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Selasa, 26 April 2011


The Chernobyl nuclear power plant sits crippled two to three days after the explosion in Chernobyl, Ukraine in April, 1986. In front of the chimney is the destroyed 4th reactor.

On April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power facility in what is now Ukraine exploded. The largest civil nuclear disaster in history led to mass evacuations, and long-term health, agricultural, and economic distress. The nearby city of Pripyat has been abandoned, and a 19-mile radius "exclusion zone" established where radiation contamination makes continued habitation dangerous. Collected here are archival pictures of the catastrophe, as well as more recent images of the area. In addition, two photographers who've made extensive studies of the aftermath have been gracious enough to share their work with us here. Diana Markosian documented the lives of pensioners Lida and Mikhail Masanovitz, who continue to live in the abandoned ghost town of Redkovka, Ukraine. Her work is found here in photographs 13 through 16. Michael Forster Rothbart has produced one of the most extensive records available of life near Chernobyl. His work is found here in photographs 23 through 29. Links to the websites of both photographers can be found below.

A helicopter sprays a decontaminate over the region surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power station on June 13, 1986.

An engineer working at the Chernobyl plant is checked by doctors of the sanatorium of Lesnaya Polyana on May 15, 1986, a few days after the No. 4 reactor's blast.

Lida Masanovitz stands beside her husband, MIkhail Masanovitz, 73, as she speaks to her daughter on the phone. After the Chernobyl accident on April 26, 1986, Masanovitz's daughter was hospitalized and treated for thyroid issues. An estimated 7 million people in the former Soviet republics of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine suffered from radiation-linked ailments, including thyroid and circulation problems after the accident.

A hunter chases a fox just outside the 19-mile exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor near the village of Novosiolki, Belarus on January 11, 2009. Despite radiation levels, wildlife in and around the exclusion zone has been teeming since people left the area after the 1986 nuclear disaster. Wolves, foxes and racoon dogs can be hunted all year around.

A cancer patient leans against the window of a special treatment chamber in a hospital in Donetsk, Ukraine on April 25, 2006.

Olya Podoprigora, 13, and 18-month-old Parvana Sulemanova, recover in the ICU one day after open-heart surgeries in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Both girls had congenital heart defects, and every year, 6,000 children in Ukraine are born with genetic heart disease. Radiation is suspected as the cause, but is not proven.

Graffiti adorns a wall April 4 in the ghost city of Pripyat near the fourth nuclear reactor (background) at the former Chernobyl Nuclear power plant, site of the world's worst nuclear disaster.

People hold a rally to protest against a Ukrainian initiative to cut social benefits for "liquidators", emergency workers who fought the blaze at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, near the government's headquarters in Kiev on March 16.

A Ferris wheel sits abandoned in the deserted town of Pripyat, less than two miles from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Beds sit in disarray in a kindergarten in the ghost city of Pripyat on April 4.

A man visits his ruined house in the 19-mile exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the abandoned village of Lomysh, Belarus on March 18.

Seventy-two year old Natalia Makeenko (left) hugs eighty-two year old Galina Shcyuka in the abandoned village of Savichi on April 21, close to the 19-mile exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

In Slavutych, Ukraine, a memorial hall in the city museum is dedicated to the Chernobyl accident, with photographs of the men and women who died immediately following the explosion. Former Chernobyl plant worker Sergii Kasyanchuk manages the Chernobyl Information Center museum now that his health no longer allows him to enter the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. More than half the families in Slavutych have a member who still works at the plant, and everyone knows colleagues who became ill or died due to the Chernobyl accident.

A gas mask and children's toys gather dust in a kindergarten in the ghost city of Pripyat on April 4

A geiger counter shows a reading of the radiation levels in the air by the 4th power block of Chernobyl's nuclear power plant, covered with a "sarcophagus" as it lies derelict on March 31.

Vehicles contaminated by radioactivity lay dormant on November 10, 2000 near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Some 1,350 Soviet military helicopters, buses, bulldozers, tankers, transporters, fire engines and ambulances were used while fighting the nuclear accident. All were irradiated during the clean-up operation.

Employees of the Polessky State Radiation Ecological Reserve wear facemasks on April 20 as they plant trees on contaminated land near the abandoned village of Bogushi, Belarus, inside the 19-mile exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, to form a natural windbreak to stop radioactive particles from blowing away. One-fifth of the country's agricultural land was contaminated following the blast at the nuclear reactor and around 70% of the fallout fell in Belarus.

Schoolchildren wear gas masks during nuclear safety training lessons in Rudo, Ukraine near an isolated zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant April 3, 2006.

Teenage dancers wait backstage for their turn to perform during a Slavutych, Ukraine city concert. Slavutych is the new city built after the accident to house evacuated Chernobyl personnel. The Chernobyl plant once funded many programs in the city. Now the city struggles with decreased resources due to layoffs at the Chernobyl plant.

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