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Chernobyl: The nuclear disaster, the TV show, the disrespect

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Instagrammers are flocking to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant ever since the HBO mini-series “Chernobyl” aired, and the creator of the series is not happy.

Craig Mazin, the show creator and writer, said this yesterday in a tweet: “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 Instagram user posed in front of an abandoned building in Pripyat, now a ghost town but once the home of 50,000 people who mainly worked at the plant. She chose to show herself in an open hazmat suit showing off her G-string.

Chernobyl was the world’s worst nuclear disaster, and due to the mini-series, the derelict nuclear plant and abandoned nearby town which neighbors the Ukraine have seen an increase in visitors. However, some are not showing respect for this tragic historical site and taking inappropriate selfies to broadcast their visit over social media.

This year is the 33rd anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in then-Soviet Ukraine which was caused by a botched safety test in the fourth reactor of the atomic plant that sent clouds of nuclear material across much of Europe. Thirty-one died instantly, and it is believed that up to 115,000 died from radiation-related illnesses.

The HBO mini-series takes viewers through the aftermath of the nuclear explosion, including the vast clean-up operation and the subsequent inquiry. The show highlights the shortcoming of the Soviet system with its unaccountable bureaucrats and culture of secrecy. The government’s order to evacuate took 36 hours to happen after the accident.

This social media picture chasing is becoming a common thread at other disaster areas as well, from the Auschwitz concentration camp to the Berlin Holocaust memorial.

A company offering Chernobyl tours, SoloEast, has seen a 30 percent increase in bookings since the airing of the HBO show. It said that they are asking visitors to show respect and most people are understanding of this.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.