Now this radioactive wasteland has become a tourist attraction. With radiation levels having decreased, limited guided tours were begun in 2002, they include a sight of the ruined reactor and a trip to Pripyat, once home to 47,000 nuclear workers and their families.
There are currently 360 people (+ deer, wolves and other animals) living in the exclusion zone, most of them elderly.
What are the risks? Dr Michael Clark, from the UK’s Health Protection Agency, says you will receive no more radiation on a tour around Chernobyl than on a transatlantic flight. However, he warns against eating food grown there.
In the zone, your guide carries a Geiger counter and ask you to watch where you walk during your limited time out of the car, because the soil is still relatively highly contaminated.