Disaster Tourism: Holidays in Chernobyl | DW Documentary

Disaster Tourism: Holidays in Chernobyl | DW Documentary


contaminated abandoned apocalyptic the Chernobyl exclusion zone three decades after the nuclear disaster one man wants to revive the region my main job is creating and then helping to develop a principle and new phenomenon in the history of our civilization the Chernobyl torus more speaking in more broad terms post radiation accident tourism business is booming visitor numbers have skyrocketed and are soon expected to top 100,000 a year vacation like no other an unrivaled experience you won’t find anywhere else but for the zones sparse population daily life is hard after the accident the people here were evacuated they were told they’d be gone for three days but they were never allowed back they said we don’t want to hear you’re contaminated [Music] ceremony taking a stroll in the radioactive Chernobyl exclusion zone now we are heading towards the hospital which received the first heroes and victims of the radiation and accident and what is interesting even now inside the building is the help of the decimeter we can trace the way in which they were brought you know to the rooms of a as they received you know more thorough treatment the workers called in to clean up after the 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion were officially called Liquidators but they could only contain not eliminate a disaster of this magnitude within days 134 Liquidators suffered acute radiation poisoning 28 died that year it’s not known how many people died later from radiation exposure estimates range between 20,000 and 50,000 today the area around Chernobyl remains an exclusion zone but some pockets inside have been cleaned up in her safe to enter you know my my personal opinion is that the authorities there is a Hayabusas of each country after the election you know should immediately be posted to the Chernobyl zone to see the price of the any states of their incompetence to all to understand what the action can result into the zone is fenced off and can only be entered through one of several checkpoints this is where sirhe’s story at chernobyl began as a chemist he was drafted into the team of first responders this old Soviet tank brings back memories of this dangerous mission 32 years ago his reconnaissance team was sent deep into the affected area to measure radiation levels at the time no one knew how high they really were Sarah his results prompted the evacuation of communities located around the reactor and the establishment of a three and a half thousand square kilometer exclusion zone a lot has changed since then well you know it’s my pleasure that now instead of the military Liquidators I see huge crowds of tourists who visit the places with where I used to measure 1000 times more high radiation sir he is keen to share his experiences as a scientist and veteran liquidator with outsiders he offers all inclusive tours into the contaminated zone his company already has 25 employees competitors are jockeying for a share of this market but Sarah he is ahead of the pack good marketing is part of his business strategy t-shirts that glow in the dark and Chernobyl ice-cream imagines that the Chernobyl tourism will be the driver of a new stage of normalization of situation after the accident you know then it’s time for an unusual sightseeing tour what motivates tourists to come here why have they voluntarily entered a contaminated zone more sample think it was a hugely significant event that happened here three decades ago for me it’s an opportunity to see what’s happened here since also because of current debate on phasing out nuclear power in Europe associate on topic come home for quake to better understand why nuclear power plants need to be closed I want to see what happened here my parents are thrilled about me coming here neither is my girlfriend fortunately we already have kids so she needn’t worry on that account is that more info for the future medicine no notes about how hazardous is the zone today sarahi debriefs the tourists when block four exploded on April 26 1986 the burning reactor spewed radioactive debris and isotopes into the air the toxic material and dust contaminated huge swaths of land the cleanup began immediately some 800,000 Liquidators were drafted in serving at great personal risk many locations were cleared today their radiation levels are low enough to allow short visits but there are still highly contaminated areas that could pose a safety hazard if approached that’s why visitors can only enter the zone in the company of local guides like serhiy radioactivity is an invisible danger radiation measurement instruments are indispensable equipment on the tour sarahi first shows the tourists how to use a Geiger counter and now from the sound of their more frequent clicking you realize that you know the approach and you know as also the sound alarms went down you’ll see how the radiation intensity increases as we approach this this place and then as you leave this area just again watch your readings once more in order to realize how quickly the radiation intensity decays will visit distance the soil around this tree is still emitting radioactivity 2.7 millisieverts per second that’s about 15 times higher than natural background radiation short exposure though is harmless just a fraction of an x-ray there used to be a village here after the accident it was dismantled and buried it’s kindergarten is all that remains so this is just slightly higher than Kiev’s radiation level I think Kyiv has 0.18 the hot spot here at the tree was 6 point 7 in some places no reason for alarm right oh let’s hope so at the end of the day we all want to go home unharmed furniture and toys left behind in the rush of the evacuation scenes that bring to mind a horror movie and Soviet nostalgia it’s hard to tell what’s clicking more the tourists geiger counters or their cell phone cameras it’s beeping the whole time it makes for a bit of a weird atmosphere you can’t help remember and this was a place where people lived and all the kids in this kindergarten you see the little beds the atmosphere is strange a bit like a cemetery really [Music] prypiat – is a ghost town built by the soviets for plant workers and their families it was home to 50,000 people until the accident then they were all evacuated prypiat exemplifies the legacy of the disaster like no other place in the zone we approach is the most iconic site of the town of creepeth which is the ferris wheel and the amusement park it started to become you know just the symbol of the town of pre-paid so well now we are in front of it and behind it there is amusement park with plenty of attractions yeah you know it’s it’s really very simple except this view never went into a you know a regular operation it was supposed to start being used on the 1st of May 1986 it was almost ready and then five days before the accident happened you know and so now this view which was never in operation is the most famous ferris wheel in the room creepy it’s morbid charm is a moneymaker it draws tourists from 85 countries this is good to has such a special interesting shipment specification like no other an unrivaled experience you won’t find anywhere else different amusements like that completely preservers our guide hopes visitors can help the region around Chernobyl improve its image an image he says that also must be decontaminated it turned out that the tourism is an inevitable element of the system of the mitigators long-standing consequences of radiation accident including Chernobyl you know it revives the area it brings the people to the area and well at last but not definitely not at least it is the best way to learn the lessons of those huge and important accidents well and I’m kind of proud that I am continued to well I would say finish their efforts of the first Liquidators to whom i partly belong as a former officer of duration recognitions in Chernobyl [Music] battered pieces of furniture are all that bear testimony to the lives abruptly abandoned in prypiat the liquidators destroyed and buried almost everything thousands of abandoned pets had to be caught and put down for fear they would carry radioactive dust out of the zone [Music] preppy aughts eerie calm cast a spell on visitors [Music] kilometer after kilometer surfacing beneath the brushwood empty houses abandoned villages 350,000 people were evacuated from the zone from one day to the next their lives changed forever they were resettled in other towns and villages wherever there was room many today live hundreds of kilometres from their former home but they lost you know the local identities as they lost their community and it’s a substantial part of psychological trauma it’s not about an individual it’s about the loss of collective identity the loss of the roots of the native places that may be why life has returned to some villages in the zone like in Cuba Vaati about 30 kilometers southeast of the reactor Maria and her husband Yvonne were resettled following the disaster they had nothing but the clothes on their backs when they arrived at their designated destination a village 100 kilometers away but they were never welcome there some of the locals wanted to stop those of us who’d been resettled from using the well they threw straw and hay into it so we couldn’t draw water they said we don’t want you here you’re contaminated stigmatized and far from home they could no longer bear it and returned secretly they live here illegally but are tolerated by zone officials koopa vato is mostly cleared of radiation but no one knows whether residents aren’t consuming radioactive isotopes in homegrown food yvonne and maria nevertheless provide for themselves they rule out the possibility of danger no radioactivity here I don’t believe it I’ve been living here for 31 years if there was radioactivity I’d be long gone this is my home uncle should behave today an estimated 140 people live illegally in the zone most are elderly and can’t imagine living anywhere else 85 year old Hana sironia is one of the returning settlers known as Samos ali-baba Hanyu as she’s fondly known in the zone lives here with her six sister Sonia whom she cares for all by herself the two women wouldn’t think of leaving their home again this is where I was born and this is where I’ll die I don’t want to move into a retirement home if I can no longer walk someone will bring me water so I can die here baba Hanyu is something of a celebrity in the zone and gets regular visits from tourists her phone rings a guide says he’s coming around with a large group hello may God protect you how many are coming drive by Sonia’s place and then come here fine come on over is public coming to public to bring me some coffee okay I’ll make some pancakes for you now that Hanyu can no longer work the fields she depends on the gifts brought by visitors it’s hard to get hold of food a mobile shop selling the basic necessities comes by once a month at most thank God I have the boys who bring me flower the tourists bring me oil noodles and semolina the tourists bring everything I’m so grateful for these kind-hearted people with time they call ahead and ask Baba Hanyu what can we bring you I tell them cave here see I can’t do without it Oh Samuel are you sure she serves up a spread of mashed potatoes bacon and lots of vodka Bava Hanyu offers homemade food and the chance to visit a real samosa Lee there is no other place in the world like it [Music] the third tour group of the day is waiting outside her door meanwhile sir he and his group have arrived at the epicenter of the disaster reactor block four it’s the highlight of every tour here like in the hands or in this monument you could see the look of the first sarcophagus but it was built in really short terms radiation was so high at that point that sometimes people could work near near the walls of the construction only for like 15-20 seconds and that’s why it was really hard to build it in a good way a new sarcophagus or encasement around the reactor was completed in 2018 a multinational project that cost more than 2 billion euros the giant steel shelter is designed to contain radiation from the plant for the next century but it’s still only a temporary solution deep inside is the molten core of the reactor known as the most toxic chunk of waste in the world just a few minutes exposure to its intense radiation would be lethal the lava like mass will remain radioactive for another hundred thousand years the canteen is just a stone’s throw from the sarcophagus contamination checks are mandatory before entering the tourists are not exempt this is where people who work at the side to eat lunch [Music] [Music] the city of Chernobyl its name is inextricably linked to the world’s worst man-made disaster but it isn’t abandoned life goes on at least to some degree buildings have been restored to serve as housing for workers in the zone there are bars a sports facility and shops with a small selection of goods but because living in the exclusion zone is illegal people commute they spend one week here then leave to spend time in another place outside the zone tour guides Sahid share enough also has a room here every fortnight he returns to his wife and their home 300 kilometers away in Sumy it hasn’t been easy for the residents of Chernobyl to start new lives elsewhere the people in Chernobyl aren’t able to move on they won’t find work anywhere else they’ve been working here for 20 or 30 years they’ve grown accustomed to the place people have grown accustomed to each other it’s too late to leave the tools they’re unfamiliar with modern technologies and computers and they can’t speak English when they’re sending out their old age here don’t do the duty voyage [Music] serhiy Chernov used to live in this room with his wife but she had to leave the zone because of health issues he wants to stay a few more years to earn money then he too will leave the zone to start a new chapter he has it all planned a good pension quiet old-age a fishing rod a river and a dot silage back at the checkpoint for the tourists it’s almost time to leave what’s the takeaway from their journey into the exclusion zone a lot of historical facts were conveyed also by the guide lots of interesting details and we saw quite a lot it was a first-hand experience like being in a living museum or cemetery depending on how you look at it ultimately it’s up to each individual to decide what they gain from this kind of tourism whether it’s simply snapshots or more than just memories it’s a message they want to convey or a real awareness of what can happen if a reactor blew up in a heavily populated area in France or England longer tasks don’t do something this could happen near Paris Brussels or London my takeaway is the empathy I feel for the people who lived here it showed me the same thing could happen anywhere else and it would be equally dramatic and that’s like I’m I said romantic society where at the end of their tour the tourists are handed a certificate identifying them as true zone visitors today in the zone it says 0.002 millisieverts it is their total dose for four hour let’s say almost ten hour stay inside the Chernobyl zone that’s about equal to the dose of radiation passengers sustained on a flight from Paris to New York [Music] well this temp is already here so it’s official enough but you know it will be my signature here in the corner as a big boss no no thank you it was my pleasure communicated with you truly then it’s time to return to Kiev for the tourists this was an excursion a once-in-a-lifetime experience the area of the exclusion zone will remain contaminated for thousands of years because of a single accident in a nuclear power plant sir he believes it offers more than just a stark lesson for mankind well and you know this area is actually one of the cleanest areas noting that only in Ukraine but perhaps in Europe because for 30 years there were literally no industry here with emissions no agriculture agriculture with the pesticide and herbicide well no traffic with with the emissions of the vehicle and one hand well no people with the visa you know urban waste and everything he has a roadmap for the region’s future sir he wants to see the exclusion zone added to UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites he’s already filed the application I believe that this area should be turned into a national park you know Chernobyl National Memorial and the and Natural Park to keep the memory and the knowledge of the technology which was employed here and which failed you know to do powerfully convey the lessons of this event and so frankly Eiffel live in this area you know this land is in my heart you know it is one of the of my motherland so to say of my native places and of course I care to it and I love it you know it’s a son simply nice area you

53 thoughts on “Disaster Tourism: Holidays in Chernobyl | DW Documentary

  1. The travel brochure says you will come back from your vacation with a healthy green glow that will be the envy of friends and co-workers. Sign me up!

  2. If you are over 70 and radiation levels are low enough for tourist, the chances of getting cancer from plutonium is probably 100 time lower than getting it from old age. The surrounding area would be OK to visit, though I probably would not take the tour of the reactor sight, and would wear shoes and cloth I could take a shower in.

  3. These tourists do not realize that cancer is the last thing that happens when radioactive contamination lodges in your body. Diabetes, auto immune diseases, schizophrenia develops first.
    And there is NO safe level of radioactive contamination. Comparing it to an xray is not accurate because this place has a shopping cart full of radioactive contaminants.
    Its amazing how the nuclear industry is normalizing radioactive contamination and how effective the suppression of medical studies the IAEA has been.
    Humanity will regret this thirst for money.

  4. That's the way the communist party looked after their people, with no care and no responsibility at all. So many have been killed and so many will still die from consequences of such nonsense!

  5. 7:41 Not 2.5 Millisievert per second It¨s Microsievert per hour so about 3.6 million times less than DW claims. For comparison The flight they took to get there probably gave them about 40 Microsieverts, a dental x-ray 100 Microsieverts, a mamogram 3000 Microsieverts. Reports like this is why people are talking about fakenews.

  6. I have to say the whole episode of what happened at Chernobyl fascinates me but no way would I want to put my health at risk by taking a trip there. The reality is that the site and region will be contaminated for centuries.

  7. This is not a good idea. Let that area alone wildlife has taken it back please watch Our Planet on Netflix to understand what I'm talking about.

  8. why on earth anyone in right state of mind would spend money go somewhere a get harm to your body!!!! and 100 000 people a year is seriously so ignorant..!!! If anyone pay me with full body cover in special clothing oxygen I wouldnt go…Why would i put my health into risk??? I cant comprehend ,is just nonsense!!! It should not be permitted , accept scientist with special clothing equipment!! I am just speachless…

  9. So for the tourist. What they learned about the trip in chernobyll? Nuclear is the most cleaner ways if u do it right, but the most dangerous like u already know when it explodes. Sometimes u can do it perfectly right but the terrorist or ur enemys sabotage u. Lolz

  10. Isn't there a heavily-forested region near the exclusion zone called "The Red Forest" by local villagers, government officials, and geologists because it's one of the highest, most heaviest radioactive-affected areas in Chernobyl? It's also got that nickname because either due to the fiery red colors of the specific tree breed or due to the high radioactive contaminations effected it, the forest region is colored with a bright, fiery red colors on it's leaves.

  11. There are many many other Chornobyl's without radiation all over Ukraine. Wastelands of Soviet mismanagement exist everywhere in former USSR.

  12. The one place were wild life has thrived ….. let them be and stay out of there …. I swear Humans are so Selfish … I saw this on tv when it happened and my Heart broke for everyone affected by this disaster now my Heart brakes again for the wild life that live in peace in that Zone

  13. Am I the only one here who has been already to Chernobyl? I don’t understand the comments below, don’t you know that there are thousands of people that work there weeks at a time, for many many years? The tourists stay there for max 2-3 days, I stayed there 2 days and it was already more than enough. By the way, just for the sake of comparison, where I slept (inside the exclusion zone), the radiation levels were below the ones that you’d get on a flight… no worries guys, feel free to visit the place, it’s a cool one off experience.

  14. I can't help thinking that if the disaster happened today, we'd get images and news within minutes thanks to the internet. Back in the 80's, no one knew the magnitude of the accident because the Soviets firmly controlled the information that could be shared with the press. To this day, I think it's a fascinating story and subject.

  15. As always what a beautiful documentary. But I've seen everything in this video already by #JoshtheExplorer. Here on YouTube

  16. 20,0000-50,000 people died from acute and long term effects of radiation exposure, and these Darwin Award Finalists are paying for their chance to get in on the action. Natural selection at its finest.

  17. We need to take all the illegals here and storming American borders. So far over two hundred thousand per month allowed to just walk right in. We need to fly them to russia and drop them off inside Chernobyl. Save America billions and billions per year supporting these illegals

  18. The vodka loving Russians or Ukrainians should have never had access to nuclear technology..
    Tschernobyl is what happens when irresponsible nations use a highly sophisticated technology.
    The radiation from the nuclear catastrophe even contaminated Europe.
    Hitler should have won the war against the Soviet Union for sure..

  19. I think they need to bring a CNC concrete printing machine online over the Chernobyl reactor and basically cast and drop the box of its tune so that there's no more massive radiation leaks in the wildlife and bacteria and such break down the rest of the nuclear waste cuz like Einstein said I believe it was Einstein it has to be an equal and opposite reaction so by leaving it sitting there nuclear waste is not going to break down very quick but if you get attacked by bacteria there's always something that'll eat something

  20. I kind a have feeling that Chernobyl is not as it used to be 10 years ago..however it still seems rather unique and it looks like it still worth to visit it, e.g. , just to learn a bit about past and USSR and the policies and give a tribute to many incontinent people who were killed and crippled by the authorities.

  21. 24:32 "This area is one of the cleanest…." Yeah right man! There are no human beings who dare to venture there. Humans are the greatest polluters of all creatures.

  22. I was a toddler downwind of the above-ground nuclear testing in the USA. I wonder how many of us have cancer and how contaminated the region around the testing site remains today.

  23. I really want to visit Chernobyl,but I am worried that my boyfriend in the future will not allow me to do that ?

  24. The old woman talking while sitting at 1:00 is actually from a documentary called The Babushkas of Chernobyl.
    She's also shown past 14:38.
    So are the ones at 15:39
    I literally just watched it.

  25. Tourists in the exclusion zone is definitely a remarkable documentary! I truly did appreciate it so much. Thanks a lot for sharing! Keep it up!

  26. Estimates of deaths, both direct and indirect, vary wildly from 4,000 to half a million as the leak was blamed for thousands of cancer cases that developed across swathes of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. bloody idiots who go visit that place…and scammers making money out of brainless tourists…thing was..on the day it happened Russia said nothing about it at all until weeks later..it affected sheep near where I live for 25 years as no farmer could move or sell them…Although the accident occurred 3,000 miles away, it had wide-reaching implications for the Lake District’s sheep farmers until as late as 2012.There were 9,800 UK holdings and more than four million sheep placed under restriction following the accident. Sheep on eight farms in Cumbria and 327 farms in North Wales were still subject to testing until June 2012. Farmers could not sell sheep or lambs in the summer but by the autumn sales, the system was in place. Although no sheep failed a radioactivity test on the farm after 1988, about one-third of the farm's land remained under restrictions until 2012, meaning any sheep that had grazed there had to be monitored before they could be sold. the area affected has since that day had children affected by the accident come over for holidays on the farms and enjoy some fun ….

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