Commemoration 30 years after the explosion of one reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

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1,838 square miles of land around the plant that had to be abandoned because of heavy radiation; about 600,000 people sent in to fight the fire and clean up the worst of the nuclear plant’s contamination, were all exposed to elevated radiation levels; about 350,000 people evacuated from the explosion area in the early days after the accident, including all the 45,000 residents of the plant workers’ city of Pripyat. The World Health Organization’s cancer research arm suggests 9,000 people will die due to Chernobyl-related cancer and leukemia if the deaths follow a similar pattern to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. The Greenpeace environmental group says the eventual Chernobyl death toll could be 90,000. Experts spoke of their experience and what challenges the region faces, including at the blast site.

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