They want to turn Chernobyl into a tourist paradise. This is real?
According to official forecasts from tour operators in 2019, 150 thousand tourists will visit the Chernobyl exclusion zone, but the country’s authorities dream of millions of visitors …
This is almost a direct speech of the newly elected President of Ukraine, who officially announced his desire to turn the gloomy monument of technological disaster into the most important attraction of the country. And useful – imagine how much money tourists will bring whose interest has been thoroughly fueled by the recent release of the eponymous series? True, there is a flip side to the coin.
The growth of tourism, the number of visitors to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the ghost town of Pripyat, is inevitable in the coming years. And it’s not just about the series and idle curiosity. In 2019, the construction of the second, now permanent, protective dome over the first, temporary “sarcophagus” was officially completed. The main source of the radiation threat in the Zone is reliably covered, moreover, now it is possible to build convenient schedules for visiting the station by tourists and scientists, so as not to interfere with each other. The number of expeditions, studies, excursions will only grow.
The new dome will stand for at least 100 years, but it still can not be compared with the 20 thousand years that will be required to completely clean the 30-kilometer territory. It means that it is impossible to let tourists go for a walk through the lush thickets without guides, but where can I get so many trained personnel? For example, such a simple aspect as checking with a dosimeter the personal of everyone who leaves the zone. The procedure takes several minutes, not including baggage inspection, which means that only one bus will be inspected for an hour or more. Dozens of passage corridors will have to be built at the border, otherwise there is no question of any impressive traffic.
Something is expensive and difficult. And let’s run tourists lightly, without any things at all, giving everyone disposable plastic overalls? A good idea, especially since spoiled travelers will probably want to have a picnic, but eating food and water in the area is deadly. Even if you brought them with you in an airtight bag. As you put a mask on your face at the entrance, do not remove it under any circumstances, even for a selfie. And do not complain, enjoy the tour.
Nothing, not a single object can be taken out of the Chernobyl zone, this is an understandable fact. But is it possible to touch? Alas, it is impossible, and not only because of the fear of radiation. For more than 30 years, without maintenance and repair, they turned many of the structures and objects in Pripyat into rusty, fragile and therefore dangerous trash. To cut yourself, to fall through a rotten floor, to be buried under collapsed ceilings is a very real prospect. So, as in the Stalker universe, you have to make paths and not leave them under pain of the death of the whole group. This is exotic entertainment!
If the wind blows, the air is full of radioactive dust. And if it rains, there are puddles and streams of flowing water around it. A rescue helicopter will not fly to a tourist who has broken his leg, and do not expect. Fight off the aggressive gopher or squirrel yourself while in some bushes a forest boar awaits, and in others – wolves or feral dogs. And spending the night in a zone is akin to a disaster. No, while the pros are doing this, there are at least problems, but how to ensure the safety of thousands and millions of inexperienced tourists in such conditions?
However, the idea to turn Chernobyl into a new tourist Mecca has one huge plus. All this can be organized as a huge experiment to develop new technologies and methods for organizing the conditions for the life of large masses of people in difficult situations. Alas, in the future there will be new technogenic apocalypses and natural disasters, and therefore such knowledge and skills will be very useful to humanity.