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

  • Tommy Pedersen / TT News Agency / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 8/12–8/18

    The removal of Confederate statues in Baltimore, big waves in Brazil,  the World Jousting Championships in Australia, daily exercise at a pig farm in China, and much more.

  • George Frey / Getty

    Inside the Dugway Proving Ground

    George Frey, Getty images photographer, recently had the opportunity to visit the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground, a sprawling top-secret military facility in the Utah desert.

  • Tauseef Mustafa / AFP / Getty

    Photos: One Week in India

    India celebrated its 70th Independence Day on August 15, during a busy week across the nation.

  • Scott Olson / Getty

    Vigils, Marches, and Memorials After Charlottesville

    In squares and streets across the United States, vigils and marches were held this weekend in response to the hatred and violence on display during a rally in Charlottesville on Saturday.

Join the Discussion