2021 marks the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, an explosion that displaced thousands and saw the Soviet government implement a 30-kilometer-radius exclusion zone. Now, Ukraine plans to optimize the area for tourism.
Located in the north of the country, Chernobyl’s accident occurred near the now-abandoned city of Pripyat, a stone’s throw away from the Belarusian border.
Writing on Facebook, Kirill Timoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office, revealed plans to build a new amenity, including a museum and places for recreation, and pledged extra money for repairing roads to improve access for tourists and scientists.
“Ukraine is working to ensure that the area is not a place of oblivion, but a point of development,” Timoshenko wrote. “The first solar power plant Solar Chernobyl is already operating in the exclusion zone, and there are opportunities to create new, similar enterprises.”
According to the official, interest in the disaster site has skyrocketed since the success hit HBO TV show ‘Chernobyl,’ with the last three years seeing the number of visitors increase by a factor of 16.
“Gradually, Chernobyl is becoming one of the tourist magnets of Ukraine. A symbol that humanity is able to recover if we draw conclusions from our own mistakes,” he said.
The Chernobyl disaster occurred 35 years ago, on April 26, 1986, when Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. A day later, the Soviet government ordered the evacuation of the nearby city, Pripyat, permanently displacing over 100,000 people. Nowadays, the exclusion zone can be visited by tourists, with regular day trips being run from Ukraine’s capital, Kiev.
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