“On April 26, 1986, a reactor at the plant, in the then Soviet Union, exploded and caught fire after a safety test went badly wrong. The blast sent radiation billowing across Europe.
At first, authorities denied there was a problem. But tens of thousands of inhabitants were evacuated from Prypyat, the town closest to the site, never to return. A 30 km exclusion zone is still in place around the town.
Local firefighters and other emergency workers went straight to the scene and in the ensuing days and weeks sought to bring the situation under control. Exposed to high levels of radiation, few of them are alive today.
At least 30 people were killed immediately but some put the eventual death toll from radiation exposure at tens or even hundreds of thousands.”
... and other nuclear accidents that remained secret for years:
“America’s worst accident at a civilian nuclear power plant occurred on March 28, 1979. Unbeknown to anyone, half the fuel melted in one of two nuclear reactors on Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pa. Large quantities of radioactivity leaked from the reactor, but most of it was contained. In all probability, no one received a harmful amount of radiation. The enormous damage to the reactor was revealed only years later when TV cameras and a specially developed ultrasonic, sonar-like imaging system looked inside the reactor vessel.”
Meanwhile, the huge problem of treating efficiently and safely radioactive wastes remains unsolved.
Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima and who knows how many others were covered by governments. Where will it end?