Thirty-five years after the world’s worst nuclear disaster began, one of Britain’s leading experts on nuclear waste has backed day trips into the exclusion zone at Chernobyl in Ukraine.
Dr Claire Corkhill, reader in Nuclear Material Corrosion at the University of Sheffield, said: “There’s loads to learn about nuclear engineering, about the history of nuclear thinking, forward to the future of nuclear power and also Soviet history.”
The scientist is collaborating with researchers at Chernobyl to study the nuclear fuel that remains within the reactor that exploded on 26 April 1986.
At the weekend, Ukraine International Airlines operated a joy flight over the reactor site – which it describes as “one of the most popular tourist locations in the world”.
One online response was: “This is really sinking to low levels just to generate some income. Flights over a disaster area where many lost their lives making sure it didn’t turn out to be an even worse disaster.”
Ground-based tours were first allowed a decade ago, a quarter-century after the disaster. Only guided visits are allowed. The standard day trip from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, costs around £110…