THE site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster has become a lewd hotspot for Instagram influencers to capture the perfect selfie.
In recent days, social media has become awash with snaps in front of various now-abandoned sites in Pripyat synonymous with Chernobyl.
But social media influencers have been criticised for posing for “insensitive” photos that disrespect the history and torment of the people who died or were forced to flee.
One instagrammer poses half naked in a g-string and a hazmet suit, while another poses wearing a helmet and white coat inside the control room of the nuclear plant.
People died there in a very horrific way – have some respect.”
Commenters have hit back online, describing the photos as “stupid” and “disrespectful in the extreme”.
One person said: “People died there in a very horrific way – have some respect.”
Another follower responded to a photo of Instagram user nz.nik posing with her bra and underwear, saying: “This photo is disrespectful to the people who lost their lives. How insensitive can you be?”
Others said the photos were “opportunistic” and “dumb”.
All that remains since the 1986 catastrophic accident – which saw plumes of radioactive material decimate towns and animals nearby – is a haunting ghost town.
The recent gripping Sky/HBO series Chernobyl — which tells the true story of the nuclear power plant’s fallout — has sparked a tourist boom.
Bookings in the area are said to be up 40 per cent, according to local travel agencies.
Yuriy Morozov, 42, a tour guide in the area, told The Sun that more visitors than ever are flocking to the disaster zone.
The dad of two said: “People want to see Chernobyl for themselves after the TV show. They are fascinated.”
A favourite spot for day trippers is an abandoned theme park, which was supposed to open a week after the disaster.
Its giant Ferris wheel is silhouetted against grey clouds and bumper cars rust and crumble.
Social media has become awash with snaps in front of various now-abandoned sites[/caption]
RISE OF ‘DARK TOURISM’
The unsavoury posts are part of a rise of “dark tourism” which sees tourists visit locations home to a dark past.
Tourists have also reportedly been visiting the dangerous Chernobyl radiation site to party at raves and enjoy group stag dos.
An accident in the early hours of the morning of April 26 in 1986 led to a sudden and unexpected power surge and a series of explosions which released 400 times more radiation into the atmosphere than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
More than 100,000 people were forced to flee their homes.
The blast was the equivalent of 500 nuclear bombs.
The final death toll caused by the disaster is unknown, and widely disputed, with United Nations figures claiming 4,000 people have died as a result of the accident at most.
There’s no denying the horrifying impact the radiation had on the people living in Pripyat – the city founded in 1970 to serve the Chernobyl power plant.
The areas surrounding the power plant – 350,000 people – weren’t evacuated until 36 hours after the explosion, and in the period since some five million people have been exposed to radiation, living on contaminated land in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
Though radiation levels have been passed safe for short periods inside the Exclusion Zone, hot spots still exist.
WHAT WAS THE CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR DISASTER?
POWER PLANT MELTDOWN
An alarm bellowed out at the nuclear plant on April 26, 1986, as workers looked on in horror at the control panels signalling a major meltdown in the number four reactor.
The safety switches had been switched off in the early hours to test the turbine but the reactor overheated and generated a blast the equivalent of 500 nuclear bombs.
The reactor’s roof was blown off and a plume of radioactive material was blasted into the atmosphere.
As air was sucked into the shattered reactor, it ignited flammable carbon monoxide gas causing a fire which burned for nine days.
The catastrophe released at least 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Soviet authorities waited 24 hours before evacuating the nearby town of Pripyat – giving the 50,000 residents just three hours to leave their homes.
After the accident traces of radioactive deposits were found in Belarus where poisonous rain damaged plants and caused animal mutations.
But the devastating impact was also felt in Scandinavia, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, France and the UK.
An 18-mile radius known as the “Exclusion Zone” was set up around the reactor following the disaster.
At least 31 people died in the accident – including two who were killed at the scene and more who passed away a few months later from Acute Radiation Syndrome.
The actual death toll is hard to predict as mortality rates have been hidden by propaganda and reports were lost when the Soviet Union broke up.
In 2005, the World Health Organisation revealed a total of 4,000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure.
About 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer have been seen since the disaster – mainly in people who were children or teenagers at the time.
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant is situated near the now-abandoned town of Pripyat[/caption]
Gas masks and haz-mat suits left behind by hundreds of emergency workers[/caption]
Eager tourists pose for pics in front of the new protective shield[/caption]
Holidaymakers pass through radiation scanners as they leave the Exclusion Zone for their hotels in Kiev[/caption]
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