The Chernobyl Disaster: 25 Years Ago

The 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is next month. On April 26, 1986, a series of explosions destroyed Chernobyl's reactor No. 4 station and several hundred staff and firefighters tackled a blaze that burned for 10 days and sent a plume of radiation around the world in the worst-ever civil nuclear disaster. More than 50 reactor and emergency workers were killed at the time. Assessing the larger impact on human health remains a difficult task, with estimates of related deaths from cancer ranging from 4,000 to over 200,000. The government of Ukraine indicated early this year that it will lift restrictions on tourism around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, formally opening the scene to visitors. It's expected, meanwhile, that a 20,000-ton steel case called the New Safe Confinement (NSC), designed as a permanent containment structure for the whole plant, will be completed in 2013.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Brittany Greeson / The Ground Truth Project

    'We Fear the Water'

    Photographs of life in Flint, Michigan, where lead, copper, and bacteria have been contaminating the drinking supply

  • Aris Messinis / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 1/30-2/5

    Revelers in Brazil prepare for Carnival, Dutch police train an eagle to capture drones in midair, a captured monkey menace in Mumbai, Russian infantry training with reindeer, a mock zebra escape in a Tokyo zoo, and much more.

  • © Google, Inc.

    The Looting of Syria's Archaeological Treasures

    In contested areas of Syria, thousands of archaeological sites are being systematically looted by unknown parties, the treasures sold off, disappearing into the black market.

  • Damir Sagolj / Reuters

    Scenes From 21st-Century China

    A small view of people and places across China over the past few months.

Join the Discussion