Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant - Ukraine, Soviet Union
(Photo Credit: Associated Press)
In this Nov. 10, 2000 file photo, the control room with its damaged machinery is seen inside reactor No. 4 in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Geiger counters registered about 80,000 microroentgens an hour, 16,000 times the safe limit. Reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, exploded on April 26, 1986, sending a cloud of radiation over much of Europe. Around 200 people died after a ruptured reactor vessel and fire caused an explosion, resulting in the release into the environment of radioactive materials. Researchers tracking an increase in the number of thyroid cancer cases in the region believe the rise is related to the Chernobyl accident. However, the long-term health impact on local residents is still unclear and experts believe it will take years to quantify.