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Revisiting Chernobyl After Twenty-eight Years

The tensions between Russia and Ukraine have begun complicating the ongoing cleanup at the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters. Removing spent fuel and other highly radioactive materials will take decades and cost many more billions of dollars, a tremendous financial burden for Ukraine.
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VOA's videographer Arash Arabasadi and correspondent Steve Herman (holding a radiation monitor) in front of the old sarcophagus covering Chernobyl Reactor No. 4. (Arash Arabasadi/VOA)
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VOA's videographer Arash Arabasadi and correspondent Steve Herman (holding a radiation monitor) in front of the old sarcophagus covering Chernobyl Reactor No. 4. (Arash Arabasadi/VOA)

A cashier uses an abacus at one of the few commercial establishments inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. (Steve Herman/VOA)
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A cashier uses an abacus at one of the few commercial establishments inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. (Steve Herman/VOA)

A monument commemorating permanently evacuated towns and villages inside the exclusion zone. (Steve Herman/VOA)
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A monument commemorating permanently evacuated towns and villages inside the exclusion zone. (Steve Herman/VOA)

A monument in front of a Chernobyl fire station to the 32 firefighters who died responding to the explosion at Reactor No. 4. (Steve Herman/VOA)
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A monument in front of a Chernobyl fire station to the 32 firefighters who died responding to the explosion at Reactor No. 4. (Steve Herman/VOA)

Remote control equipment used at Chernobyl after the reactor explosion. Much of it ceased to function because the high radioactivity levels made electronic circuits inoperable. (Steve Herman/VOA)
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Remote control equipment used at Chernobyl after the reactor explosion. Much of it ceased to function because the high radioactivity levels made electronic circuits inoperable. (Steve Herman/VOA)

Ivan Semenuk, 78, has illegally returned to his home in the village of Paryshiv in the exclusion zone. (Steve Herman/VOA)
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Ivan Semenuk, 78, has illegally returned to his home in the village of Paryshiv in the exclusion zone. (Steve Herman/VOA)

Driver Igor Bordnarch, a frequent visitor to the Chernobyl reactor site, checks radiation readings just 240 meters from the destroyed reactor. (Steve Herman/VOA)
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Driver Igor Bordnarch, a frequent visitor to the Chernobyl reactor site, checks radiation readings just 240 meters from the destroyed reactor. (Steve Herman/VOA)

Nature has mostly taken back most of the villages inside the exclusion zone. (Steve Herman/VOA)
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Nature has mostly taken back most of the villages inside the exclusion zone. (Steve Herman/VOA)

An unusually high radiation reading of about 172 micro-sieverts per hour over some vegetation on the ground of the Pripyat amusement park. (Steve Herman/VOA)
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An unusually high radiation reading of about 172 micro-sieverts per hour over some vegetation on the ground of the Pripyat amusement park. (Steve Herman/VOA)

A rusting ride for children in the highly radioactive abandoned amusement park in Pripyat. (Steve Herman/VOA)
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A rusting ride for children in the highly radioactive abandoned amusement park in Pripyat. (Steve Herman/VOA)

The entrance to the restricted Chernobyl zone, in which no one, on the Ukrainian side, is allowed to live within 30 kilometers of the destroyed nuclear reactor. (Arash Arabasadi/VOA)
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The entrance to the restricted Chernobyl zone, in which no one, on the Ukrainian side, is allowed to live within 30 kilometers of the destroyed nuclear reactor. (Arash Arabasadi/VOA)

The Ferris wheel in the Pripyat amusement park, now an iconic symbol to a younger generation born after the Chernobyl disaster, thanks to its inclusion in the video game: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
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The Ferris wheel in the Pripyat amusement park, now an iconic symbol to a younger generation born after the Chernobyl disaster, thanks to its inclusion in the video game: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

To exit the exclusion zone all persons must have their radiation level checked by an automated device. Here VOA correspondent Steve Herman gets the all clear. (Steve Herman/VOA)
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To exit the exclusion zone all persons must have their radiation level checked by an automated device. Here VOA correspondent Steve Herman gets the all clear. (Steve Herman/VOA)

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