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Vienna, Austria
2 posts

Hi guys.

I wanted to go to chernobyl with a friend and we pretty much were all set up, but someone told my friend that radiation in chernobyl can, or in their words will cause damage to your chromosomes, and your future children will inherit them (Couldn't really translate it into english because it was too scientific, but that's the gist of what has been said). Now my friend is totally freaking out and doesn't want to go anymore... :/

My question is, is it true or are they overreacting? Me personally I would call total bogus on this one, but I am not sure so I thought someone of you guys know more. By the way, if someone has links on more information on this I would greatly appreciate it.

I am trying to translate: They literally said: If a defect in your chromosomes that hasn't been "activated" yet is exposed to radiation, that defect could be activated and your future children will inherit them. (I have no in depth knowledge about this so I don't know if this sounds really stupid

23 replies to this topic
Kiev, Ukraine
Level Contributor
2,652 posts
21 reviews
2 helpful votes
1. Re: Radiation

Personally I would not go to Chernobyl including the risk of exposure to radiation. It's up to you.

Destination Expert
for Switzerland, Kiev
Level Contributor
5,601 posts
33 reviews
12 helpful votes
2. Re: Radiation

Sorry - but those statements hardly make sense.

There is natural radioactivity almost everywhere. Cosmic radiation in high flying planes is higher, modern life leads to higher exposures (x-rays for medical purpose...). It is assumed that natural "background" exposure corresponds to around 0.6 milliSievert per year, in most countries average exposure is around 2.4 milliSievert per year (plenty of websites on that subject).

On Chernobyl tours, you can carry your own Geiger counter - and measure levels below one microSievert (micro, not milli) per hour - peaks when approaching the destroyed reactor before the new confinement was moved over the reactor at minimal distance of 300m were around 8 microSievert per hour (a year and a half ago when I was there).

Basically, exposure on a Chernobyl tour might be less than flying with a regular airline at some 10'000m altitude. Reason for not flying any more?

There still is are problems justifying the exclusion zone around Chernobyl. Its ground contamination. Reason why eating products in that zone is not allowed, nothing allowed to be taken away from ground. Depending on places, that ground contamination is lower or higher - tours are conducted in order to avoid places with higher ground radioactivity.

So make sure to follow the guides instructions - they are often in the exclusion zone, as well as other people working there. They are aware of the remaining risks and act accordingly.

Edited: 12:36 pm, October 27, 2017
Vienna, Austria
2 posts
3. Re: Radiation

Thanks for your reply! Yeah it didn't make much sense to me either, but I just wasn't sure. I hope I can somehow convince my friend :X

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
1,069 posts
77 reviews
80 helpful votes
4. Re: Radiation

I was there in May. The radiation you are exposed to in Chernobyl on the day tours are less than you would get flying in an airplane. It's minimal and in fact only one area we went to was in a time frame that was safe. The radiation count in the center of Kyiv before we started the trip was higher than most the locations we visited in the exclusion zone, including right at the reactor.

We drove through part of the Red Forest and weren't allowed out, and that was pretty high, but it does take time for the exposure to do damage depending on the levels. Any day trip you go on there, you won't ever reach any levels that are threatening in the time frames.

So yes it's perfectly safe and unless you decide to camp out in the Red Forest, you're not going to have issues with having kids...

Sofia, Bulgaria
2 posts
5. Re: Radiation

You are not right. The bio radiation is nature radiation, it is not the same. You can read this:


"When people dismiss the effects of Cesium-137 by comparing it to the radioactive Potassium-40 in a banana, they fail to account for the strength of the radioactivity. It is like saying a single stick of dynamite and the bomb dropped at Hiroshima amount to the same thing."

Don't go there... don't play with your life.

Sofia, Bulgaria
2 posts
6. Re: Radiation


"Long-lived radionuclides such as Cesium-137 are something new to us as a species. They did not exist on Earth in any appreciable quantities during the entire evolution of complex life. Although they are invisible to our senses they are millions of times more poisonous than most of the common poisons we are familiar with. They cause cancer, leukemia, genetic mutations, birth defects, malformations, and abortions at concentrations almost below human recognition and comprehension. They are lethal at the atomic or molecular level.

They emit radiation, invisible forms of matter and energy that we might compare to fire, because radiation burns and destroys human tissue. But unlike the fire of fossil fuels, the nuclear fire that issues forth from radioactive elements cannot be extinguished. It is not a fire that can be scattered or suffocated because it burns at the atomic level—it comes from the disintegration of single atoms."

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
4,120 posts
155 reviews
85 helpful votes
7. Re: Radiation

The information on post number 5 is non-scientific nonsense from a site fearmongering about Fukushima.

A day trip to Chernobyl isn't going to do any significant harm to a person. Residing there permanently, different story..

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
1,069 posts
77 reviews
80 helpful votes
8. Re: Radiation

The mass majority of the time you are there, you will be under less radiation than being in an airplane. Some areas are higher, but you aren't exposed long enough to get anywhere near a danger level. The only area we drove through that we couldn't get out was in the Red Forest, where the Geiger counters were even going off inside the van through the metal. That was the only real spot we weren't allowed to stop. Did see a healthy looking deer on the side of the road there though...

Salhouse, United...
Level Contributor
203 posts
137 reviews
64 helpful votes
9. Re: Radiation

I was there last weekend on a guided one day tour, my Geiger counter/dosimeter at the end of the day said 0.003 mSv,

I would have received a bigger dose on a 6-hour plane journey, completely safe and a brilliant experience.

Edited: 1:53 pm, July 16, 2018
Salhouse, United...
Level Contributor
203 posts
137 reviews
64 helpful votes
10. Re: Radiation

Found this it gives some idea of the dose I received in one day which was 0.003mSv

Radiation exposure

Radiation reading, millisievert (mSv)


Single dose, fatal within weeks 10,000.00

Typical dosage recorded in those Chernobyl workers who died within a month 6,000.00

Single does which would kill half of those exposed to it within a month 5,000.00

Single dosage which would cause radiation sickness, including nausea, lower white blood cell count. Not fatal 1,000.00

Accumulated dosage estimated to cause a fatal cancer many years later in 5% of people 1,000.00

Max radiation levels recorded at Fukushima plant yesterday, per hour 400.00

Exposure of Chernobyl residents who were relocated after the blast in 1986 350.00

Recommended limit for radiation workers every five years 100.00

Lowest annual dose at which any increase in cancer is clearly evident 100.00

CT scan: heart 16.00

CT scan: abdomen & pelvis 15.00

Dose in full-body CT scan 10.00

Airline crew flying New York to Tokyo polar route, annual exposure 9.00

Natural radiation we're all exposed to, per year 2.00

CT scan: head 2.00

Spine x-ray 1.50

Radiation per hour detected at Fukushima site, 12 March 1.02

Mammogram breast x-ray 0.40

Chest x-ray 0.10

Dental x-ray 0.01

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