On April 26, 1986, reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded, sending radioactive material into the environment and across Europe. The world’s worst nuclear power disaster only killed dozens immediately – the number most often cited is 31 – a number that has always seemed surprisingly low given the sheer scale of the event, but thousands died over the long term from radiation-linked illnesses such as cancer. Millions of acres of farmland in northern and eastern Europe were contaminated. The true toll of Chernobyl’s meltdown remains disputed and possibly simply unknown. Untold numbers of sacrificial men and women from all these various fields were tapped to charge headlong into a chaotic and life-threatening situation in a helter-skelter way. Their bravery has been documented in a recent award-winning miniseries and a Nobel-prize-winning book among other testimonies. There were so many critical tasks to carry out in a race against time, from dousing nuclear fire, burying toxic embers, removing molten graphite to fighting to save the lives of patients full of radiation.
There were mass evacuations of surrounding communities – albeit many of those came late – with people leaving lives and homes behind. They are stories that continue to break hearts and shock with the sheer immensity and intensity of the accident and the cover-up by the Soviet authorities.
“The 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy is a reminder of how state-sponsored disinformation, as propagated by the totalitarian Soviet regime, led to the greatest man-made disaster in human history.”
It is possible to purchase prints about Chernobyl Aftermath Project in Emporium