Chernobyl Tourists Are Trying to Turn a Nuclear Disaster Zone Into an Instagram Hotspot

Photo by @nz.nik

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl disaster occurred when a nuclear reactor caused an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction in Soviet Ukraine’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The event was catastrophic, but the immediate crisis management that could have prevented the spread of radiation, which contaminated the bodies of individuals in nearby areas and water supplies, ultimately causing cancer and death, was in its own way a smaller calamity. This fallout and the ways in which the government handled (or did not handle) the situation is the subject of HBO’s popular miniseries, Chernobyl, based on recollections from locals in Pripyat and Svetlana Alexievich’s book Voices from Chernobyl. So, it appears that the topic of Chernobyl is trending, and the influencers of the world have seized the opportunity to turn the site of a catastrophic nuclear disaster that ruined thousands of lives into an Instagram hot spot and flex. Aside from the fact that it’s disrespectful to the victims and survivors of the accident that happened at Chernobyl, it also does not appear to be the safest way to spend your time (although there are multiple radiation measurement checkpoints one must pass through on any given tour). Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin even urged influencers to cool it with the selfies at the nuclear site, which has now become a ghost town. Whether or not the HBO series had something to do with the uptick in tourism at the site is up in the air, but one thing is for sure: there’s really no reason to show up to a nuclear disaster zone wearing a bikini just so that you can get a good gram out of it.

Photo by @luisitocomunica.

Influencers visit the ferris wheel near the Chernobyl disaster site in June 2019 (and captioned their photo with three radioactive symbol emojis).

Photo by @snapkate.

A Chernobyl site visitor sits far out on a ledge near the Chernobyl disaster site in June 2019.

Photo by @nz.nik.

A Chernobyl tourist goes topless at the Pripyat, Ukraine site of the disaster in June 2019.

Photo by @zelfie.

Another Chernobyl visitor has a photo shoot at the Ukrainian radioactive site of nuclear disaster in June 2019.


More influencers turn the Chernobyl disaster site into a photoshoot for Instagram in June 2019.

Photo by @angelsetfree.

Another actress-slash-influencer poses in her underwear at the site of a radioactive nuclear catastrophe in June 2019.

Photo by @kenjivaio.

A Chernobyl visitor uses a meter to test the levels of radiation at the site of the nuclear disaster in June 2019.

Photo by @robinching_.

A visitor at Chernobyl turned his tour of the nuclear disaster site into a hypebeast photo shoot in June 2019.

Photo by @snapkate.

More Chernobyl visitors pose with the ruins in 2019.

Photo by @nz.nik

A Chernobyl visitor wearing a rolled down hazmat suit at the site of the nuclear disaster.