Chinese influencer Chernobyl photos spark controversy

People visit a deserted radar station near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, November 12, 2019. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant, some 110 km north of Kiev, witnessed one of the worst nuclear accidents in the world. history of mankind on April 26, 1986. As radiation levels declined, the 30 km² area around the factory was officially opened to tourists in 2010. Factory tours were launched in 2018 . (Xinhua / Bai Xueqi)

A Chinese online influencer sparked controversy after posting photos of travel on Sina Weibo wearing normal clothing in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Some internet users expressed concern that it was not a safe place to visit, especially without protective clothing.

On Thursday, a blogger with more than 90,000 subscribers told Sina Weibo that she had walked for three days inside Chernobyl, where the cell phone signal was sometimes unavailable. The blogger has attached a series of photos from the site.

Some Chinese netizens have expressed concern that the images may attract more visitors to the site of the nuclear disaster.

“Why wasn’t she wearing a protective suit when she took these photos?” »Read a comment. “This behavior should not be encouraged as it can mislead many people into believing the area is safe now.”

Another blogger who visited in early September told the Global Times that tour guides will tell visitors whether or not they should wear a protective suit.

“Our guide told us that we had to cover our ankles with long pants because the radiation on the ground is much higher than in the air. It would therefore be quite dangerous to accidentally touch something in passing. “

China Youth Daily reported in 2019 that local travel agencies have introduced short group trips to Chernobyl. Only adults are allowed and they are required to sign a declaration stating that they will wear “long coats and long pants, and promise not to touch anything in the area.”

After the nuclear accident of April 1986, approximately 116,000 people who lived within 30 kilometers of the core of reactor number 4 were evacuated and then relocated, according to the World Nuclear Organization (WNO).

It is estimated that all of the xenon gas and at least 5% of the radioactive material remaining in the Chernobyl 4 reactor core (which contained 192 tons of fuel) was released in the crash, based on WNO data.

When the American series Chernobyl aired in 2019, the popularity of the show prompted more and more people to consider visiting the site with travel agencies. Reuters reported that one of the agency’s booking orders rose 40% after the show.

“I didn’t expect tourism to be so popular. Our guide told us that there were years when the influx of tourists reached over a thousand visitors in one day, ”the other blogger told the Global Times.

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