Pripyat: Nuclear Wasteland

'I Love You Pripyat, Forgive Me!' scrawled on the walls of a Pripyat clinic during its hasty evacuation after the Chernobyl disaster
'I Love You Pripyat, Forgive Me!' scrawled on the walls of a Pripyat clinic during its hasty evacuation after the Chernobyl disaster

Historical Context

Chernobyl was the worst nuclear accident in the history of the world. On April 26, 1986 the number 4 reactor in the nuclear plant blew up, sending radiation spewing across Europe as far north as Sweden.

In the direct path of the immediate fallout was the town of Pripyat. In the hours after the disaster, dozens of people began to fall ill, but the town was not immediately evacuated by Soviet authorities. This happened a day later. Residents were told only to bring essentials and that they would return in three days. Details of the disaster were sketchy at the time; the Soviet Union did not admit an incident until two days later, and even then the announcement was downplayed in state media.

Since 1986 a 'Zone of Exclusion' has been set up around the Chernobyl plant. The surrounding area will not be safe for at least another 20,000 years.

Photo Info


Photographer: International Atomic Energy Agency
Date taken: August 20, 2005
Location taken: Pripyat, Ukraine

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Related Events

  • 1986-04-26 World's worst nuclear disaster: 4th reactor at Chernobyl nuclear power station in USSR explodes, 31 die, radioactive contamination reaches much of Western Europe
  • 1986-04-27 Soviet authorities order the evacuation of the city of Pripyat (pop. 50,000) 1 day after the Chernobyl nuclear accident
  • 1986-04-28 Soviet TV news program Vremya announces a nuclear accident at Chernobyl nuclear power station, 2 days after the event
  • 1986-05-01 Russian news agency Tass reports Chernobyl nuclear power plant mishap
  • 1986-06-15 Pravda announces high-level Chernobyl staff fired for stupidity

Historical Photos