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32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

An employee walks at the 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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