entering the area has to wear a full bodysuit, breathing masks, helmet, and gloves for protection.
On top of this, visits are only allowed as part of a guided tour.
This is part of the plan to increase the country's tourism. Tourism has already boomed in the area since Ukraine's President Vladimir Volydymyr's speech in July, in which he stated that the power plant would be opening up for visits.
It didn't take international tourists long to show interest, given that it was already piqued following the launch of the TV series: Chernobyl.
Following their visit, tourists must undergo two radiology tests to measure their exposure to contaminants.
However, the once-extremely radioactive zone is meant to be safe nowadays, with as much radiation as a regular X-ray.
Up until the middle of this year, both the northern Ukrainian town of Pripyat and Chernobyl, which are neighboring towns, were at the center of the exclusion zone — an area of roughly 1,000 square miles (3,200 kilometers). That said, a few sections of the zone have been visited by bold tourists over the years.
Reactor 4 was entirely off-limits to everyone but a handful of people, as radiation was 40,000 times higher than any other area in the exclusion zone.
What can you expect when you visit Reactor 4?
A rather eerie site of dusty controls is what you'll see. The room was mostly stripped of its multitude of switches by decommissioned staff, however, much of its wiring and old gadgets remain.
One of the official tour guides of the site, Viktoria Brozhko, told Reuters, "Many people come here, they ask a lot of questions about the TV show, about all the events. People are getting more and more curious... During the entire visit to the Chernobyl exclusion zone, you get around two microsieverts, which is equal to the amount of radiation you’d get staying at home for 24 hours."
Perhaps it's time to see for yourself what an old, and famous, damaged nuclear plant's control room looks like.