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32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A telephone is seen in a control center of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

On April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant, some 100 kilometers north of the capital Kiev, exploded during a botched safety test.

The reactor burned for 10 days, sending radioactive elements into the atmosphere that contaminated three-quarters of Europe, according to some estimates.

Soviet authorities tried to cover up the accident. Sweden was the first to raise the alarm after scientists detected a spike in radiation levels on April 28. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev did not make a public statement until May 14.

The number of deaths directly due to the accident is still a matter of debate, with estimates varying from around 30 to one hundred thousand.

In November 2016, a massive metal dome was erected over the remains of the reactor paid for with 2.1 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in international funding to stop future leaks and ensure the safety of Europeans for generations. (AFP)

Here’s a look at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant 32 years later.

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