The Chernobyl nuclear disaster took place on 26 April 1986, 35 years ago today. The power plant is located near the town of Pripyat and consisted of four reactors. Each reactor was capable of producing 1,000 megawatts of electric power. The disaster took place in reactor No 4. It is the worst nuclear disaster in the history of the Soviet Union. Image credit: Eamonn Butler /Flickr
A large amounts of radioactive material was released into the atmosphere and was carried to the surrounding countries by air currents. A partial meltdown of the core also took place. The residents of Pripyat, around 49,360 people, were evacuated the next day. However, two million residents of Kyiv that stayed 104 km from the site, weren’t informed of the disaster despite the danger of radiation. Image credit: Ian Bancroft/Flickr
The residents of Pripyat, around 49,360 people, were evacuated the next day. However, two million residents of Kyiv that stayed 104 km from the site, weren’t informed of the disaster despite the danger of radiation. Image credit: Ian Bancroft/Flickr
Some 200,0000 people are believed to have been relocated as a result of the accident. Ukrainian authorities say the area maybe not be fit for humans for 24,000 years. An area of 30-kilometre radius, surrounding the power plant, has been declared no man's land and an exclusion zone has been created. Image credit: Ian Bancroft/Flickr
To contain the radidation, Reactor No 4 was entomed in a hastily created “sarcophagus” made of concrete and steel. It was later deemed structurally unsound and had a lifetime of around 20-30 years. A second shelter, known as the New Safe Confinement, is being built and is supposed to last 100 years. It will be placed over the existing structure. This disaster was a unique event that led to major changes in safety culture and in industry cooperation, particularly between East and West before the end of the Soviet Union. Image credit: CarpetbloggerFlickr
Two plant workers died as a direct result of the explosion and 28 firemen and emergency clean-up workers died in the next three months. However, their deaths occurred due to Acute Radiation Sickness (ARS) and one due to cardiac arrest. Over the course of time, several thousand people suffered from radiation-induced illnesses and at least 1800 cases of thyroid cancer in children were documented. Image credit: Ian Bancroft/Flickr
The Pripyat amusement park is an abandoned park located in Pripyat that was supposed to have a grand opening on 1 May 1986. However the plans were cancelled after the explosion that took place a few kilometers away. The abandoned carousel is still left standing in the park as a monument of the disaster. Image credit: Ian Bancroft/Flickr
In 2011 Chernobyl was declared a tourist attraction and visitors are allowed to visit the site. The Chernobyl zone saw an increase in tourism after the release of a miniseries in 2019. The radiation level is low enough that tourists can visit safely and workers can carry on with their jobs of disposing of waste and tending to the sarcophagus. Permanent residence is still banned. Image credit: AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
After the explosion, the vegetation and wildlife saw some mutations including leaves changing shape, animals being born with physical deformities, etc. Despite the radiation, animals are thriving in this untouched land. The the area has turned into a giant reserve with animals like elk, wolves, beavers, moose, wild boar, the Przewalski's horses plus species of birds thriving, despite the radiation. Image credit: AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka
 Reactor 1 remained on-line until 1996, Reactor 2 was shut down after a fire in 1991 and the third reactor was operational till 2000. The lengthy process of decommissioning the plant has begun and is supposed to go on till 2064. This process included removing and disposing fuel and wastes, decontaminating the plant and the area around it -including soil or water that might be radioactive. Ukraine will use this deserted zone to store the spent fuel from the country’s four remaining nuclear power plants. Image credit: Eamonn Butler

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