A few years ago I did a good bit of reading about it, and it really is a very sad story. Pripyat, the town near where the Chernobyl reactors were located was a relatively new community, reduced to a ghost town because of the disaster. Can you imagine being told to evacuate, but that you would be allowed to return, only to find out days later that you could never return? Everything you left behind was going to be there for all eternity (unless some daring looters decided to try to enter). What is worse is that most of the people living there were already suffering from radiation poisoning by the time they were evacuated. Statistics show that the area will not be safe for human inhabitants for 900 years! You can take tours of the area with a guide equipped with a Geiger counter--not so sure I'd feel very safe in a lot of ways.
The photos of the town now are very sad, remaining remants of the community that used to be there scattered around. The one that always fascinated me was of the ferris wheel in the park in Pripyat that was supposed to open just days after the accident. If you go to Google Earth and enter Pripyat, you can see the ferris wheel.
Photo courtesy of Yahoo
I think of the many nuclear reactors we have in this country and what kind of impact an accident like this would have here. Japan experienced a tragedy of similar magnitude with one of their reactors after a major earthquake devastated the area. With the recent accident in Texas involving a fertilizer plant, perhaps we all need to be aware of the everyday dangers we live near and be more prepared. We all worry about terrorism being an emminent threat, but do you stop and think about simpler things that you drive by daily as a potential danger? Do you and your family have an emergency plan? I don't think we need to live in constant fear, but at least having a gameplan in the event of an emergency is not a bad idea.
Have a great weekend!