World News

Ukraine invites tourists to nuclear disaster site

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine will allow more tourists into the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the worst nuclear accident in history, the former Soviet nation’s Emergency Ministry said on Tuesday.

The 1986 accident at Chernobyl contaminated the surrounding area when a nuclear reactor exploded during a systems test, subjecting many plant workers to lethal doses of radiation and forcing hundreds of thousands of people to be resettled.

The area has since been sealed off and is known as the “exclusion zone”.

The zone has been accessible to visitors only with permission from a special department of the Emergency Ministry, which ran the tours.

The ministry said it would now authorise private companies to carry out guided tours of the area.

“Routes were planned with the key principle of avoiding damage to visitors’ health,” it said in a statement.

Tourists will be able to visit the towns of Chernobyl and Pripyat as well as the nuclear plant itself.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov