On April 26 1986, Reactor No 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded, releasing tons of extremely harmful radioactive chemicals into the air. The explosion contaminated dozens of European countries, and elevated radiation levels were also recorded as far away as Canada and the United States.
The town closest to the explosion was Pripyat, situated just a few kilometers away. The residents were forced to evacuate (a little too late) and over the years it has been suggested that thousands of deaths were caused as a result of the explosion. Many more have been left with illnesses brought on by the radioactive chemicals.
The long-term 30-kilometer exclusion zone is still in place today, and Reactor No 4 can only be accessed as part of a short-term organized tour. Most tours include knowledgeable guides and a visit to the ‘ghost town’ of Pripyat, with its abandoned buildings and eerily decaying amusement park.
Organized one- and two-day trips to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and nearby Pripyat can be arranged from Kiev.