The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation is an officially designated exclusion zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. It is also commonly known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the 30 Kilometre Zone, or simply The Zone.
Established by the USSR military soon after the 1986 disaster, it initially existed as an area of 30 km radius from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant designated for evacuation and placed under military control.Its borders have since been altered to cover a larger area of Ukraine. The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone borders a separately administered area, the Polesie State Radio-ecological Reserve, to the north, in Belarus. The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is managed by an agency of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, while the power plant and its sarcophagus (and replacement) are administered separately.
The Exclusion Zone covers an area of approximately 2,600 km2 (1,000 sq mi) in Ukraine immediately surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant where radioactive contamination from fallout is highest and public access and inhabitation are restricted. Other areas of compulsory resettlement and voluntary relocation not part of the restricted exclusion zone exist in the surrounding areas and throughout Ukraine.
The Exclusion Zone's purpose is to restrict access to hazardous areas, reduce the spread of radiological contamination and conduct radiological and ecological monitoring activities. Today the Exclusion Zone is one of the most radioactively contaminated areas in the world and draws significant scientific interest for the high levels of radiation exposure in the environment, as well as increasing interest from tourists.
Geographically, it includes the northernmost raions (districts) of the Kiev and Zhytomyr oblasts (regions) of Ukraine.