On the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded. During what was supposed to be routine testing and maintenance, operators made a series of errors that resulted in a massive explosion. At least 5 percent of the radioactive material from the core was pushed out into the atmosphere, distributing radiation for hundreds of miles and endangering the lives of thousands of people. The initial fires were extinguished within a few hours and nearby cities were evacuated within days, but the resulting nuclear fallout would cause health issues, death, and financial challenges for years to come.
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