Inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with Dominik & Lara from ChernobylX
My Nuclear LifeOctober 25, 2022
00:48:4044.56 MB

Inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with Dominik & Lara from ChernobylX

In this episode, we take you inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with Dominik Orfanus founder of ChernobylX and lead tour guide, Lara Graldina. What is it like inside the "Zone"? Who lives there? What can you do to help? This and more on Episode 38. Note: This episode does not discuss the disaster itself. To hear about that event, listen to Episode 16 - The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Disaster with Adam Higginbotham. Send an email to ChernobylX to find out how you can contribute to their humanitarian work in the Exclusion Zone. Send an email to My Nuclear Life or visit our website Please leave a 5-star review on iTunes and subscribe to My Nuclear Life wherever you listen to podcasts.
Shelly LesherShelly LesherHost

Welcome to the My Nuclear Life podcast! In this episode, host Shelly Lesher speaks with Dominik and Lara from ChernobylX. They share their experiences and insights about the current happenings in the Chernobyl Zone. To begin, Lara offers a look into her own experience growing up in Ukraine in the shadows of the Chernobyl disaster. While some data shows that about 100,000 people were contaminated in the area, Lara believes the real numbers were even higher. For younger generations, Dominik reveals, the biggest lesson to be learned from the disaster is about how much we take for granted the little comforts we have in our daily lives.

Dominik’s inspiration behind creating ChernobylX came when he visited the Chernobyl Explosion Zone himself as a tourist in 2008. Feeling called by the place itself and fascinated by the history, his biggest wish was to go back as soon as possible. He began to give tours to his friends and learn the stories of the people who actually lived in the area. 1% of ChernobylX’s total revenue goes back into the Chernobyl Zone and they have expanded to doing the same work in other nuclear disaster sites around the world. When entering the Exclusion Zone, Lara reveals, visitors should be equipped with a special device to mitigate the risk of radiation. This is why it is not recommended to venture into Chernobyl without a proper tour guide and itinerary.

 Then, the conversation shifts to discussing the Russian troops invasion of Ukraine through the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. This was not a huge surprise to Lara as it is very close to Kyiv. Contrary to common belief, the zone is not an empty place and many people still work there. Russian soldiers apparently kicked around the dirt in the very radioactive Red Forest, which is the last thing you would want to do in that kind of zone. Dominik and Lara also share their predictions on what the future of Chernobyl will look like in the years to come. Back in 2008 when Dominik first visited, Russians were the largest tourist group to visit Chernobyl. It is thanks to them that tourism in the zone began. Next, they both share some of their favorite stories leading tourist groups through the zone. From their own experience in the exclusion zone, no two days are ever the same. For Lara, being a Chernobyl guide is like traveling every day with new and interesting people. The many visitors of Chernobyl all share one thing in common: the interest to know more about this intriguing place and event. For anyone listening who may be interested in visiting themselves, Dominik encourages you to come with an open mind.

Production costs for this episode were provided through National Science Foundation Grant PHY-2011267.


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