"We can neither expiate nor rectify
the mistakes and misery of that April.
The bowed shoulders of a conscience awakened
must bear the burden of torment for life.
It's impossible, believe me,
our pain for the lost home.
Pain will endure in the beating hearts
stamped by the memory of fear.
surrounded by prickly bitterness,
our puzzled town asks:
since it loves us
and forgives everything,
why was it abandoned forever?
On the 26th of April, 1986, operators in the control room of reactor #4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant committed a fatal series of errors during a safety test, triggering a reactor meltdown that resulted in the world’s largest nuclear accident to date.
Part of the mystery and terror of the Chernobyl disaster is the invisibility of the threat. The explosion at the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin nuclear power plant released more radiation than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and one might never know they were being poisoned until months, even years later. You don’t see it, you don’t feel it, you don’t smell it, you don’t taste it, but it’s there. It’s around you.
Chernobyl was evacuated soon after the disaster. The base of operations for the administration and monitoring of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was moved from Pripyat to Chernobyl. Chernobyl currently contains offices for the State Agency of Ukraine on the Exclusion Zone Management and accommodation for visitors. Apartment blocks have been re-purposed as accommodation for employees of the State Agency. Because of regulations implemented to limit exposure, workers in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone are limited in the number of days per week or weeks per month they stay in Chernobyl. Many types of animals live there now and the city has become overgrown. In fact, according to a census that was done over a long period of time, it is estimated that more mammals live there now than before the disaster.