Ukraine to turn Chernobyl into tourist attraction in 2011


KIEV, Ukraine – The exclusion zone of Chernobyl nuclear power plant can be included into the official tour program of Euro-2012 in Ukraine. This was announced today by the Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations Vitaliy But, during a signing ceremony of a joint action plan for EURO-2012 between the Ministries of Emergency of Ukraine and Poland.

Earlier this week, the Minister of Emergency situations of Ukraine, Viktor Baloha, stated that the exclusion zone will open for tourists starting from January 2011.

As of now, a limited number of visitors are already allowed into the 30-kilometer (19-mile) exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which exploded and burned in 1986. According to Baloha, the Ukrainian government will present a detailed plan for lifting the remaining restrictions on travel to the area on December 21.

Currently, guides from the Chernobyl Authority Zone take small groups of people into the exclusion area for a day tour during the summer time. The tours on site usually take three to five hours.

For all the Ukrainian people Chernobyl is a tragedy site. Meanwhile, by telling the true Chernobyl story to the world, the country intends to dispel a number of myths and fears spreading around the world about the exclusion zone. For instance, the radiation level that a visitor receives during an excursion is nearly equal to the one that he gets on board of a plane and is lower than the one he gets during an X-ray examination.