This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. At 1:23am on April 26th, 1986, operators in the control room of Reactor #4 botched a routine safety test, resulting in an explosion, and a fire that burned for 10 days. The radioactive fallout spread over tens of thousands of square miles, driving more than a quarter of a million people permanently from their homes. It remains the world’s worst nuclear disaster to date.
Since 1993, renowned National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig has visited the site several times, creating an in-depth look at the many consequences of tragedy. The thawing of bureaucratic barriers in Ukraine enabled him to move freely within the Exclusion Zone and delve deeper into contaminated reactor than any other Western still photographer. “I know that my explorations are not without personal risk. However,” he says, “I do this on behalf of otherwise voiceless victims who allow me to expose their suffering solely in the hope that tragedies like Chernobyl may be prevented in the future.”
Read more from the Huffington Post here.