36th anniversary of Chornobyl's nuclear disaster

STORY: How did the Chornobyl nuclear disaster happen?

On April 26, 1986

the fourth reactor at the nuclear plant in then-Soviet Ukraine

exploded during a botched safety test

sending clouds of radiation across much of Europe and reaching the eastern U.S.

It was the world's worst nuclear accident that killed 31 people right away and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes

Up to 115,000 people are thought to have died of radiation-related illnesses such as cancer, though estimates vary

The defunct power plant is still surrounded by miles of radioactive land

Russian forces occupied Chornobyl

soon after invading Ukraine on February 24, 2022

but left on March 31

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