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Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
April 26, 1986 wasn't a good day

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP) site is adjacent to the now abandoned town of Pripyat in the former Soviet Union. April 23, 1986, started like any typical day, but at 01:23 a reactor test failed, causing a massive explosion that destroyed reactor unit 4 and the surrounding building (I’m no scientist, but radioactivity without containment usually means terrible things).

You can’t see or smell radiation; It is invisible and deadly. In the days/weeks after the explosion, hundreds of thousands of civil and military personnel called “liquidators” performed heroic efforts to extinguish the fires, remove radioactive debris and begin the process to seal the building and exposed core.

Containment efforts in 1986 were the most “advanced” engineering solutions and technology available at the time (basically, that means shit wasn’t built well). They made a shell around unit 4 called “the sarcophagus” that everyone hoped would last long enough to build a more permanent, long term confinement structure.

Construction began in 2010 on the “new safe confinement structure” (I guess marketing wasn’t involved with the brand name of this). The structure had 5 primary goals:

  • Convert the destroyed ChNPP Unit 4 into an environmentally safe system.
  • Reduce corrosion and weathering of the existing shelter and the Unit 4 reactor building.
  • Mitigate the consequences of a potential collapse of either the existing shelter or the Unit 4 reactor building, particularly in terms of containing the radioactive dust that would be produced by such a failure.
  • Enable safe demolition of unstable structures (such as the roof of the existing shelter) by providing remotely operated equipment for their destruction.
  • Qualify as a Nuclear entombment device.
  • Construction finished in 2017 and was pretty neat to see up close without glowing.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is a relatively boring place to visit. Access is limited and controlled to ensure visitors remain safe. You’ll get a few nifty pictures of the new safe confinement structure which is like taking a picture of your shed in your back yard.

Yes, there are animals there and they are radioactive. No, you can’t pet them.

Interested in visiting Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant? Travel Blogger and author of DESTINATIONS UNKNOWN Sean Brown has compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help make your trip a breeze.

What is the closest airport to Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant?

Kyiv Boryspil International Airport (KBP) is the closest major airport to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

What is the local currency at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant?

Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) is the local currency, however most tour operations require payment in United States Dollar (USD), usually weeks to months ahead of your visit.

Can anyone tour the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant?

Tourism is popular here, however this is an active disaster site. Special permission is required to enter the exclusion zone. It should be noted that a few friends with Russian passports have attempted to visit the exclusion zone and they were denied entry.

What should I wear to Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant?

All tours require long sleeves and long pants to reduce and limit the exposure to radioactivity in the area.

How do I get a guided tour of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant?

You won’t be able to tour the power plant, however there are numerous tour operators based in Kiev who will take you to all the major points of interest in/around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Tours range from USD 100-500 depending on the type and length of the tour.

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine

Latitude: 51.3885605

Longitude: 30.0970901


Official Website:


World traveler, travel blogger and sarcastic genius. Masters degree in blanket fort engineering and double minor in Netflix and nachos.