Four French tourists are among 17 people arrested by the Ukrainian police for illegally wandering around the Chernobyl radioactive exclusion zone.
The Ukrainian National Police arrested 17 people around the Chernobyl site, with the arrests being made in the abandoned villages of Lyubyanka and Bychki, in the ghost city of Pripyat and at the “Chernobyl-2” facility.
Among the detainees, who were arrested for wandering into the exclusion zone with a guide, were three French citizens while the rest are Ukrainian citizens aged between 18 and 42 years old.
The suspects reportedly face fines of between 350 and 510 UAP (11 and 17 GBP) for the “violation of the requirements of the radiation safety regime in areas exposed to radioactive contamination” according to the Administrative Code of Ukraine.
Local media report the exclusion zone can be accessed by tourists who book a trip through agencies. The legal trips take “clean” routes through the zone to avoid the areas with the highest radioactivity.
There are basic rules on the legal excursions including not entering buildings and not touching objects. The rules are in place because of the danger of collapsing buildings, contamination from radioactive substances and respect for the area as a museum.
Certain areas of the exclusion zone still contain deadly amounts of radiation and a prolonged stay in the area can lead to serious radiation damage to the body.
Reports state that interest in the area is growing annually and the recent HBO series on the disaster was a hit in the UK.
The worst nuclear accident in the history of the world occurred on 26th April 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant when reactor number 4 exploded, releasing extremely high levels of radiation.
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Story By: Amelia Guran, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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