Chernobyl writer urges Instagram tourists to ‘respect’ nuclear site via The Guardian

Man behind hit TV series among those criticising people taking inappropriate selfies

The writer of the acclaimed TV series Chernobyl has called for visitors to the site of the nuclear disaster to behave “with respect”, after a number of photographs emerged on social media apparently showing tourists taking inappropriate or lewd selfies.

Visitor numbers to the site of the former Soviet-era power plant in Ukraine have soared since the five-part miniseries began airing on HBO and Sky Atlantic in May, with some tour companies reporting a 40% increase in bookings.

But the behaviour of some visitors has been met with criticism, with photographs emerging of tourists beaming or posing provocatively in front of the ruins. In one image, which has circulated widely on social media, a woman unzips a hazmat suit to reveal a G-string. Several of the images have since been deleted.


An estimated 116,000 people who lived in the town of Pripyat and within a 30km (18.6-mile) radius of the site were evacuated in the weeks following the disaster, though the effects of radiation exposure for the broader population of Ukraine and Europe is still a concern. An exclusion zone of more than 2,600 sq km remains sealed off.

Visitors to the zone do not need to wear hazmat suits but are warned not to touch anything. They pass through military passport checks to enter and are scanned for radiation levels.

A tour guide at the site, Viktoria Brozhko, attributed the recent rise in the number of visitors to the success of the drama. “Many people come here. They ask a lot of questions about the TV show, about all the events. People are getting more and more curious,” she told Reuters.


An Israeli artist who was offended at some visitors’ use of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin for tasteless photo-ops – including striking yoga poses, juggling or jumping between its concrete slabs – has launched an art project in which their photographs are combined with real, distressing images taken from the concentration camps.

Chernobyl, starring Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson, and directed by Johan Renck, follows the immediate aftermath of the nuclear reactor explosion at the power plant in the town of Pripyat, and the political repercussions of the toll it took on the people, animals and environment in the region.

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