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  1. ITV Report

Chernobyl visitors criticised for 'disrespectful' photos shared on Instagram

Some users have posted 'insensitive' photos from the disaster site. Credit: Instagram

One of the masterminds behind popular series Chernobyl has called on inspired viewers visiting the site in Ukraine to conduct themselves “with respect”.

Photos have been posted on Instagram showing tourists posing in the exclusion zone and users have been criticised for inappropriate behaviour at the disaster site.

In April 1986, an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant threw radioactive fallout into the atmosphere.

Dozens of people were killed in the immediate aftermath of the disaster while the long-term death toll from radiation poisoning is believed to number in the thousands.

The explosion forced the evacuation of about 115,000 people.


The hit HBO and Sky Atlantic show’s writer and producer Craig Mazin reminded visitors to keep the “terrible tragedy” in their minds.

He tweeted on Wednesday: “It's wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion.

“But yes, I've seen the photos going around. If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there. Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”

One user whose location was marked as Pripyat, a ghost-town near the former nuclear plant site, posted a revealing photo seemingly of herself in a radioactive suit.

Responding to the picture, one user commented: “Imagine being this disrespectful. How insensitive.”

Another Instagrammer shared a picture of himself posing with his leg in the air in front of a Ferris wheel near the site.


On the 33rd anniversary of the disaster, ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke visited Pripyat to find out about the growth in tourism in the area, which was already on the up even before the show’s debut.

He said as short-lived isotopes decayed, large parts are now safe to visit and as a result tourism has increased ten-fold.

Volunteers have been trying to improve the area by clearing away discarded drinks bottles, plastic bags and rubbish that have come with the increased in tourism, recycling where appropriate.