On This Day: April 26th

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In 1986 the 26th of April saw the worst nuclear disaster in history. It was the Chernobyl disaster, the event occurred at Reactor 4 and its effects were far-reaching across Europe, even going as far as Norway. An explosion and following fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere. The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles. During the accident itself, 31 people died, and long-term effects such as cancers are still being investigated.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is located in Pripyat, Ukraine and is still being decommissioned, a process which has been ongoing since 2000. The power plant is now found within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the zone and the plant are now administered by the State Agency in Administration of Exclusion Zone (Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources). The remains of Reactor 4 will remain radioactive for 1000 years, it is likely that no further decontamination work will continue until the background radiation levels have dropped in about 300 years.

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