HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ sparks tours, stokes fears in Lithuania

Ignalina, Lithuania, Aug 19 (AFP/APP):Walking along the top of Lithuania’s decommissioned nuclear reactor, the set of HBO’s critically acclaimed “Chernobyl” TV series, tourist Vytas Miknaitis says he’s not “afraid at all”.

“They know what they’re doing,” the retired computer engineer from Chicago says, referring to organisers of the three-hour tour of the Ignalina power station in eastern Lithuania.

Similar in design to Chernobyl, some 450 kilometres (280 miles) away, the Ignalina reactor provided the backdrop for the show’s outdoor scenes, shot last year.

The Baltic state’s only nuclear power plant built in Soviet times was open to the public even before the “Chernobyl” drama first aired in May but has since seen a steady uptick in visitors on the heels of the show’s success.

Tourists don white overalls, walk on top of the reactor and tour the various work stations, including a command post built to resemble the one in the series.

They can even pretend to be the protagonists pushing the various buttons.

Ignalina plant spokeswoman Natalija Survila-Glebova said that the series had attracted a new stream of visitors, mostly Lithuanians but also foreign tourists from countries like Poland, Latvia and Britain.

Last month, there were 900 visitors, she told AFP, adding that tours were “almost completely booked through the end of the year”. Due to the ongoing dismantling work, tours are only open to adults.

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