Ukraine’s new President has signed a decree that sets out plans to turn the Chernobyl reactor site into an official tourist attraction.
New walking trails, as well as enhanced mobile phone reception, are planned for the area. A new €2.1bn metal structure finished construction in February of this year, designed to safeguard against any radiation leakage.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was voted into power in May this year. He is an actor and comedian famous for playing a teacher who accidentally gets elected president of the country.
Zelensky commented: “We will create a green corridor for tourists. Chernobyl is a unique place on the planet where nature [has been] reborn after a huge man-made disaster.”
“We have to show this place to the world: to scientists, ecologists, historians [and] tourists.”
Many tourists already visit the area, despite restrictions being in place around the exclusion zone. The Government plans to install an electronic ticketing system for visitors, to cut down on bribes to offocials for access.
“The exclusion zone is also a symbol of corruption,” Mr Zelensky said. “This includes bribes that law enforcers collect from tourists. We will stop all of this very soon.”
The Chernobyl disaster occurred in April 1986, and has been in the public eye following HBO’s recent dramatization of the events surrounding it.
The reactor explosion sent a radioactive plume across Europe and, according to the UN, nearly 50,000 square kilometres of land were contaminated.
At least 31 people were killed in the immediate aftermath and the effects of the explosion continue to be felt to this day.