Ever since the discovery of radiation, humanity has used it to do some terrible things and there are many places that still exist today, that are proof of just that. Some sites served as nuclear testing grounds, others were radioactive mines and there are also a few disaster zones sprinkled in here and there. These areas draw in thousands of tourists every year and who knows, maybe one day it’ll include you. Below are five amazing radioactive sites that you can visit right now.
1. Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone
The 1986 Chernobyl disaster holds the title as the largest nuclear disaster in history, which resulted in the city being evacuated nine days after the event. Today, it’s mostly a ghost town with only 1,000 residents remaining. If you want to see what’s left of it up close and personal, then you’re more than free to visit and can even arrange a tour for the small fee of $100, of course. You’ll even get your very own hazmat suit and industrial boots so the extremely high radiation levels don’t get to you!
2. Mary Kathleen Uranium Mine
In the northwestern part of Queensland, Australia lies the remains of an abandoned uranium mine located 3.7 miles away from the mining town of the same name. The mine operated from the 1950s until 1963, then reopened in 1974 and finally shut down for good in 1982. All that’s left of it today is a large pit filled with sparkly blue water, thanks to the various chemicals that were released from the surrounding rocks. It’s very much safe to visit the pit for short periods of time although scientists warn that it’s unsafe to swim in, let alone drink. Oh, and don’t go digging up the soil!
3. Free Enterprise Radon Health Mine
Radon, especially in large quantities, is an extremely harmful gas with radioactive properties. Despite the known dangers, many people hold the belief that radon can actually cure certain medical conditions such as arthritis. As a result, many people deliberately descend into the radon-filled mines in Boulder, Montana for a sort of impromptu healing session. They go as far as 85 feet below ground just to get a whiff of that radon-rich air. A typical therapy session can go on for 20 and 60 hours over the course of ten days.
4. Maralinga Test Site
Ever wanted to know what a former nuclear test site looked like? Then you can set your sights on Maralinga, Australia, where the British government detonated seven atomic bombs. Once they were done with their play time, the land was returned to the Maralinga Tjarutja people who obviously (and rightfully) had no desire to live there anymore. So, they turned it into a tourist hotspot where you can find an abandoned military village, an airfield, and bits of sand fused into glass. The site is generally safe except for one area which you can only visit in the next 25,000 years or so.
5. Weldon Spring Site
The barren, gray mound of rock near Weldon Spring, Missouri that stands out against the green landscape was once a site where nuclear weapons were enriched with uranium during the Cold War. Shortly after the war ended, the remaining radioactive and chemical waste was encased in a large, man-made hill now known as the Weldon Spring Site. Today, the mound has a flight of stairs that leads to the top where a spectacular view awaits visitors. There’s even a small museum nearby that provides information about the mound and its surrounding site.
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