The site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in history s set to be come a tourist attraction. The Ukranian government has announced that they will kick off a tourist program in the area that has been closed to the public since the incident occurred.
The catastrophe, known as the greatest nuclear disaster on record, other than the nuclear attacks that the United States made on Japan, happened on April 26, 1986, when a reactor at the local power station exploded. There were 32 workers and firefighters killed in the blast, and radioactive debris contaminated much of Northern Europe.
The hardest hit regions were Belarus, as well as certain sections of Russia and Ukraine, where mass evacuations were put in place. By the end of 1986, the government had put a 30 mile perimeter around the epicenter of the accident, which the Soviet government had sealed off to the public.
Although concerns are still present about the safety of the area, after news was revealed that not all funds allocated for controlling the site have been spent in the way they were meant. Also, according to the Accounts Chamber of the Ukranian government, the three reactors other than the one that exploded were not shut down according to plan, and radioactive materials remain.
A new shell is to be constructed to shield the reactor which was the origin of the tragedy, that will cover the original shield that has deteriorated. The new shield, according to the Washington Post, is to be 345 feet tall, 853 feet wide, and weigh 20,000 tons. The estimated cost for this project is $1.15 billion, and will be funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The official tours will be run in the disaster zone by the Ministry of Emergency Situations. The ministry guarantees that all precautions will be taken to ensure the public's safety. The tours are scheduled to kick off in Jan 2011.