The last of the five episodes of the series Chernobyl aired on June 7th by HBO Brazil. The original production is a partnership between the station and Sky Atlantic that portrays the unfolding of the worst nuclear disaster in history, and has been widely praised by the public and expert critics.

With realistic and creepy special effects, photography, scenery and characterization, the plot of the series takes us to the dawn of April 25, 1986, in Pripyat, then part of the Soviet Union. That day, Chernobyl reactor 4 explodes during safety tests. What follows is a fateful sequence of human error, omission of information, and political maneuvering that result in the deep human drama of the tragedy.

The highlight of the series is the stories of some of the victims of the disaster, such as plant employees and fire brigade workers, first on the scene to contain the fire, unaware of the severity of the accident or even the danger contained in the nuclear radiation killed them in a few days. There is also mention of hundreds of miners and workers baptized as liquidators who, despite knowing the great risks, underwent work on the highly contaminated perimeter to carry out containment works and clean up the radioactive wreckage.

Ghost Town Celebrates High on Tourism

More than 30 years after the disaster, the 2,600 km² Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl has become a tourist attraction.

The ghost town of Pripyat, located in what is now Ukraine, was initially a model city built to house nuclear power plant workers, and after the accident was evacuated. The site is still radioactive, but regularly receives guided tours for tourists interested in knowing the remains of the tragedy.

According to Chernobyl tour director Yaroslav Yemelianenko, in a recent interview with Reuters, the 40% increase in site visits was attributed to the smash hit of the series. “Package reservations for June, July and August are growing like never before,” he says.

The guided tour costs around US$100.00, including expert guides and safety and behavioral guidelines manuals to avoid contamination risks. “My agency has been very successful as it includes visits to some of the places portrayed in the miniseries, such as the military bunker,” says Ymelianenko.

Among the places most visited by tourists are the amusement park and its iconic abandoned ferris wheel, as well as the beautiful fire brigade, constantly covered with wreaths to honor the heroes and victims of the crash.

Even located near the still highly radioactive reactor remains, experts ensure that if all safety regulations and exposure times are observed, the visit is safe.  

One of the deadly radiation containment measures still emanating from the destroyed reactor core was the construction of a gigantic sarcophagus of over 200 tons of metal, concrete and other radiation inhibiting materials, which is constantly being monitored and maintained.

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