Thirty three years ago today, the world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred at the Chernobyl power plant in the Soviet Union, in modern day Ukraine.
On the 26 April 1986, an uncontrolled reaction blew the roof off the soviet nuclear plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, spewing out a cloud of radioactive material which drifted into other parts of the USSR, including Russia and Belarus, and northern Europe.
The meltdown at the Soviet plant was the worst nuclear disaster in history.
The explosions in the nuclear reactors released 400 times as much radioactive fallout as the bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
When the accident happened the USSR did all it could to cover up and hide the fact that the nuclear plant had a meltdown.
The people who were living in Chernobyl and in the surrounding areas only found out two days after the accident, when the Swedish government announced it to the world.
The Chernobyl nuclear plant in 1986 after the disaster.
To this day nobody knows what's the exact death toll and how many people were affected from the Chernobyl meltdown and subsequent nuclear fallout, as various figures go from a few thousands to millions of people.
Ukraine's health ministry said more than 2 million people continue to receive ongoing medical observation, treatment or support because of the accident 30 years ago. Of these, 453,391 are children.
In Belarus, where 70% of the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl landed, little information is available and it is a criminal offense to criticize the government.
Eugene Cahaill of the Dublin-based Chernobyl Children’s Project reported in the Irish Times in 2005 that, “Nine million people in Belarus, the Ukraine and Western Russian have been directly affected by the fallout.”
A new Safe Confinement arch covers the Chernobyl nuclear power plant today.
33 years after the accident in Chernobyl happened, it seems that the true extent of this nuclear catastrophe will never be known.