05:54 GMT +3 hours28 November 2014
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Ukraine parliament speaker proposes opening Chernobyl to tourism

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KIEV, February 10 (RIA Novosti) - The speaker of Ukraine's parliament suggested Friday that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, whose breakdown 20 years ago had far-reaching consequences for public health and the environment, should become a tourist destination.

"I think we must do everything to derive some practical good out of this tragedy, including by organizing extreme tourism," Volodymyr Lytvyn said.

He said offering tours of the area surrounding the Chernobyl plant would make people more aware of the impact that man-made disasters could have on life on earth.

Following the 1986 accident, the worst in the history of nuclear engineering, the facility was shut down and residents from within a 30-kilometer (18-mile) radius were evacuated. The aftermath included radioactive contamination that spread not only across Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union), but also into neighboring Russia and Belarus and even some countries of northern and western Europe.