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Look Back | Chernobyl, 30 years after nuclear power plant disaster

Thirty years ago, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine released far more radioactivity than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan did, forcing the resettlement of more than 350,000 people. Scientists estimate that the most dangerous radioactive elements will take up to 900 years to decay sufficiently to render the area safe.

(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

Untouched:A visitor touring the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant takes a photo through a window looking towards facilities that house Reactors Nos. 1 and 2.

(Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images)

Reactor No. 4: The sarcophagus of Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor 4 is seen on Jan. 25, 2006.

(Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images)

Abandoned preschool: Beds in an abandoned preschool in the deserted town of Pripyat, Ukraine, next to the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Pripyat, where plant workers lived, and the surrounding area will not be safe for human habitation for several centuries.

(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

Control room: A worker makes a phone call in the control room of Reactor No. 2 inside the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

Instrument panel: Instrument panels in the control room of Reactor No. 2 are nearly identical to those that were in the control room of Reactor No. 4, which blew up on April 26, 1986.

(Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images)

Swimming pool: A pair of flippers remains in a deserted swimming pool in the abandoned town of Pripyat, Ukraine.

(Sergei Supinsky / Getty Images)

Hotel room: Paint peels in a hotel in Pripyat, adjacent to the Chernobyl nuclear site.

(Sergei Supinsky / Getty Images)

Amusement park : An abandoned amusement park in the ghost town of Pripyat, where workers at the nuclear plant once lived.

(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

Memorial: Visitors photograph a memorial to worker Valery Khodemchuk at a wall that separates Reactors 3 and 4 inside the plant. Khodemchuk was a circulating-pump operator killed in the accident; his body remains entombed inside Reactor No. 4.

(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

Warning signs: A sign warns of radiation contamination and prohibits the picking of berries and mushrooms near Chachersk, Belarus. Chachersk, in southeastern Belarus, is in a zone still designated as contaminated with radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

Guided tour: Tourists on a guided tour snap photos of one another outside an abandoned shop and apartment building in Pripyat, Ukraine. Pripyat, built in the 1970s as a model Soviet city to house the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and their families, now stands abandoned inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

Screening: A worker applying for a job at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant prepares to undergo screening for radiation levels in his body at the National Research Center for Radiation Medicine, a hospital and research institute established in Kiev, Ukraine, after Chernobyl disaster.

(Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images)

Radiated: Highly radiated helicopters used to dump concrete and water on Reactor No. 4 during the 1986 catastrophe lay in a field near the Ukrainian village of Rosoha.

(Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images)

Nuclear hazard signs: Nuclear hazard signs are seen in the village of Kopachi, Ukraine. Kopachi was one of the many villages close to Chernobyl plant that were buried soon after the catastrophe to avoid further radioactive contamination.

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