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On April 26, 1986, a power surge caused an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat, Ukraine. A large quantity of radioactive material was released.

On May 2, 1986, the Soviet government established a “Zone of Alienation” or “Exclusion Zone” around Chernobyl – a thousand square miles of “radioactive wasteland.” All humans were evacuated. The town of Pripyat was completely abandoned.

But the animals didn’t leave. And a new study, published this month in Current Biology, suggests they are doing fine. “None of our three hypotheses postulating radiation damage to large mammal populations at Chernobyl were supported by the empirical evidence,” says Jim Beasley, one of the researchers.

In fact, some of the populations have grown. These photos (mostly taken by Valeriy Yurko) come from the Belarusian side of the Exclusion Zone, and area called the Polessye State Radioecological Reserve. Kingfisher, elk, boar, baby spotted eagles, wild ponies, moose, rabbits, and wolves all make their home in the park. In some ways, human presence is worse for wildlife than a nuclear disaster.


Image credits:

  • 1986 Chernobyl - ZUFAROV/AFP/Getty Images
  • Wildlife photos - Valeriy Yurko/Polessye State Radioecological Reserve
  • Ponies in winter - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images
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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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The 26 of April, 2015, was the 29th anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster, the worst nuclear accident the world has ever seen.

Let us remember the work of the liquidators, people who sacrificed their health and even lives to clean up this disaster, without them only God knows what would have happened.

Some pics have descriptions, so be sure to check them out.

sciencealert.com
Chernobyl could soon find a second life as a giant solar farm
Revitalising a wasteland.
By Josh Hrala

The Ukrainian government has announced a plan to turn the area surrounding Chernobyl - the site of one of the worst nuclear meltdowns in history - into a solar energy farm, by constructing a series of solar panels inside the exclusion zone.

Not only would this plan - which is currently seeking investment - allow the country to use a giant chunk of radioactive land that’s unfit for human settlement, it would also provide a cheaper source of reusable energy that might decrease the country’s reliance on Russia.

“The Chernobyl site has really good potential for renewable energy,” Ukraine’s environment minister Ostap Semerak said in an interview in London. “We already have high-voltage transmission lines that were previously used for the nuclear stations, the land is very cheap and we have many people trained to work at power plants.”

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