Ukraine marks 30 years since chernobyl disaster

In the early hours of April 26, 1986, the No. 4 nuclear reactor exploded, sending a radioactive cloud into the air, which contaminated an area of over 60,000 square kilometers in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and some other European countries.

The disaster forced tens of thousands of people from their homes.

The latest anniversary of the nuclear accident has garnered extra attention due to the imminent completion of a giant 1.5 billion euros steel-clad arch that will enclose the stricken reactor site and prevent further leaks for the next 100 years.

Currently, the two most pressing technical tasks for Ukrainian nuclear experts are to make the destroyed No. 4 nuclear reactor environmentally safe and decommission three other units of the plant.

To deal with those tasks, Ukraine is erecting a protective cover over the collapsed nuclear power reactor and constructing the safe and secure storage for spent nuclear material from the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 units, which is required for the decommissioning of the plant.

The new facility is expected to be put into operation in 2017.

To date, Chernobyl is still thought to be the worst civic nuclear accident in human history.

The immediate death toll from the incident itself numbered 31, while thousands have since suffered radiation-related illnesses such as cancer and infant deformities.

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