2 Days Tour with an overnight stay in Chernobyl town.
I’ve already been on a day tour to Chernobyl (Chornobyl) many times.
But this time it was something special, since i went for 2 days with an overnight stay in Chernobyl town. Also, i got a unique, exclusive tour to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant itself.
So i’d like to share my experience and tell you more what you can see on a tour to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine, and you will find out whether it is safe to visit Chernobyl or you should worry about the radiation. Before you ever get to the Exclusion zone, i’d like to answer right away the most important and frequently asked questions.
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone covers an area of approximately 2,600 sq. km. and placed under the police and security service of Ukraine control. So we all understand that this is a restricted area with a nonfree public entrance.
From Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, it takes around 1,5 – 2 hours by car or bus to get to Dutyatky – the first check-point of 30 kilometers zone. Basically, you’ll be crossing two check-points of 30 and 10 kilometers zones to see the Power plant and Pripyat. So let’s figure out what 30 and 10-kilometer zones are.
10 km zone it’s obligatory evacuation zone. Nobody lives there. So if you see people there, it means they are workers or tourists.
30 km zone is a voluntary evacuation zone. There are people who are staying in between their shifts and some self settlers.
What about radiation and is it safe to visit the Chernobyl Exclusion zone?
And that is the most important question.
I am not going to give you a lecture on alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. This you will hear in details on your tour to Chernobyl. Let’s talk a little bit in general about how much radiation you can be exposed to. Please, note that you are not absorbing radiation. You are being exposed to it. It doesn’t mean you are taking it with you to your home.
On your tour to Chernobyl, you all will have a special device – Geiger counter, which measures the radiation. It will be beeping all the time and you will see different numbers. Those numbers are showing radiation in micro Sievert. The average gamma level of radiation in European cities makes up to 0.25 micro Sievert.
The fatal dose for humans is 4 Sievert.
As an example on a flight from Kyiv to New York you can get around 22 micro Sievert. In the end of the tour your Geiger counter will show how much radiation you have been exposed to. I’ve got 0,014 micro Sievert.
This answer suggests the conclusion. It is absolutely safe to go to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone as a tourist, and not even for 1 day. Below you can find the usual plan for sightseeing on 1-day tour to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone:
- Explore Chernobyl town;
- Then the secret non excisting Chernobyl-2 town, where the radar Duga is located;
- Burried village of Kopachi;
- Panorama of Chernobyl power plant;
- Have lunch in a soviet style canteen;
- Have a walk in the ghost town of Pripyat;
In my case on the second day i visited the Chernobyl nuclear power plant itself.
This can be booked additionally on a private basis, it is not a part of any regular tours to Chernobyl.
Many people do not know what is the difference between Chernobyl and Pripyat. Pripyat is a satellite city of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, located about 3 kilometers from the station. However, at the time of opening the power plant, Pripyat had not yet been built. That’s why the nuclear power plant was named after the nearest large city – Chernobyl, which is quite an old town and located 12 km from the plant. So the name of the city went down in history as a symbol of the tragedy.
Now it’s partially abandoned – the residential buildings of Chernobyl have been turned into dormitories where the workers of the Exclusion Zone live. And two hotels where tourists can stay overnight are located in this town.
There is no statistic how many people live in Chernobyl, just from the latest information there are around 30 self-settleres live and up to 1500 people who are shift workers in the Zone. The city of Pripyat is completely abandoned.
After Chernobyl, we head to the Radar Duga.
It is a huge construction, used to be the super secret object, which soviets built during the Cold War and tried to hide in the middle of forest. The location was chosen not by a chance, because this device consumed a large amount of electricity, and it was assumed that the 1st and 2nd power units of the nuclear power plant supplied electricity directly to the station of the radar.
But what was the purpose of this construction? The radar was supposed to track signals of missile launches from the territory of the North America.
But it never worked properly, it failed, and basically it was waste of time and money.
Then we move on to see the power plant from outside.
We stop at the observation deck of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which is a special place where you can get so close to the 4th reactor that exploded. It is the only place near the power plant where it’s allowed to take pictures.
From here you can see in details the sarcophagus that covers the building of the fourth power unit.
It is officially the largest mobile engineering structure in the world with a weight of more than thirty seven thousand tons and 109 meters high.
To understand how huge it is, let’s imagine The Motherland Statue in Kyiv or the Statue of Liberty in New York – any of these ladies could be put inside.
So this unique construction was created to preserve the strong radiation background of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Now it makes it possible to protect the surrounding area from radioactive substances.
Also there on the observation deck you can see a monument to the liquidators of the consequences of the Chernobyl accident.
After the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, thousands of residents from surrounding villages were evacuated. Most of their houses were destroyed and buried. The only one building is survived – it’s a kindergarten in the village of Kopachi.
You can get inside and see the toys, piece of furniture, and many other stuff.. It looks so creepy and sad at the same time.
What about lunch in Chernobyl?
Lunch is served in a soviet-style canteen – basically, this is the place where workers of the power plant have their daily meals.
You’ll be checked first whether you are clean and doest have any radiactive dust on you, then you are welcome to enjoy your lunch. The food is absolutely safe and you may not worry, you won’t be glowing after eating here.
As you can see, the lunch place is very simple, so the same is food. They have almost the same menu for many many years and there is not much of a choice, but anyway you will get a salad, the first course – which is usually borscht, the main dish: today we have rice with meat, a bun and a drink. Not fancy, but it’s tasty though.
To be continued.
Read about Pripyat – the ghost town.