Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2016-2017
A hair-raising ad in the Travel section of the Nov. 20 New York Times features the claim that “nature has managed an impressive comeback” in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. This debunked story might fool vacationers eyeing the so-called Science & Nature tour—with prices starting at $5,495—called “Chernobyl, 30 Year Later.”
For 8 days beginning May 27, 2017, up to 25 people are invited to “explore the postapocalyptic Chernobyl zone … with a New York Times expert and a range of specialists.” No large-print in the ad uses the word “radiation,” which explains only that, “In 1986, the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, USSR, experienced a cataclysmic disaster, a cautionary tale of science gone awry.” A list of tour spots designed to excite the adventurous traveller notes these high points:
“• Explore the restricted Chernobyl exclusion zone, staying overnight in the Pripyat Hotel, the only one in the town of Chernobyl. • See the sarcophagus surrounding the reactor, and the new safe confinement structure currently under construction. • Learn what became of the many plants and animals in the Chernobyl area following the disaster, and how nature has managed an impressive comeback. • Visit Slavutych, home of the Center for Radioecology, which coordinates environmental research in the exclusion zone to study the long-term biological and ecological effects.”
A packing list was not included, but make sure to bring along disposable booties, water filter and replacement lungs.