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Science Entertainment

Chernobyl Becomes Tourist Hot Spot 276

prostoalex writes "18 years ago on April 26, the Chernobyl disaster occurred in Central Ukraine. Nowadays, as British Telegraph reports, the radioactive disaster area is becoming a tourist hot-spot with 3000 visitors paying $200 for a guided tour each year."
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Chernobyl Becomes Tourist Hot Spot

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  • Look Maw!! (Score:2, Funny)

    by solid ( 15355 )
    Look maw! 3 hands!

    • Re:Look Maw!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JohnHegarty ( 453016 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:44PM (#8989178) Homepage
      nothing like disabled children for a laugh....

      these are real people ....not a cheap joke in a b movie....
      • Re:Look Maw!! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by justinmc ( 710870 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:58PM (#8989365)
        John, Are you from Ireland - bet you are. In Ireland there is a huge understanding of the awful event in 1986. Today a huge amount of Irish people are working to help the victims. From organising Aid convoys to having Children from the area come to Ireland for the summer to get clean air. A documentary on this won an Oscar this year!! J
      • by Havokmon ( 89874 )
        nothing like disabled children for a laugh....

        Good job mate. You just made the three handed kid feel like an idiot for making a joke of it.

      • Re:Look Maw!! (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        There you go. The result of decades of sensitivity brainwashing. I hate 2004. Repeat after me:

        off-color jokes are not offensive.
        off-color jokes are not sexual harassment.
        off-color jokes are not an attack on me or "my kind".

        your opinion sucks. please kill yourself.
  • by the MaD HuNGaRIaN ( 311517 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:30PM (#8988934)
    Is she guiding the tours?
    Is motorcycle rental included?

  • Illness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by andy666 ( 666062 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:30PM (#8988941)
    Yes but apparently you have an 50 % higher chance of getting ill on such a trip. A lot of travel agents won't give you insurance.
  • Hot Spot? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by l810c ( 551591 ) * on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:30PM (#8988947)
    While it is literally a Hot Spot, I would not call 8.2 visitors per day a Tourist Hot Spot. Your average Porta-Potty gets more visitors per day than that. Would you call a Porta-Potty a Hot Spot?
  • that man has a metal pot stuck to his head!!!


    oh that will be a good one to scrap book!!
  • I hope... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:31PM (#8988967) master ninjas visit there with 4 baby turtles and one rat.
    • by WwWonka ( 545303 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:50PM (#8989256)
      Hell, when I was a Navy Nuke working at the GE facility in Ballston Spa, NY we were decommissioning the S3G nuclear reactor and had to work in the reactor compartment daily. Of course we wore dosimeters and watched our daily exposure.

      Routinely we were lazy and didn't want to work a full day so we would stand next to the main coolant pumps (one of the hottest spots for radiation in the compartment) and crank our dosage and be over our daily limit so we wouldn't have to work the rest of the day.

      Now as I write this 10 years later I wonder why we just didn't take off the damn dosimeter and place it and not us next to the damn hot spot!

      I'm kind of afraid now my first kid will have an extra testical and be able to read people's minds.
  • Why aren't these tourist glowing? Just curious... also... anyone have a radiation-level guide to old nukes, new nukes, "tactical" nukes?
    • Re:Radiation (Score:5, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:44PM (#8989184) Homepage Journal
      Radiation levels are currently lower than the background radiation in Norway []. The real problem is the insides of buildings which still contain trapped radioisotopes. Also, the nearby groundwater has a higher level of radioisotope contamination than normal. You get some radioisotopes in your food and drink all the time. The issue is that a higher dose of these isotopes you get, the higher your risk of cancer.

      And comparing the stuff from a power plant to the stuff from a nuke is kind of stupid. Nukes are meant to make the biggest BOOM possible. They try to use the least materials to do it, and the force required tends to break the materials down into fairly non-dangerous stuff.

      • The real problem is the insides of buildings which still contain trapped radioisotopes.
        If only there was a quick, easy way to flatten all those buil....hey...I have an idea!!
  • Uh-oh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by spaeschke ( 774948 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:32PM (#8988979)
    But can they protect tourists from the mutants, stalkers, and sassy physicists daughters on Japanese rice burners?
  • by thebra ( 707939 ) * on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:32PM (#8988981) Homepage Journal
    "We're fine," she joked. "No health problems. The radiation has got used to us." Tatiana Khrushch, 66, agreed. "The air's clean, the water's lovely and the mushrooms are great," she said.
    I bet they don't have health problems, or they THINK they don't have health problems. I bet they think they are Scooby-Doo too.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:34PM (#8989026)
      The radiation has got used to us.

      Holy crap, it's true. In Soviet Russia (or the former Soviet Russia) radiation gets used to YOU!
    • Perhaps it's simply a matter of wanting or needing the cash generated by tourists, but the area is hardly safe for those that live there. For example in nearby Minsk in Belarus most adults have had nearly 20 years to resign themselves to the consequences and their greatest concern right now is their children. There are programs that try to arrange for children to spend at least 3 months of the year outside the country to minimize the chances of cancer, infertility and birth defects of the next generation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:33PM (#8988995)
    No registration reguired. []

    Just say no to karma whoring!

  • they said 'hot spot,' heh.
  • Souvenirs (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:33PM (#8989002)
    "I went to Chernobyl and all I got was this radioactive T Shirt"
  • by GarbanzoBean ( 695162 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:34PM (#8989009)
    Ahh, I guess slashdotters do go out for a vacation.
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:35PM (#8989035) Homepage Journal
    Strange as it may sound, people visit here from all over the world - the United States, Australia, Japan, the UK... see what our planet will look like a few years/decades from now if something isn't done about the political situation real soon real fast.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:35PM (#8989039)
    glowing reports. It had to be said.
  • Avoid... (Score:4, Funny)

    by solid ( 15355 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:36PM (#8989048)
    "Please do not touch the four-eyed mice"
    "Please refrain from touching your complementary HazTag"
    "Please do not stare directly into chernobyl zone"
    "Please refrain from breathing chernobyl air"
    "Please be respectful of our neighbors for we don't have many left"

  • souvenirs . . . (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StateOfTheUnion ( 762194 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:38PM (#8989095) Homepage
    Will unscrupulous tourists pick up irradiated rocks and plants just like they steal from Petrified Forest National Park []?
  • and you can probably find some trinitite to keep as a souvenir!

    (or can you?)
  • 3000 = "hot"? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:42PM (#8989154) Homepage Journal
    Well, if by 'hot' you mean radioactive. I'd hardly call 3k visitors a year (and at $200/pop that amounts to about $600k, hardly what you'd find in a place like galviston, TX)
    • think about it: average salary is $100 per month, or $1200 per/year. Now, assume that about 6 people probably take care of this, that's $100,000 per year, or 84 times the average salary!!

      Now let's transfer it in american terms:
      Average salary (I assume): $30,000
      84x that: over $2.5 million per year!! ... any further questions?
  • by sssmashy ( 612587 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:43PM (#8989168)
    My family visited Chernobyl and all I got was this stupid thyroid cancer!
  • With this [] as a tour guide, I'd be happy to pay.
  • by dhasenan ( 758719 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:44PM (#8989181)
    Death and dismemberment turned into tourism and profit. I sense a distinct lack of respect for the dead. On the other hand, do they care?
  • by ( 20754 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:44PM (#8989186)
    have all been glowing.
  • by ayden ( 126539 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:45PM (#8989192) Homepage Journal
    I submitted a related story to this last month. Kidd of Speed" [] rides her Kawasaki Ninja into the dead zone through the abandoned towns, cities and villages surrounding Chernobyl.

    The pictures are strikingly beautiful.
  • Stalker (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Serious Simon ( 701084 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:51PM (#8989278)
    This somehow reminds me of the movie Stalker [] by Tarkovsky, in which three men enter a mysterious area, called the Zone enclosed by barbed wire and armed patrol.

    The scenes filmed inside the lush nature of the Zone are in colour, this strangely adds to the eery impression, due to the contrast with the first part of the movie (the normal world) which is filmed in black and white.

  • Iraq anyone? (Score:3, Flamebait)

    by vandan ( 151516 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:55PM (#8989317) Homepage
    If people want to go to a radioactive disaster, maybe they should pick a more current one and have a look at what depleted [] uranium [] weapons [] are doing to the locals. Levels of background radiation are 300 times what they were before the 'shock and awe' terrorist campaign.
  • Just fucking we're going to have to worry about people trying to smuggle radioactive toads with 4 asses, and three-eyed fish.

    Heh, and the FDA thought it was bad that we had genetically engineered neon zebra fish. Heh, those suckers ain't seen nothing yet.

  • by pickapeppa ( 731249 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:56PM (#8989337)
    Ah, nothing like a vacation in the former Soviet Republics. Radioactive bus tours, rampaging gangsters, bathtub gin, and smallpox. Sounds like going to Gary, IN but with a longer plane ride.
  • by noelmarkham ( 714160 ) * on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:00PM (#8989380)
    What's got three legs, walks backwards, and goes 'cluck cluck'?

    A chicken kiev of course!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:08PM (#8989475)
    According to the Swedish Aftonbladet [] Elena Filatov hasn't ridden a motorcycle in the zone [] (in Swedish). She hasn't got a father who's a nuclear physicist. The pictures were taken by Elena and her husband Igor under the supervision of the zone's administration.
  • That's Chornobyl, not Chernobyl. Yes, it matters, because it's a Ukrainian town, not Russian.
  • by Zerbey ( 15536 ) * on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:16PM (#8989564) Homepage Journal
    On the one hand, we have people such as the Kidd of Speed lady who travel there merely to take pictures, tell the story of what happened but above all leave everything alone.

    On the other hand, I'm sure there's unscrupulous types who are going there simply to pick up souveniers and sell them to the highest bidder. This to me is no better than the people who where trying to sell steel from the WTC.

    I hope the Russian government is controlling these tourist trips to make sure no one is profiting from the ongoing suffering of thousands of people.

    What do other Slashdotters think?
    • If they could only use some kind of marker on the objects in there, so they could easily detect them using some kind of "detector" that they use on people leaving the area...

      I got it! They can slap an RFID on everything in there!
    • The kidd of speed actually talks about a radioactive television set that showed up on the used market of a neighboring city shortly after the accident.

      In any case, some theft will happen, yes, but from the pictures, it does look like the local authorities are taking some precautions (armed guards, chemical showers, geiger counters, etc.).

      Also, do note that a lot of our own airports are supposed to be able to detect radioactivity (although that system has been foiled a couple of times by journalists).

  • by gkuz ( 706134 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:21PM (#8989621)
    at all the mutation jokes and all the stupid "in Soviet Russia" jokes (even though Chornobyl is not in Russia), take a look at the site of an organization that's actually doing something to help. [] Maybe even donate some money. This remains a human tragedy of massive proportions.
  • by figa ( 25712 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:30PM (#8989723) Journal
    This [] is by far the best web tour of the area.
  • Pripyat (Score:5, Informative)

    by GooseKirk ( 60689 ) <[goosekirk] [at] []> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:04PM (#8990149) Homepage
    I was lucky to catch the movie "Pripyat" at my local film society a few years ago. It's a black and white documentary about the Zone and some of the people who live there. They also tour Chernobyl and talk to some of the people who work there. It's a beautiful and amazing film, and well worth trying to hunt it down. It's a shame it didn't get a wider release. I remember the engineers who currently work at Chernobyl rarely even get paid... those guys are scrounging for food while operating a nuclear power plant. I suppose they could always eat the local mushrooms... it's the gamma that makes 'em extra tasty!
  • Nice (Score:3, Funny)

    by Stonent1 ( 594886 ) <stonent@sto[ ]t. ... t ['nen' in gap]> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:12PM (#8990243) Journal
    A tourist attraction with a half-life of 3.2 billion years. Now that's hot :)
  • by The Ape With No Name ( 213531 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:25PM (#8992148) Homepage
    You are OK. Step off and the radiation goes up exponentially. Tarmac is good for more than driving I guess.
  • by cdn-programmer ( 468978 ) < minus author> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:48AM (#8993742)
    Well - there are good comments also.

    The issue with the 1/2 life is that it is inversely proportional to the danger. Of course this is modified by what nuclear trash is ejected when a nucleus splits. This part should be obvious to all.

    A second point is that the dangers of low level radiation are drastically overstated. While there is disagreement on the casualties, the fact there is a rift in the attributed numbers is very clear. The UN reports fewer than 50 people died and a few 1000 (horrible of course - I feel so sad for these people) with thyroid cancer. These numbers are in stark contrast to the 300,000+ that some people cite.

    We can learn from the accident, learn a great deal and perhaps from this will come an understanding that nuclear energy has been bad mouthed for decades and has been the target of a rather large disinformation campaign.

    It is my suspicion that the disinformation campaign was fueled by large Texan oil interests who collectively realised that in a nuclear economy - their oil would not be worth much... and hense their power base would erode.

    So they bought themselves a few years of prosperity at the expense of mankind in general, because now this wonderful chemical feedstock has been burned about a fast as possible. From an economic point of view, oil resources are not valuable and the value can only be achieved by burning them up ass fast as freking possible and converting them into money. Right?

    I personally think the disaster is a tragedy. I really feel for these people, they have suffered a great deal. Yet, we now see the beginning of a rebirth.

    Perhaps what we should be looking to do is have all nuclear nations fund actinide transmutations technology based in Chornobyl. This is the perfect place to build these facilities and conduct this research. The area is alreay poisoned and public opion says it will be uninhabitalable for 1000+ years.

    The Nuclear physists and engineers may choose to differ, and they should have the opportunity to put their money where their mouths are so to speak. The area is beautiful. Actinide transmutation technology can reclaim it.

    Rather than be negative about this, lets be positive. Lets build the biggest bloody actinide transmutations lab, then facility in the world and end our nuclear waste problems in the process.

    Stockpiling is just bullshyte. Burning the garbage gets rid of it and no-one can build a weapon out of nuclear isotopes after they have been burnt up. Its the perfect solution and the Ukrane can export the surplus power to Europe. Right?

  • Pathetic. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by superhoe ( 736800 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:28AM (#8994578) Homepage
    If Chernobyl disaster jokes are OK at this level, can I start telling some 9/11 WTC jokes now?

    What, no?


    Victims' of Chernobyl suffering is a real fucking thing, I've seen it. This thread makes me sick.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev