Everyone's competing for your vacation dollars this season. Including, apparently, Chernobyl. The (still soul-killingly grim) site of the 1986 nuclear disaster features a certain, lingering radiation level. But you know -- how goth! From CNN:
Background radiation in the accident zone is still well above normal. But far from being a wasteland, wildlife has rebounded in the exclusion zone and trees are reclaiming the ghost city of Pripyat, said Mary Mycio, author of "Wormwood Forest," a 2005 book on the area.
"It is very moving and interesting and a beautiful monument to technology gone awry," Mycio said.
The story goes on to quote Mycio fretting about Chernobyl becoming "nuclear Disneyland." Hm. We'd suspect little danger of that.
Ukrainian officials are working up a plan to open the area to tourists. Some go through now, but the government really wants to make the place more of a feature. For our money, we prefer functional lymph nodes. But what do we know!
The Wall Street Journal also covered the story, venturing no closer than Kiev:
New official tour operators would have to meet strict criteria to be allowed to operate, said Yulia Yurshova, a spokesperson for the Emergency Situations Ministry, as straying from the route can be dangerous because of the threat of collapsing buildings and varying radiation levels.
"The Chernobyl zone isn't as scary as the whole world thinks," said Ms. Yurshova. "We want to work with big tour operators and attract Western tourists, from whom there's great demand."
The Emergency Situations Ministry?