Chilling Photos That Show The Aftermath Of The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

The 1986 Chernobyl disaster is the world’s worst nuclear power plant catastrophe to date. Chernobyl, a city in Ukraine that was under the control of the Soviet Union when the accident occurred, is still radioactively contaminated to this day and people are generally forbidden from coming within about 18 miles of the abandoned city. This forbidden area is known as the “exclusion zone,” and some have risked their health to photograph the radioactive city whose life stopped eerily in its tracks some 30 years ago.

  • A checkpoint stands on the edge of the exclusion zone.

    A checkpoint stands on the edge of the exclusion zone.

  • A Soviet-era statue still stands in the yard of an abandoned home.

    A Soviet-era statue still stands in the yard of an abandoned home.

  • The nuclear accident occurred in 1986, five years before the fall of the Soviet Union.

    The nuclear accident occurred in 1986, five years before the fall of the Soviet Union.

  • The nearby town of Pripyat was also abandoned after the accident.

    The nearby town of Pripyat was also abandoned after the accident.

  • Graffiti covers the abandoned control terminal inside the reactor building.

    Graffiti covers the abandoned control terminal inside the reactor building.

  • Most of the apartment buildings have been looted since the accident.

    Most of the apartment buildings have been looted since the accident.

  • Art covers some of the walls of the abandoned apartment buildings.

    Art covers some of the walls of the abandoned apartment buildings.

  • Nature claims most of these buildings now.

    Nature claims most of these buildings now.

  • Some older children actually went to class the morning after the explosion.

    Some older children actually went to class the morning after the explosion.

  • A gas mask lies on some concrete in an abandoned building.

    A gas mask lies on some concrete in an abandoned building.

  • Chernobyl's nuclear reactor is seen far off in the background.

    Chernobyl's nuclear reactor is seen far off in the background.

  • Many vehicles in the exclusion zone have been stripped of their engines and wiring.

    Many vehicles in the exclusion zone have been stripped of their engines and wiring.

  • Hundreds of Soviet-era vehicles lie abandoned.

    Hundreds of Soviet-era vehicles lie abandoned.

  • Commuter trains sit unmoved since the 1986 catastrophe.

    Commuter trains sit unmoved since the 1986 catastrophe.

  • Looters and scrappers risked their health for a few bits of machinery.

    Looters and scrappers risked their health for a few bits of machinery.

  • Scrappers even dismantled some of the military vehicles in the exclusion zone.

    Scrappers even dismantled some of the military vehicles in the exclusion zone.

  • The boats in the city's harbor are in disrepair and hardly float.

    The boats in the city's harbor are in disrepair and hardly float.

  • The same boats are seen here, trapped in ice.

    The same boats are seen here, trapped in ice.

  • An unusable military helicopter rests in a field.

    An unusable military helicopter rests in a field.

  • Encroaching trees and plants now grow in all areas of Chernobyl.

    Encroaching trees and plants now grow in all areas of Chernobyl.

  • This Ferris wheel was scheduled to open days after the accident.

    This Ferris wheel was scheduled to open days after the accident.

  • It was never used.

    It was never used.

  • Now it serves as an eerie reminder of the life that once filled the city.

    Now it serves as an eerie reminder of the life that once filled the city.

  • About 350,000 people were evacuated from the area after the catastrophe.

    About 350,000 people were evacuated from the area after the catastrophe.

  • Ultimately, the disaster cost about 30 lives and the equivalent of about $18 billion.

    Ultimately, the disaster cost about 30 lives and the equivalent of about $18 billion.

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