Chernobyl: A Story in Pictures

Question: Let’s say you order up a highly experimental nuclear test, and let’s take that one step further and assume that within minutes of starting the test, you’ve caused a disaster that could affect nearly a third of the world’s population. What do you do?

If you’re Russia, you sweep it under the rug. During the night of April 26, 1986, Russian nuclear officials created the exact scenario described above with the Chernobyl disaster. Although a robust 600,000 brave (ignorant?) souls, also referred to as “liquidators,” assisted in the cleanup operation, the Russian government elected not to inform people in affected areas of the potential dangers of exposure to radiation. Twenty years later, the effects are beyond tangible – many people’s lives have been both defined and destroyed by this terrible disaster.

How bad is this stuff? Check this out:

  • Out of the 600,000 liquidators, 31 died almost immediately because of the exposure, and another 2200 are predicted to die of causes stemming directly from radiation exposure.
  • Thyroid cancer runs rampant in contaminated areas of Belarus, appearing at rates that are so far outside of the normal statistical distribution that it’s ridiculous.
  • Three out of four children in heavily affected areas of Belarus are born unhealthy.
  • Even now, tumors and mutations are appearing in the offspring of those affected. Scientists believe that this will continue to be the case in later generations.

The above info comes from the powerful memorial from Pixel Press. Check it out, and be sure to read the captions on each of the pictures. If you’re not brutally offended and freaked out by the end, something’s dead wrong!