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For This New Tourist Site, You Need a Hazmat Suit

Ukraine makes Chernobyl control room open for short visits
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2019 9:15 AM CDT
This 2000 file photo shows the control room of Unit 4 in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

(Newser) – Not every vacation requires you to receive not one but two tests for radiation exposure, but not every vacation involves a visit to the control room at Chernobyl. Officials in Ukraine are now letting tourists make five-minute visits to the room where the infamous meltdown took place in 1986, reports CNN. Those who indulge must wear a hazmat suit and industrial boots, and they will receive two radiation tests afterward. While much of the area surrounding the plant is deemed safe for visitors, the control room itself may have radiation levels 40,000 times above normal, per Business Insider.

Tourism is booming at the site, thanks in part to the HBO series Chernobyl, which debuted in May. Ukraine formally embraced the phenomenon in July by declaring Chernobyl an official tourism zone. "We must give this territory of Ukraine a new life," Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky said at the time. "Until now, Chernobyl was a negative part of Ukraine's brand. It's time to change it." (The locale is also popular with stray dogs, whose forebears were likely abandoned after the explosion.)

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