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

  • Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: The Sydney Skinny, a Glacial Arch, Pelicans at Play

    Skijoring in Montana, a Russian presidential candidate in Moscow, a walkout against gun violence across the U.S., the stark and lonely route of a German volunteer mailman, and more.

  • Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty

    Photos: Surfing Norway in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    AFP photographer Olivier Morin recently spent time with surfers above the Arctic Circle on the beaches of Norway’s Lofoten Islands.

  • Andrew Kelly / Reuters

    The Student Walkout Against Gun Violence, in Photos

    Across the United States today, students participated in walkouts to protest gun violence one month after the deadly shooting in a Florida high school.

  • Lee Jin-man / AP

    Photos of the 2018 Winter Paralympics

    Athletes have gathered in Pyeongchang, South Korea, one more time for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.