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Chernobyl’s Infamous Reactor 4 Control Room Is Now Open to Tourists via Gizmodo

Tom McKay

The “highly radioactive” control room at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s Reactor 4 at the center of the facility’s infamous 1986 catastrophe is open for tourists, so long as they wear a protective suit, helmet, and gloves while inside, CNN reported.

Chernobyl tour agencies confirmed to the network that the control room is now open for guided walkthroughs following Ukrainian President Vladimir Volydymyr’s July decision to proclaim the region an official tourist attraction(and perhaps not coincidentally, a surge of interest following the release of HBO’s wildly popular Chernobyl miniseries). Those who enter the unit must afterward submit to two radiology tests to measure exposure to contaminants.

Chernobyl and the neighboring town of Pripyat the epicenter of a roughly 1,000-square-mile (3,200-kilometer) exclusion zone, though parts of the areahave long been visited by tourists and many places that remain officially off-limits are often entered by thrill-seekers. Reactor 4, including the control room, has been off-limits to all but a handful of people; according to Ruptly, radiation in the room is some 40,000 times higher than normal.

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The 1986 incident resulted in 28 deaths from acute radiation syndrome and 15 deaths from child thyroid cancer. The full death toll remains the subject of dispute, with most estimates pegging the number of expected long-term cancer cases from the disaster in the tens of thousands.

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