“Chernobyl is like the war of all wars.

There’s nowhere to hide. Not underground,

not underwater, not in the air.”

-Svetlana Alexievich

 

Image: YouTube

 

Chernobyl is a nuclear power plant in Ukraine that was the site of a disastrous nuclear accident on April 26, 1986. A routine test at the power plant went horribly wrong, and two massive explosions released 400 times more radiation than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history, killing two workers. Eventually, thousands of people would show signs of health effects—including cancer—from the fallout. In the 1980s, the radiation was enough to kill a person three feet away in less than two minutes.

The Chernobyl disaster not only stoked fears over the dangers of nuclear power, it also exposed the Soviet government’s lack of openness to the Soviet people and the international community. It drained the Soviet Union of billions in clean-up costs, and dealt a serious blow to national pride. They only released information about it after constant pressure from the international community.

The Chernobyl accident also left behind a 770-mile-wide area of radiation-tainted land, not considered safe for human habitation, logging or agriculture due to contaminated plants and soil. Currently, tourists can visit the area that seems as if it is frozen in time.