Chernobyl today: 10 facts about the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
1. Chernobyl is the most popular tourist attraction in Ukraine
Every year, thousands of tourists come to Chernobyl to plunge into a terrible episode of history and witness how nature gradually conquers deserted streets and houses. The ghost city of Pripyat, the museum city of Chernobyl, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, and the Red Forest became unique exhibits. You can visit them during the Exclusion Zone Tour.
2. The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is inhabited
The liquidators and other people working in the Zone settled in the city after the nuclear power station accident. And a few years later, some residents returned to Chernobyl. Today, there are about a hundred so-called self-settlers in the city.
3. Things are humming here
Empty abandoned houses in the center of Chernobyl neighbor upon vibrant enterprises, cafes and hostels where you can stay if you come to Chernobyl for a few days. There is even a functioning church here.
4. Welcome to the USSR
Street names, preserved Soviet era monuments and “red slogans” on some houses remind of the Soviet Union Epoch. And the last monument to Lenin in Ukraine can be found in one of the courtyards.
5. A unique abandoned Pripyat city
Unlike Chernobyl, where the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers live, Pripyat is really a dead city. You can see the stadium and the amusement park in the dense bushes or enter one of the abandoned houses. But walking around the city alone is not recommended, as you may meet with wild animals.
6. The New Safe Confinement is one of the world’s most complex technological objects
In 2012, the construction of a new arch-like confinement over the destroyed reactor started. It is 257 meters wide, 150 meters long and 108 meters high. The total weight of the structures reaches 29,000 tons. Every day, about 3,000 people worked on the construction of the arch.
7. Solar energy is produced in the Chernobyl Zone
4,000 solar panels were installed on the sarcophagus covering the reactor. Thus, the nuclear power plant became the solar one.
8. There are more wild animal and bird species in the Zone than in special natural reserves
Chernobyl is literally teeming with wild animals. The territory of the Exclusion Zone became home for wolves, deer, eagles, beavers, foxes, lynxes, wild boars, elks, hares, river otters, fawns, owls and other animals. Brown bears that are unique for Ukraine also live here.
9. Many locations still keep deadly radiation levels
There are spots of radiation around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, so some areas in the 10-kilometer zone are even more dangerous than the nuclear power plant itself. For example, the background radiation near the “Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant named after V.Lenin” stela reaches 1200 μR/h, and the background radiation near the station itself does not exceed 300 μR/h.
10. Musical clips and movies are often filmed in the Chernobyl zone
In 2014, Pink Floyd presented a clip for the song “Marooned”, filmed in Pripyat.
“The Arch” short film, which was completely filmed in the Chernobyl Zone, received many prestigious awards around the world.
In 2019, the HBO’s Chernobyl mini-series came out. It was recognized as one of the best TV series in the world. Its success resulted in special Chernobyl tours, so that fans could see the places where the events took place.