MDA INFORMATION SYSTEMS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MDA INFORMATION SYSTEMS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Chernobyl, Ukraine, satellite image. North is at top. Water is black and urban areas are white. Red and green rectangular fields surround the river and the lake that supplied water to cool the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (white, centre). On 26 April 1986, the nuclear reaction in Reactor number Four went out of control, leading to meltdown and an explosion. Around 1000 square kilometres of land were directly contaminated by radioactive fall-out of heavy elements released into the atmosphere by the explosion. Lighter materials were carried large distances and contaminated rain falling across Europe.
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