On April 26, 1986, a sudden and unexpected power surge during a systems test led to a reactor vessel rupturing at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.
This tragic accident resulted in a raging fire and steam explosions, leading to radioactive fallout over Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia for years. It is estimated that over 500,000 workers and residents have been affected, including 31 immediate deaths and numerous long-term health conditions, such as cancer.
In the nearest city of Pripyat, the rapid onset of coughing, headaches, radiation poisoning, severe illness, and death within 24 hours of the incident caused the authorities to order the immediate evacuation of everybody within a 10 km radius.
Today, Pripyat and the surrounding area is a shockingly eerie ghost town that has been almost untouched by humans, apart from those involved in the cleanup or evacuation, for almost 30 years.
To date, only a few intrepid photographers have bravely ventured into this spooky landscape, so here are 16 of their photos that show the amazing Chernobyl disaster radioactive abandoned vehicles.
These relics are left behind as a chilling reminder of history’s worst nuclear catastrophe.
1. Irradiated Helicopters and Vehicles at the Rassorva Vehicle Graveyard
Due to the massive contamination and radiation fallout, any vehicle used in the cleanup operation has to be stored in exclusion zones to await final disposal.
These vehicle graveyards are known as boneyards, and the largest is at Rassorva, some 25 km southwest from the Chernobyl power plant.
Fire trucks used in the initial fire in April 1986 are either buried in trenches or left to rot, along with helicopters, armored vehicles, and utility wagons.