by J.B. Shurk
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (officially the Vladimir Lenin Nuclear Power Plant) in Ukraine lies just outside the abandoned town of Pripyat, about sixty miles north of Kyiv and ten miles from the southern border of Belarus. It is the site of the catastrophic 1986 nuclear accident that took the lives of hundreds from acute radiation syndrome, left unknown thousands with cancer, and poisoned the surrounding environment. It cost nearly a hundred billion dollars to contain, required over a half-million recovery workers to decontaminate the area, and killed or disabled a third of the Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Latvians, Estonians, and others involved in that cleanup. Those workers, as well as the surrounding populations, have all experienced increased rates of miscarriages, cancer, and life-threatening ailments. Had so many not sacrificed themselves to contain the fallout, however, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and much of Germany could have become uninhabitable for more than a century.