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April 26th 1986: Chernobyl nuclear disaster

On this day in 1986, a reactor exploded at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine, creating the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Radioactive smoke was let into the atmosphere which spread across the Soviet Union and Europe. Thirty-one members of staff and emergency workers died directly due to the accident, but many others died from diseases - often cancer - resulting from exposure to radiation. Hundreds of thousands of people eventually had to be evacuated and resettled due to contamination of areas of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The disaster raised questions of the safety of nuclear power and encouraged the Soviet government to become more open. Only two nuclear accidents have been classified as level seven on the International Nuclear Event Scale - Chernobyl and the Fukushima Daiichi disaster of 2011.

“For the first time ever, we have confronted in reality the sinister power of uncontrolled nuclear energy.”
- Mikhail Gorbachev

30 years ago today

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Chernobyl nuclear disaster was 30 years ago today

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster happened on April 26, 1986, in the city of Pripyat, Ukraine.

An explosion and fire released radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of Europe.

According to www.world-nuclear.org, the accident “was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel.”

Two plant workers died on the night of the accident and 28 others died within weeks from acute radiation poisoning.

Commemorations are being held in the Ukraine today, according to the BBC.

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Chernobyl’s wildlife thrive despite contamination, 30 years after reactor meltdown

Since the historical nuclear explosion there almost three decades ago on April 26, 1986, scientists have discovered that the human ghost town of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has become an unexpected sanctuary for wildlife. Using remote cameras, scientists found 14 different mammal species. Here’s why scientists believe the animals are able to thrive there.

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The nuclear polluted zone in Chernobyl has been turned into a tourist site. Tourists can only enter with protective “long clothes”. April 26 marks the 30 anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Ukraine that exposed 3.2 mln people to deadly radiation.

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This team took virtual reality to the Chernobyl site — and the result is haunting

On April 26, 1986, a nuclear power plant explosion near Pripyat, Ukraine killed more than 30 people in the accident. Radioactive dust and debris prompted the Ukraine government to evacuate around 135,000 people from the area. The 19-mile exclusion zone has remained uninhabited for the past three decades, but soon you will be able to explore inside the decaying disaster site yourself.

26th of April, 2016

The 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster

Never forget the unsung heroes of this disaster, the liquidators, whom after all this time still suffer the consequences of radioactive contamination. 

Thank you, for your sacrifices countless lives where saved.

(Liquidators in charge of cleaning up the rooftop of the crippled plant celebrate after finishing their mission). 

Reflecting on my tour of Chernobyl that never (officially) happened

April 26th marks 30 years since the world’s worst nuclear disaster. But back in 2008, our reporter went there to see what the abandoned nuclear plant looked like.

After he came back, a Ukrainian official told him that the government didn’t allow tourists to go to Chernobyl. He couldn’t have possibly gone. He had to be mistaken.

Here are the photos from that trip:
(Or listen to the story here)

“It’s like a scene from a science fiction movie. The buildings have broken windows and peeling paint, and moss has taken over the streets and buildings. We all suddenly become photographers, documenting the abandoned civilization. A fallen doll and a teddy bear capture what we guess is a moment of panic and the fleeing of one family from the town.”

“I then remember what a professor told me in Kiev: props have been put out for sucker tourists. It feels like a cheap, unnecessary trick — the scene is powerful enough as it is.”

Listen to Jason’s full story here.