Entrance to the zone of alienation around Chernobyl
An area originally extending 30 kilometres (19 mi) in all directions from the plant is officially called the “zone of alienation”. It is largely uninhabited, except for about 300 residents who have refused to leave. The area has largely reverted to forest, and has been overrun by wildlife because of a lack of competition with humans for space and resources. Even today, radiation levels are so high that the workers responsible for rebuilding the sarcophagus are only allowed to work five hours a day for one month before taking 15 days of rest. Ukrainian officials estimated the area would not be safe for human life again for another 20,000 years (although by 2016, 187 local Ukrainians had returned and were living permanently in the zone).
In 2011 Ukraine opened up the sealed zone around the Chernobyl reactor to tourists who wish to learn more about the tragedy that occurred in 1986.