ready, set, go here

What, this doesn’t look like your ideal vacation spot of 2011?

It’s certainly worlds away from a sun drenched beach, still this crusted over nuclear power plant control room is at the top of my list of 2011 travel destinations. Why? Because for the first time – even before the world’s worst nuclear disaster in April 1986 – the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine will be open to the public for tours.

I’ve been more fascinated than most with nuclear power and the building and security typology indubitably because for as long as I can remember by dad has worked in the industry as a control room supervisor, among other high profile/high stress positions (fyi: this 2000 file photo is of the Chernoybl control room 14 years after the accident – I’ve been inside a nuclear power plant control room (and the training control rooms more recently) and it certainly is not supposed to look like this!).

I believe my interest spiked after September 11th, 2001 when “Take your Daughter to Work Day” ceased to be permissible at power plants. Now my understanding of the plants come from my early memories and my dad’s (simultaneously hilarious and brutally horrifying) stories. But, now the door is being thrown open to a somewhat unusual breed of tourist, of which I fit in perfectly!

If you go: A new shell to encase the melted reactor is not planned until 2016 (to be built by the French, so maybe 2020?) which means that for the next five or so years Chernobyl will be in its most raw and accessible form.

My dream to be living out life in Eastern Europe this year (+ many more) could be that much sweeter with this opening – and get this – tours start at 110 USD a person! Stunning.

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