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Chernobyl: 27 years after the apocalypse

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Last Friday, the world marked 27 years since its worst nuclear power accident, known as the Chernobyl disaster. The unfortunate event took place on 26 April 1986, at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine). An explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive contamination into the atmosphere, which spread over much of Western Russia and Europe.

It is one of only two classified as a level 7 events on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the other being the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear incident).

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The Chernobyl accident caused the largest uncontrolled radioactive release into the environment ever recorded for any civilian operation, with large quantities of radioactive substances being released into the air for about 10 days, causing serious social and economic disruption for large populations in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

Chernobyl's Unit 4 is now enclosed in a large concrete shelter which was erected quickly (by October 1986) to allow continuing operation of the other reactors at the plant. Thank God though, a New Safe Confinement structure is due to be completed in 2014 by Russian authorities.

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In August 2012, Russia declared the 30-km exclusion zone around Chernobyl safe and suitable for human habitation and farming activities, but with no obvious results in people returning to their abandoned homes so far.

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If you want to see how fast and far the radioactive contamination spread through the European region, have a look at the video that follows.

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