The Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is a strict access area that was subjected to intensive contamination with long-lived radionuclides as a result of the Chornobyl accident. The zone was established in 1986 after the public was evacuated from the 30 km territory around the plant.

The functional purpose of the Exclusion Zone is to prevent the spread of radioactive substances and to monitor the state of natural systems and industrial facilities.

The State Agency of Ukraine for Exclusion Zone Management is currently developing new routes for visit to the Exclusion Zone in accordance with the Decree of the President of Ukraine “On Some Issues of the Development of Territories Exposed to Radioactive Contamination in the Chornobyl Disaster”. In particular, the routes envisage transfer through the Prypyat and Uzh rivers.

According to Agency management, the development of new formats for visits to the Exclusion Zone was initiated by tourist operators since the number of visitors became almost 10 times as high over the past five years.

Uatom.org Editorial Board asked the Kyivans what they know about the Exclusion Zone and what they think of the idea to develop new routes and forms of tourism in the Exclusion Zone.


Natalia, 26 years old, accountant

Do you know what the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is and to whom and under what conditions can you go there?

I know that excursions are currently conducted there that allow visiting the city of Prypyat. I do not know how close they approach to the reactor. I have heard that my friend was there.

How safe do you thing is visiting the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone?

As a teacher of physics and mathematics by profession, I know that this is hazardous, because radiation is still exceeded there and this negatively affects our health. This is enough for us even here without traveling to the very heart of radiation.

What do you think will happen after opening this area to tourists from all over the world and making a completely free access to it?

This is the business of every person. That is, if you are conscious and care about your health at least a little, and if you are interested in anything, you just will not go there. Otherwise — I do not know. “The forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest”. Thus, probably, if people cannot go there, they would travel there more than allowed. You can catch radiation without even knowing that you are in it. After all, we do not have dosimeters and do not check the dose every time.  


Vadym, 34 years, professional realtor

Do you know what the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is and to whom and under what conditions can you go there?

My father was a participant in Chornobyl accident mitigation, he was an ambulance driver. Later, he received the status of the participant in mitigation of the consequences of the Chornobyl accident. I know that recently, the so-called voluntary tourists have been unauthorized to visit Chornobyl. Thank God, everyone is still safe and sound.

How safe do you thing is visiting the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone?

There are risks, but there are different radiation levels in various locations. As far as I know, people go to the places where radiation sensor shows the minimum level. However, if they will get into some hot spots and will be significantly exposed to radiation, there will be a threat to health anyway.

What do you think will happen after opening this area to tourists from all over the world and making a completely free access to it?

The idea is interesting, very interesting, of course. I personally would go there, because I was thinking about private excursions. However, it is necessary to note again, the potential audience needs to be reassured, preventive measures should be taken to ensure that everything is ok there, everything is fine, that there is almost a resort. All radioactivity scales should indicate: welcome. 


Oleksandra Semenivna, 65 years, retiree

Do you know what the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is and to whom and under what conditions can you go there?

Don’t worry. I sometimes call my former employee, and she laughs: “Oh”, she says, “you’re calling me and you’re afraid that I’ve died, but I’m fine to this day”.

How safe do you thing is visiting the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone?

How safe it is, I will not say for sure, but how worried I was — I had to go there, but my employees vent there and they are alive and well.

What do you think will happen after opening this area to tourists from all over the world and making a completely free access to it?

If Ukrainians are strong, hardworking, hospitable, if we breathe and enjoy everything that exists in Ukraine, then guests can be invited. 


Viktor, 40 years, entrepreneur

Do you know what the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is and to whom and under what conditions can you go there?

33 years have passed and nature is changing, the zone is changing, the area of influence is changing. In general, nature is being refined. I heard that besides the fact that many animals live there, people also live there. They have been living for more than 90 years in a permanent place of residence. As if the atmosphere and the air is being cleaned over the years. It does not go around in a circle.

How safe do you thing is visiting the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone?

It is safe now. It is hard to say something about the city of Pripyat where it all happened. It is necessary to go there and conduct survey, so that the devices show whether it is safe or not.  One should perform a research right at the very hot spot there. I think that staying 10 km away from there is safe.

What do you think will happen after opening this area to tourists from all over the world and making a completely free access to it?

If it is safe, it will be good. There is nothing extraordinary there. Any place is beautiful in its own way; people perceive it in their own way. That is good. Only through research can we understand how safe and how interesting it is. That is up to us. 


Eric, 23 years, student

Do you know what the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is and to whom and under what conditions can you go there?

I know that this was the fourth reactor blowup and it caused radiation to spread out in the world, first, to Europe and Sweden. That was one of the biggest natural… oh no… man-made disasters — the nuclear catastrophe.

The zone? What I think about it? That was really good, really interesting. Out guide was amazing. She showed us different parts of the zone, even the most contaminated areas. We have seen both the abandoned houses and the ones where people are still living.

How safe do you thing is visiting the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone?

I do not think it is dangerous. Maybe in other areas such as Rudyi Lis where the radiation level is still very high. We stayed there a couple of minutes and immediately left it due to a hazard.

What do you think will happen after opening this area to tourists from all over the world and making a completely free access to it?

I am sure that visiting the Exclusion Zone is worth it if you want to learn more about the history of the reactor and the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. It was a great opportunity for us to be there. However, I noticed that the view of Ukrainians about this all is different. There are many tourists, and it was a good tour for us. 


Emmy, 25 years, student

Do you know what the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is and to whom and under what conditions can you go there?

The largest nuclear disaster in the history of humankind occurred in Chornobyl. I think anyone can visit it as long as you pay.

How safe do you thing is visiting the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone?

I think that it is still dangerous. The tourists make sure to keep you safe. I feel that they want to exposure you to such a high danger.

What do you think will happen after opening this area to tourists from all over the world and making a completely free access to it?

I think that visiting the Chornobyl zone by tourists is good because they should be aware of what happened. This is a great shot to prevent it from happening it again.  


Oleg, 51 years, employee

Do you know what the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is and to whom and under what conditions can you go there?

So recently, there were some news, even today I heard apparently that some vodka is produced there. Yes, have you heard it? They produced some vodka, in the Chornobyl zone that contains no components that are forbidden for human life.

How safe do you thing is visiting the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone?

Safe or dangerous — specialists with serious knowledge in this field can correctly answer this. Moreover, we have institutions, and so on.

What do you think will happen after opening this area to tourists from all over the world and making a completely free access to it?

If money gets into the budget of Ukraine even due to the Exclusion Zone, I think, this is normal. There is not enough money.


Denys, 27 years, sportsman

Do you know what the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is and to whom and under what conditions can you go there?

I know that this zone is closed. It is closed to free visits. As a tourist, you cannot go there freely.

How safe do you thing is visiting the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone?

I think, yes. If unaccompanied and without any equipment — I think, yes.

All existing tourist routes to the Exclusion Zone were checked by dosimetrists and are safe for visitors. All trips should be conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Law of Ukraine “On the Legal Regime of the Territory Exposed to Radioactive Contamination as a Result of the Chornobyl Catastrophe” and the “Radiation Safety Rules for Activities in the Exclusion Zone and Zone of Unconditional (Mandatory) Resettlement”.

What do you think will happen after opening this area to tourists from all over the world and making a completely free access to it?

If a notification will be conducted prior to this, there will be certain rules on where to go and where not to go, and tourists will be normally equipped at least with devices indicating the radiation level — then it is quite possible.

Uatom.org Editorial Board