I went on a tour to Chernobyl, the site of the worst Nuclear disaster in history. Thousands finished up dying due to the radiation spread by the Reactor explosion. The scariest thing about radiation is that you don’t feel any pain when you are exposed to it, so there is no warning at all. The tour was with Chornobyl Tour and cost US$99 plus another $5 for lunch, you have to book at least a week in advance or it will cost you another $50. The place is still radioactive to varying degrees and the worst affected places will remain so for 20,000 years. There is a 30 kilometer exclusion zone and inside that a 10 kilometer zone with very tight security, controlled by the army due to the terrorist factor but the area is so big that people still manage to get through. The basic rule is cover up, only hands and head exposed and don’t touch anything. You have to wear a dosimeter the whole time and have to turn it in to the authorities at the end of the tour, I presume they will notify you if you have been exposed to a lethal dose hahaha. It is actually quite safe because tourists are only taken to the safe areas but dust does blow around hence the “Don’t touch anything” rule. There are also 3 radiation checks at various points before you are allowed to leave. Over 2000 people still work at the site on the cleanup which is expected to take another 70 years. The reactor was first covered by the Soviets but it was a temporary measure and was replaced in 2018 with a new Structure costing US$2.3 billion funded by the European bank. This was an accident caused by a design fault but not according to the movie “The Russian Woodpecker”.
We also visited the Duga over-the-horizon Radar Site which is inside the 10 km exclusion zone. Apparently it cost billions and never worked. It is absolutely huge, an amazing sight. The movie to watch is “The Man Who Saved the World” the little know true story of a Soviet Radar officer who broke protocol by not reporting multiple missile launches from the USA due to a computer glitch. If he had done so none of us would be here today WWIII.
The model town of Pripyat, population 50,000 was abandoned, people took only what they could carry onto the bus when they were evacuated. They were told they would be back in 3 days time, they never returned. Since then most of the things left behind have been pilfered illegally, Stalkers come to visit and some have painted murals on the walls.