Visiting Chernobyl 32 Years After the Disaster

Today marks the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. On April 26, 1986, technicians conducting a test inadvertently caused the fourth reactor to explode. Several hundred staff members and firefighters then 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. Authorities evacuated 120,000 people from the area, including 43,000 from the city of Pripyat. Below, recent images from Chernobyl and nearby ghost towns within the exclusion zone, as well as memorials held in Ukraine and Russia.

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

Most Recent

  • Christian Palma / AP

    Hopeful Images From 2019

    I’ve made it an annual tradition to compose an essay of uplifting images from the past year—an effort to seek out and recognize some of the abundant joy and kindness present in the world around us.

  • Ng Han Guan / AP

    2019 in Photos: Wrapping Up the Year

    Time to take a look at some of the most memorable events and images of 2019. Events covered in this essay include protests in Hong Kong, Chile, and Iraq; a toxic sky over New Delhi; an all-female team of spacewalkers; and much more.

  • Cadet Hallie H. Pound / U.S. Army via AP

    2019 in Photos: A Look at the Middle Months

    Time to take a look at some of the most memorable events and images of 2019. Events covered in this essay include the Pan American Games in Peru, a spelling bee with eight co-champions, the testimony of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill, and much more.

  • Joyce N. Boghosian / The White House

    2019 in Photos: How the First Months Unfolded

    Time to take a look at some of the most memorable events and images of 2019. Events covered in this essay include the abdication of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, a performance by Lil Nas X, a landing on the far side of the moon, and much more.