Chernobyl: Eight Years After

Reactors are Still There–and Getting Worse

April 24, 1994 will mark eight years since Reactor Four at the Chernobyl atomic power complex in the Ukraine blew up, heaving 50 tons of radioactive materials into the sky. But unlike natural disasters, this one isn’t healing.

After the incident, 650,00 workers, called “liquidators,” built a concrete shell or “sarcophagus” around the destroyed reactor. Working fast under highly radioactive conditions, they did a sloppy job. Rainwater now trickles in through the cracks and vents, where it dissolves radionuclides(radioactive atoms), then seeps into the ground.