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11 Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters

Photo: Laski Diffusion | Getty Images

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Chernobyl, Ukraine (1986)

On April 26, 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine exploded, causing the worst nuclear accident the world has seen. It sent a plume into the atmosphere with radioactive fallout that was 400 times greater than that released in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The plume drifted across much of the western Soviet Union. Parts of Eastern, Northern and Western Europe were also affected.

Fifty people were killed at the reactor site at the time of the accident, but the number of people across Europe who found themselves in the path of the radioactive plume is anybody’s guess. A report from the World Nuclear Association (http://world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/inf07.html) claims that over one million people may have been exposed to radiation. However, the full extent of the damage is unlikely to ever be known.

Photo: Laski Diffusion | Getty Images