Abandoned town of Pripiat, Ukraine View larger

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Abandoned town of Pripiat, Ukraine
Yann ARTHUS-BERTRAND

Art photography by Yann ARTHUS-BERTRAND of Pripiat, an abandoned town near the Chernobyl nuclear power station In Ukraine. On April, 26. 1986, one of the Chernobyl power station’s reactors exploded, caused the largest civilian nuclear disaster of all time with the dispersion of radioactive material to the confines of Europe.

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Orientation Landscape
Color White

Abandoned town of Pripiat, Ukraine

Yann ARTHUS-BERTRAND

Art photography by Yann ARTHUS-BERTRAND of Pripiat, an abandoned town near the Chernobyl nuclear power station In Ukraine. On April, 26. 1986, one of the Chernobyl power station’s reactors exploded, caused the largest civilian nuclear disaster of all time with the dispersion of radioactive material to the confines of Europe.

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On April 26 1986, one of the Chernobyl power station’s reactors in Ukraine exploded and caused the largest civilian nuclear disaster of all time with the dispersion of radioactive material to the confines of Europe. The one hundred and twenty surrounding localities like Pripiat (50.000 inhabitants), 2 miles (3 kilometers) away from the epicenter were evacuated a little late. The exact number of victims is still unknown but it is estimated that several million people are suffering from illnesses linked to radiation (malformations, cancers immune deficiencies…). In December 2000, the power station’s last reactor was stopped for good, in exchange for 2.3 billion dollars worth of Western aid to build two new nuclear power stations completed in 2004. Classified as a level 7 event, just like Chernobyl, on the International Nuclear Event Scale that goes from 1 to 7, being 7 the most serious one, the series of accidents that affected four reactors at Japanese Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, in March 2011, brought back the uncontrollable danger of nuclear energy. If the nuclea industry has the advantage of producing electricity emitting few greenhouse gases, it still has not resolved the problem of what to do with the long-lasting highly radioactive waste generated by the 435 reactors in operation in 2001, scattered over 35 countries. This waste is piling up in temporary storage facilities.

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