CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR POWER STATION, Ukraine — For the visitor, Chernobyl makes heavy demands on the imagination – much of what’s important can be seen only in the mind’s eye.
From the outside, the building where a reactor blew up April 26, 1986, in the world’s worst nuclear disaster mostly looks like an ordinary, dull industrial building. Only an odd addition supported by buttresses – the sarcophagus covering the reactor – hints that anything unusual happened here.
The imagination struggles, too, to repopulate nearby Pripyat with the 50,000 people who lived there. Once a busy town built especially for the plant’s workers, it’s now a silent husk of abandoned apartment towers and scrubby brush slowly overtaking the main square.