Thursday, March 8, 2012

Nuclear ghost town: Wasteland that was once a thriving city of 50,000 before the Chernobyl disaster

They could be images from a post-apocalyptic horror film - haunting photographs of a once-busy city now hanging in time.

But this urban centre - totally empty of people and even with an abandoned amusement park - is a real place.

Pripyat, in Ukraine, once housed thousands of families of men and women working at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

But on April 26, 1986 disaster struck - when an explosion at the plant caused radiation to leak from a nuclear reactor.

The 50,000 residents of Pripyat - now a ghost town - were evacuated in a major government operation starting the day after the catastrophe, on April 27.

The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles, crippling the Soviet economy. Read More