01-05-2023 15:00

Wednesday, April 26 marked 37 years since Chernobyl, the world’s worst nuclear disaster which brought death, misery, and radioactive contamination to a swathe of Eastern Europe.

Chernobyl is located around 100 kilometers north of Kyiv. The disaster in then-Soviet Ukraine sent clouds of nuclear material across much of Europe after a botched safety test in the fourth reactor of the nuclear plant. The accident killed 31 people instantly and forced tens of thousands to flee. Up to 115,000 people are thought to have died of radiation-related illnesses such as cancer. However, estimates vary.

On Wednesday, survivors and dignitaries marked the 37th anniversary with a candlelight vigil. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Russia was using nuclear power plants to blackmail the world. On the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its troops took over Chernobyl after entering from Belarus, and they spent a month at the power plant before withdrawing.

The site hasn’t been in activity since 2000.

Difficult words: swathe (a broad strip or area of something), botched (done badly), dignitary (a person of high rank or office).

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