In April 1986, Chernobyl' (Chornobyl' in Ukrainian) was an obscure city on the Pripiat' River in north-central Ukraine. On April 26,during a test at 1:21 A.M., the No. 4 reactor exploded and released thirty to forty times the radioactivity of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No one can predict what will finally be the exact number of human victims. Thirty- one lives were lost immediately. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, Russians, and Belorussians had to abandon entire cities and settlements within the thirty-kilometer zone of extreme contamination.
|Photo credit: Igor Kostin|