SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Chernobyl. Aerial view of the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Ukraine (formerly part of the USSR) during the early stages of making the reactor safe. 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. The RBMK design did not include a secondary containment structure which would have prevented release of the core's contents. Over a billion billion becquerels of radioactive nuclides were released into the atmosphere, contaminating much of northern Europe. Photographed in May 1986.
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