Atomic Deserts A Survey of the World's Radioactive No-Go Zones
Part 4: Uninhabitable to This Day
The Soviet authorities tried to cover up the incident for as long as possible. On the morning after the explosion, area residents were requested to stay indoors and to keep their windows closed. One day later, all 50,000 residents of Pripyat were evacuated. They were told they would be able to return home after three days, but they were never allowed back.
It was weeks before the full extent of the disaster became known outside of the Soviet Union as radioactivity reached large parts of Europe. An exclusion zone was set up prohibiting entry into an area 30 kilometers on all sides of the stricken reactor. Some say that as many as 110,000 people lost their lives with hundreds of thousands more still suffering from the effects of the radiation, but other estimates are much lower. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in 2006 that fewer than 50 people died from initial exposure to radiation from the reactor. At the scene of the accident, radiation exposure is still 700 times higher than permissible levels, and Pripyat remains uninhabitable.
- Part 1: A Survey of the World's Radioactive No-Go Zones
- Part 2: A New Age Dawns
- Part 3: 'Now I Am Become Death'
- Part 4: Uninhabitable to This Day
- Part 5: The Radioactive Dilemma
- Part 6: Unrelenting Bombardment
- Part 7: A Deadly Legacy
- Part 8: A Nuclear No Man's Land
- Part 9: Unfathomable Destruction
- Part 10: Long-Term Effects
- Part 11: The Irradiated Buddha
- Part 12: Underground Time Bomb
- Part 13: The First Big Accident
- Part 14: The Desert Rats
- Part 15: An Ill-Advised Test
- Part 16: Mushroom Clouds in the South Pacific
- Part 17: Dangerous Negligence
- Part 18: Hydrogen Drama in Spain
- Part 19: Harrisburg Horror
- Part 20: The Unknown Catastrophe