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Chernobyl: The city ‘frozen in time’

The world’s only archaeologist to stand in the ruins of Chernobyl says the city will never be what it once was, but insists it deserves UNESCO protection.

In 1986 a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Power Plant in Ukraine exploded, leaving the nearby city of Pripyat derelict when a 30km exclusion zone was put in place.

Reports suggest about 4000 people died as a result of the nuclear explosion, leaving the city abandoned.

Tourists can visit the exclusion zone but are subject to strict safety precautions.

American HBO mini-series Chernobyl is the channel’s top-rated series, garnering international attention.

Australian archaeologist Robert Maxwell is the only archaeologist to visit the exclusion zone.

He tells Chris Smith the city will never be restored, but believes it should become a “historic park”.

“It’s an eerie sensation to stand in a city that was formally a population of approaching 50,000 and really quite frozen in time.

“Once you do look at the circumstances that led to the explosion, and then the response to the event itself, you start to realise that not only was it a nuclear disaster but it was really a psychological disaster of the 20th century.”

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