BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

world

In Pictures: 30 Years On From The Chernobyl Disaster

Marking the anniversary of the worst nuclear plant accident in history.

Posted on April 26, 2016, at 8:18 a.m. ET

On 26 April 1986, the worst nuclear plant accident in history took place at the Chernobyl atomic power station in Ukraine, which was then part of the Soviet Union.

Radioactive material spewed into the atmosphere when an uncontrolled reaction blew the roof off, causing contamination to drift across Ukraine's borders into Russia, Belarus, and large parts of northern Europe. Over 30 people died at the site of the explosion and the spread of radioactive material caused many more deaths and illnesses. Over 350,000 people were evacuated from contaminated areas in subsequent years after the disaster.

Ukraine held candle-lit vigils to mark the 30th anniversary of the disaster. Here we take a look at a few pictures of Chernobyl from the history archives and the present day.

A group of geodesists measuring the terrain at the construction site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 6 June 1971.
Sovfoto/Universal Images Gro/REX/Shutterstock

A group of geodesists measuring the terrain at the construction site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 6 June 1971.

Construction of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 1 July 1975.
ovfoto / UIG / Getty Images

Construction of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 1 July 1975.

The monument "Taming of the Fire" seen on Kurchatov Street, devoted to the builders of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 1 December 1979.
Sovfoto/Universal Images Group/REX/Shutterstock

The monument "Taming of the Fire" seen on Kurchatov Street, devoted to the builders of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 1 December 1979.

Interior of the Chernobyl atomic power station, Chernobyl, Ukraine, Soviet Union, in the early 1980s.
KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/REX/Shutterstock

Interior of the Chernobyl atomic power station, Chernobyl, Ukraine, Soviet Union, in the early 1980s.

The Chernobyl reactor after the explosion, 26 April 1986.
Sovfoto/UIG via Getty

The Chernobyl reactor after the explosion, 26 April 1986.

A child having a thyroid test at a children's clinic north of Minsk, where children from areas near the Chernobyl nuclear plant suffered from leukaemia and other ailments that were believed to be the result of exposure to radiation emitted in the 1986 accident.
Chuck Nacke / The LIFE Images Collection / Getty

A child having a thyroid test at a children's clinic north of Minsk, where children from areas near the Chernobyl nuclear plant suffered from leukaemia and other ailments that were believed to be the result of exposure to radiation emitted in the 1986 accident.

Men inspecting the inside of the sarcophagus containing the unit 4 reactor in March 1991.
Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

Men inspecting the inside of the sarcophagus containing the unit 4 reactor in March 1991.

A radiation testing team returns to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant five years after the accident that destroyed the unit 4 reactor, in May 1991.
Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

A radiation testing team returns to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant five years after the accident that destroyed the unit 4 reactor, in May 1991.

Photographer Toby Batchelor visited the ruins of the power station in 2014, capturing these desolate and atmospheric photos.

Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media
Toby Batchelor / HotSpot Media

Support our journalism

Help BuzzFeed News reporters expose injustices and keep quality news free.

Contribute
ADVERTISEMENT