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Chernobyl: Frozen in Time
by Gabriel Romero
Published December 2023
On April 26, 1986, the world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred in reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Northern Ukraine, then known as the Ukrainian SSR of the Soviet Union. The fallout from the explosion and subsequent meltdown released radioactive contamination across Ukraine, neighboring Belarus, Russia and Northern and Eastern Europe. However, there was measurable contamination detected worldwide. Officially, 31 people are known to have died directly from the disaster, unofficially the long-term effects of radiation poisoning have led to the deaths of thousands. The nearby city of Pripyat, with a population of approximately 50,000 inhabitants was evacuated in the days and weeks to come. Pripyat was a city that housed the families of the workers of the nuclear power plant. It was a functioning city like any other. There were homes, shops, schools and even an amusement park that was scheduled to open on May 1, 1986. Five days before the park was set to open, the disaster occurred and the park was never used. The legacy of Chernobyl is a lesson to the world on the responsible use of nuclear power.
Gabriel Romero is a Photojournalist based in Los Angeles, California. He specializes in national and international news in the areas of conflict, political, and humanitarian coverage. His work has been awarded and exhibited across the world. Most recently, he has focused on Ukraine, as well as the Middle East and Latin America.