CHORNOBYL, Ukraine -- Yesterday, the Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych together with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Director of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano visited Chornobyl nuclear power plant and examined the exact model of its 4th reactor in its current state.
Ban Ki-moon thanked Viktor Yanukovych for making such a far-sighted decision to host a nuclear energy Summit in Ukraine. "One of my priorities in office is creating a world free of nuclear weapons," emphasized Ban Ki-moon.
The IAEA Director General noted that, despite the bitter examples of Chornobyl and Fukushima 1, the world would not abandon nuclear power. "So now, the most important task of the international community is to provide safety of such plants," he said.
25 years ago the nuclear reactor No 4 of the Chornobyl Nuclear Station exploded releasing dangerous radioactive elements into the air and spreading across millions of square miles, polluting many European nations.
Today, Pripyat and Chornobyl are two towns closest to the reactor, and, previously, home to more than 60,000 residents, have been included in the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant exclusion zone - 30 km/19 mi area around the site of the reactor, administered by the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Ukraine.
Since 2002 Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has become tourist destination for a limited number of tourists.
Public interest to visit Chornobyl has grown so much recently, that Ukrainian government had to streamline the procedures for signing up for the tours.
Visitors come in groups for a one to three-day tours that include visiting the observation point, located about 200m from the reactor sarcophagus, vehicle scrap yard, city of Pripyat and the surrounding villages.
The radiation level in the exclusion zone, for the most part, is a little higher than in the rest of the area, but it is still lower than the level of sun radiation one would get from the transatlantic flight.
The typical dose at the site in winter does not usually exceed 0.5 - 0.9 mR/h.