CHORNOBYL DISASTER:
Ukraine's sorrow

30 years ago radioactive explosion at Chornobyl Nuclear Power
Plant rocked Europe


www.uatoday.tv
April 26th marks the somber anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster.
Thirty years ago, a massive power surge during one of the nuclear reactor tests destroyed Reactor 4 of the Nuclear Power Plant in Chornobyl, Ukraine. This caused a massive fire which in turn ended up releasing huge amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere over Ukraine as well as Eastern and Central Europe and subsequently the world.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in human history, Ukraine Today decided to publish a special project about what truly happened on that fateful day of April 26, 1986.

Dispatcher talks with fire station and patrol officers of Chornobyl nuclear power plant Ivankov, Polesskoye
THE ACCIDENT
1:23 AM local Kyiv time. A major blast at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The detonation was caused by a systems test that was conducted by poorly-trained personnel. Essentially, human error led to the worst nuclear disaster in the world.
The accident completely destroyed Reactor 4. The steam, fire and smoke from the blast released at least five percent of the reactor's core into the atmosphere.

Firefighters were sent to take out the fire from the scene. They were not warned of the risks associated with the radiation. In total there were 81 fire engines and about 186 fireman brought in from Pripyat and even Kyiv. The lethal dose of radio would only take about 15 minutes of exposure.

Two people died on scene that night. At least 30 more were dead within several weeks of the Chornobyl disaster. To date, the exact number of victims is unknown. Estimates range in the thousands. Acute radiation syndrome was diagnosed and confirmed in nearly two hundred people.

RADIATION EXPOSURE
THE EVACUATION
The area surrounding Chornobyl was not evacuated immediately. The order to evacuate Pripyat, a town that was built specifically for workers of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, came only on late afternoon of April 27th, 1986. Almost two thousand buses were sent to Pripyat. People had just a few hours to gather their essentials and clothing. They were told to pack for a couple of days. Radiation levels keep rising however, not everyone left town on the same date. The complete evacuation took almost a week. Everyone was evacuated from the 30km radius around the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
EVACUATION MAP
Pripyat, Chornobyl and other towns and villages on the territory of Ukraine and Belarus are all a part of what is now called the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. In total more than 200,000 people were forced to leave their homes from the Exclusion Zone.
THE PRESENT
Greenpeace reports on contamination still maintaining in Ukraine,
Russia and Belarus


Local residents are still being exposed to dangerously high levels of radiation nearly thirty years after an explosion at Chornobyl - a nuclear plant in Ukraine. A research report published on Wednesday (March 9) said in some cases, radiation levels in the contaminated zones - where an estimated five million people live - had actually increased.


Wild life strives in the towns and villages abandoned by humans
A video of a fox in the Chornobyl disaster exclusion zone taking food from journalists and stacking bread to make sandwiches has gotten over one million views on social media websites.
The Chornobyl Exclusion Zone has become a wildlife haven since the area was abandoned by humans following the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear plant catastrophe that made the region uninhabitable for humans.

With almost no human interference since then, wolves, lynx, elk, wild horses, bears and foxes like this one have thrived despite high radiation levels.
THE FUTURE
The sarcophagus

An arch is under construction in northern Ukraine to block radiation from the nuclear disaster site

In the middle of a vast exclusion zone in northern Ukraine, the world's largest land-based moving structure has been built to prevent deadly radiation spewing from
the Chornobyl nuclear disaster site for the next 100 years.

Easily visible from miles away, the 30,000-tonne 'New Safe Confinement' arch will be pulled into position over the site later this year to create a steel-clad casement to block radiation and allow the remains of the reactor to be dismantled safely.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development funded of the arch. It cost a total of 1.7 billion USD and involved donations from more than 40 governments.

The German government has decided to allocate 19 million euros in additional financial aid to cope with the consequences of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant 1986 disaster.
Ukraine received financial aid from about 44 countries to deal with the consequences of the Chornobyl explosion. A significant part of the money was invested in constructing a new sarcophagus which is to fully isolate the ruined fourth reactor unit.
Split into atoms: 30 years after the Chornobyl disaster
Thousands of people left without homes
Thousands of lives lost
Lost but not forgotten….