Chernobyl, site of the world’s deadliest nuclear accident, is now a surprisingly popular tourist destination.
But lethal radiation still permeates the landscape around the site, so why is it safe to visit at all?
Ukrainian officials opened the area to tourists nearly a decade ago, declaring that visits were safe, though tours would be strictly regulated. Since then, thousands of people have flocked to the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
Gauging the risk
The ruins of the Chernobyl reactor, now contained under a metal shell, are still highly radioactive and will likely remain so for up to 20,000 years. However, the zones in Chernobyl that are now open to the public may have initially received lower doses of radiation, despite their proximity to the damaged reactor, Fred Mettler, a professor emeritus and clinical professor with the Department of Radiology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, told Live Science.
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