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Thirty Years After Chernobyl, Inside The Exclusion Zone

It’s been 30 years since the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. The accident forced the evacuation of thousands of people from about 1,000 square miles around the power plant. Construction of a huge steel shield, which is scheduled to be moved over the damaged reactor next year, is almost complete. The shield is supposed to better contain radioactive material for at least 100 years.

Until about five years ago, very few people were allowed into the exclusion zone. But in 2011, authorities opened parts of the zone up to scientists, journalists, and writers. Here & Now‘s Robin Young spoke with one of the first people to visit Chernobyl, Henry Shukman, who wrote about his trip for Outside Magazine.

This interview originally aired on March 14, 2011.

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Ferris wheel from a theme park in teh Pripyat amusement park, which was about to open before the Chernobyl accident. (Rory Carnegie)
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Ferris wheel from a theme park in teh Pripyat amusement park, which was about to open before the Chernobyl accident. (Rory Carnegie)