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You Can Never Live In This Place

The former Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine and a nearly 20 mile radius around it is uninhabitable (Getty Images)

I guess it depends on how you define an accident. But when you have incompetent people doing something they have no business doing it can lead to huge consequences and that’s what happened at the Chernobyl Nuclear Generating plant in what was then the Soviet Union. It led to the world’s worst nuclear power plant disaster.

Some engineers who obviously didn’t know much about nuclear physics were doing an experiment to test one of the four reactors’ turbines. The experiment was flawed to begin with and when the engineers saw things weren’t going well the actions they took made a bad situation even worse.

The explosion was several times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan during World War Two. It blew off the steel and concrete top of the reactor and released 50 tons of radiation into the air where it was carried off across Northern and Eastern Europe.

The Soviets tried to cover it up but three days later when a monitoring station in Sweden 800 miles away showed radiation levels 40 percent higher than normal, the Soviets had to admit there was a problem.

32 people died and dozens more suffered radiation burns in the days immediately following the meltdown. Five-thousand died of cancer and other illnesses because of the radiation. Some estimates are 100-thousand people have died and millions more are still having health problems to this day.

The place where 50-thousand plant workers and their families lived is a ghost town where no one can live again.

All roads in a nearly 20 mile radius around the plant are blocked off in what is officially called the Chernobyl Zone of Alienation. People can’t live there, no food is allowed to be grown there. It does get a lot of curious tourists though.

The Chernobyl accident happened on this date 27 years ago in 1986.

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