Striking images of the Chernobyl disaster

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The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the largest man-made disaster in human history, occurred 25 years ago. These photographs by APN photo correspondent Igor Kostin offer a glimpse of the disaster as it was unfolding.

The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the largest man-made disaster in human history, occurred 25 years ago. These photographs by APN photo correspondent Igor Kostin offer a glimpse of the disaster as it was unfolding.  

© RIA Novosti . Igor Kostin  / Go to the photo bankDmitry Dmitriyev, a radiation exposure inspector in the clean-up operation, during rare minutes of rest. This image was published around the world, becoming a symbol of the clean-up workers’ heavy burden.
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Dmitry Dmitriyev, a radiation exposure inspector in the clean-up operation, during rare minutes of rest. This image was published around the world, becoming a symbol of the clean-up workers’ heavy burden.
© RIA Novosti . Igor Kostin  / Go to the photo bankThe explosion at reactor four scattered radioactive debris in a large area around the unit, especially the roof of neighboring reactor three. The conscripts who had to clean the roof were given the nickname “biorobots.”
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The explosion at reactor four scattered radioactive debris in a large area around the unit, especially the roof of neighboring reactor three. The conscripts who had to clean the roof were given the nickname “biorobots.”
© RIA Novosti . Igor Kostin  / Go to the photo bankBiorobots ran up onto the roof in shifts of 20 to 40 seconds. During this short interval, they had to grab a fragment and throw it back into the mouth of the wrecked fourth reactor.
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Biorobots ran up onto the roof in shifts of 20 to 40 seconds. During this short interval, they had to grab a fragment and throw it back into the mouth of the wrecked fourth reactor.
© RIA Novosti . Igor Kostin  / Go to the photo bankThe situation at the plant was monitored several times a day by helicopter. This image won the World Press Photo award in 1987.
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The situation at the plant was monitored several times a day by helicopter. This image won the World Press Photo award in 1987.
© RIA Novosti . Igor Kostin  / Go to the photo bankRadiation inspectors in special outfits monitored radiation levels in the fields around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
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Radiation inspectors in special outfits monitored radiation levels in the fields around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
© Photo : Igor Kostin Clean-up workers heading into the contaminated area. From the photo album “Chernobyl: Confession of a Reporter” by Igor Kostin.
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Clean-up workers heading into the contaminated area. From the photo album “Chernobyl: Confession of a Reporter” by Igor Kostin.
© Photo : Igor Kostin Putting their health at risk, clean-up workers spent hours collecting debris and throwing it back into the wrecked reactor, which was later covered with a sarcophagus. Vehicles were covered with lead plates to provide some protection from the radiation. One of the clean-up workers wrote his wife’s name on his vehicle. “It’s easier for me to go to my death with this name,” he said.
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Putting their health at risk, clean-up workers spent hours collecting debris and throwing it back into the wrecked reactor, which was later covered with a sarcophagus. Vehicles were covered with lead plates to provide some protection from the radiation. One of the clean-up workers wrote his wife’s name on his vehicle. “It’s easier for me to go to my death with this name,” he said.
© Photo : Igor Kostin The wreckage of reactor four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant viewed from the roof of reactor three. From the photo album “Chernobyl: Confession of a Reporter” by Igor Kostin.
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The wreckage of reactor four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant viewed from the roof of reactor three. From the photo album “Chernobyl: Confession of a Reporter” by Igor Kostin.
© Photo : Igor Kostin Treating victims of radiation poisoning. From the photo album “Chernobyl: Confession of a Reporter” by Igor Kostin.
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Treating victims of radiation poisoning. From the photo album “Chernobyl: Confession of a Reporter” by Igor Kostin.
© Photo : Igor Kostin People who refused to leave the so-called exclusion zone around Chernobyl were referred to as “self-settlers.” From the photo album “Chernobyl: Confession of a Reporter” by Igor Kostin.
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People who refused to leave the so-called exclusion zone around Chernobyl were referred to as “self-settlers.” From the photo album “Chernobyl: Confession of a Reporter” by Igor Kostin.
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