Lecture: "Radioactive Heritage: The Legacy of Chernobyl" Oct. 22

  • 10/22/2012 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
  • Location: Hubbard Hall, Room 208 Thomas F. Shannon Room
  • Event Type: Lecture

Lecture: "Radioactive Heritage: The Legacy of Chernobyl" Oct. 22Nicholas Hryhorczuk from the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will give the talk "Radioactive Heritage: The Legacy of Chernobyl."

The Chernobyl reactor accident of 1986 contaminated large areas of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia with radiation and produced a 30 km exclusion zone around the reactor. The accident displaced large numbers of people from their ancestral homes and devastated the local economy.

The exclusion zone has been intermittently open to limited tourism. The designation of Chernobyl as a UNESCO heritage site, similar to the UNESCO designation of the Hiroshima atomic bomb site, has the potential to not only preserve the legacy of this manmade disaster but also to revive the local economy through the responsible promotion of ecotourism.

However, the plans also raise issues related to "disaster tourism" or "blighted tourism" and initiate contentious debates about the official interpretation of Chernobyl--who is to blame, who was affected and how, and what the site means now. These are important questions as we think about the Fukushima disaster in Japan and the future of nuclear power more broadly.