Tuesday, 14 Dec, 2010 Offbeat
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Chernobyl to Be Open for Tourists in 2011

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A little bit of history: on April 26, 1986, reactor No.4 in Chernobyl exploded, spreading radiation over a large part of northern Europe. Thousands of people from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus reported serious health problems.

After the explosions a highly contaminated region within a 30-mile radius of the reactor was closed and no one was allowed to go there. It was called the exclusion zone.

Recently the Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Yershova stated that specialists are working on travel routes around Chernobyl. These routes, according to the Yershova, will be both medically safe and informative for all guests. Still, no information on the dates of the tours was given.

In addition, the ministry mentioned that it looks forward to finishing a new safety shell for the reactor. The new shell is expected to be ready by 2015. It will be used to cover the original iron-and-concrete shell that currently covers the reactor and which has been leaking radiation and cracking.

The shell will be large enough to cover the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York. Initially the cost of project was estimated at $505 million (euro380 million) but over the last several years it increased to over $1.15 billion (euro870 million). The main factor to influence the cost was stricter safety requirements, reports WashingtonPost.

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