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PHOTOS: Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

Last updated on: April 26, 2011 11:50 IST

Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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At 1:23 am on April 26, 1986, a botched routine safety test at the control room of Reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power facility led to an explosion and a fire that burned for 10 days.

The infamous nuclear accident devastated the lives of millions of people in Western Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine. 25 years on, and the nightmare for thousands of people is still frightening

The radioactive fallout spread over tens of thousands of square miles, driving more than a quarter of a million people permanently from their homes. It remains the world's worst nuclear disaster to date.

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Image: A view of the control centre of the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant
Photographs: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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A raven stretches its wings as it sits on a post inside the 30 km exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor near the village of Babchin, some 370 km southeast of Minsk. The sign reads 'Radiation hazard'


Photographs: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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Toys and gas masks are seen in a kindergarden in the abandoned town of Pripyat in the 30 km exclusion zone around the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant


Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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An interior view of a building in the abandoned city of Prypiat near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant


Photographs: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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Wild plants grow through widows of an abandoned house in the 30 km exclusion zone around the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant


Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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A painting of a girl decorates an empty building in the abandoned town of Pripyat


Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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A view of an amusement park in the centre of the abandoned town of Pripyat

Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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Anya Savenok, 9, who was born physically affected due to high radiation, plays in her home in the village of Strakholissya, just outside the 30 km exclusion zone around the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant


Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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A man buys a bottle of wine from a mobile shop in the almost abandoned village of Rudnoe, near the 30 km exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor


Photographs: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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A worker measures radiation levels at a cemetery near the village of Rossokha for contaminated equipment used during the Chernobyl catastrophe inside the 30 km exclusion zone around the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant


Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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Beds and toys are seen in a kindergarten in Ukraine's ghost town of Pripyat


Photographs: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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A worker feeds bisons at the state radiation ecology reserve in the 30 km exclusion zone


Photographs: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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A cross is seen in the abandoned city of Prypiat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine


Photographs: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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Newspapers from March 1986 with a picture of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin are seen in an empty building in the abandoned town of Pripyat


Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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View through the broken window of an abandoned home in Chernobyl inside the 30-km exclusion zone


Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
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Chernobyl, 25 years since nightmare began

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A Ukrainian man carries his X-Ray image in a hospital in Ivankov near the 30 km exclusion zone


Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
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People buy food at a mobile shop near the Belarussian village of Novosyolki, just outside of the 30 km exclusion zone


Photographs: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
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