It was a sunny day in April, and the people of Pripyat, Ukraine – then part of the Soviet Union – were going about their daily business. Somewhere in the city, a wedding was being celebrated. Elsewhere, fisherman waited patiently by the riverside.
None of them were aware that one of the worst nuclear disasters in history was under way, just nine miles away at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. An explosion had torn the roof from a reactor, releasing radioactive dust into the air and exposing the surrounding area to high levels of radiation.
Soon, people began to fall ill. They experienced headaches and found themselves suffering from fits of coughing and vomiting. Authorities reassured everyone that there was nothing to worry about, but the residents of the city began to panic.