There are residents in the Chernobyl exclusion zone who have lived there largely undisturbed and unhurt since right after the accident.
In the 'exclusion zone': yes. Close to the original site: no.
Reactor #2 at the Chernobyl power plant continued operations from the day of the accident with reactor #4 until 1991. Reactor #1 operated until 1996. Reactor #3 operated until 2000. The people operating those reactors weren't just working in the "exclusion zone", nor even NEAR the site. They were ON the site. And no harm came to them.