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80 miles north of Kiev in the Northern Ukraine is a town that prior to 1986, no-one had heard of.
Then on the 26 April 1986 the No 4 reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Northern Ukraine, overheated, exploded, then went in to meltdown. The world's worst nuclear accident released 190 tons of highly radioactive waste material into the atmosphere exposing the people of Chernobyl to radioactivity 90 times greater than that from the explosion of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus lies in the shadow of Chernobyl, the southern border being only 15 kilometres from the plant. The wind direction on the day of the disaster caused the majority of the fallout to be directed towards the Belarusian towns of Gomel and Mogilev. Of the radiation that was released by Chernobyl, over 70% fell onto the population of Belarus resulting in 800,000 children in Belarus and 380,000 in the Ukraine being at a high risk of developing cancer or leukemia. It will be another 24,000 years before the land is safe and the children no longer suffer.
These innocent children are the victims of a nuclear catastrophe that has left a legacy of radioactive contamination that will last for decades to come.
The New Safe Confinement (NSC or New Shelter) shown above, is a structure intended to contain the remains of the Power Plant, and the temporary "sarcophagus" built immediately after the disaster. The primary goal of the NSC is to prevent the reactor complex from leaking radioactive material into the environment and the secondary goal is to allow a future partial demolition of the old structure.