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Aerial view of Chernobyl and its sarcophagus.

Aerial view of Chernobyl and its sarcophagus.

T172/0071

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Credit

SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Chernobyl. Aerial view of the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Ukraine (formerly part of the USSR). The dark structure at centre is the concrete sarcophagus which now encloses the remains of the reactor core. The accident occurred on 25th April 1986 during a low- power experiment with the No.4 RBMK-type reactor. The core overheated and caused a steam explosion which breached its containment building. Over a billion billion becquerels of radioactive nuclides were released into the atmosphere, contaminating much of northern Europe. Many fatal cancers are expected to be caused by this fallout. Photographed in 1991.

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