Gotta Watch: Life after Chernobyl
A ferris wheel chair sits untouched since the disaster at Chernobyl in 1986.
March 17th, 2011
11:51 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Life after Chernobyl

The last time the world was threatened by nuclear disaster was in 1986. The world was brought to its knees when a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. This brought to light the extreme dangers of modern science and caused scientists and lawmakers to re-evaluate the use of nuclear energy.


'20th century science gone wrong' – In 2006, CNN's Matthew Chance visited Chernobyl, 20 years after the nuclear explosion. Time stands still in the nearby town of Pripyat, where plant workers lived before the explosion. They were told they could come back after three days, but obviously never did.

1986: After the explosion – This video shows the enormity of the destruction just months after the explosion.

'Don't stand on the moss' – A journalist tells his story of what Chernobyl was like during his visit in 2008. Even 22 years after the event, a guide warns him not to stand on the moss because of the high levels of radiation.


Filed under: Gotta Watch
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. banasy

    @My peeps:
    I'm not upset; I don't care! No worries! 😉

    March 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Serge

    To CNN – Why do you not mention or report on the wost nuclear disaster to ever happen was here in Los Angeles. And it is still not cleaned up. The Santa Susana Sodium Reactor. It's funny how no one ever talks or reports about it.
    I do live in Los Angeles.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_Reactor_Experiment
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Susana_Field_Laboratory#Sodium_reactor_experiment

    March 17, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • GFreemanPHD

      I just read your wikipedia reference and conclude that this was a minor incident resulting in no significant exposures to the of site population. The provably false claim by Mr. Hirsch calling the July, 1959 event “one of the worst nuclear accidents in nuclear history” and the government “covered up the seriousness of the accident, has cause the wasteful spending of $41.5 million in useless clean up.

      March 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RAMBLE3144

    Boring report.

    March 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ME

    Really, CNN. The world was "brought to its knees" by Chernobyl? Hyperbole much?

    March 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Peter E

    Thousands of coal miners die directly from mine accidents every year worldwide, and tens of thousands more die prematurely at about the age of 50 due to black lung disease.
    And yet people are not horrified by the dangers of coal power. They are horrified that Chernobyl caused 3 dozen deaths on the scene, a few dozen more soon after, and according to official international estimates may cause the premature deaths of up to 35,000 people (mostly from the army that was sent there to clean up)
    But then again, people aren't afraid of driving drunk. They are afraid of sharks. And the media keeps pushing shark week each year! Not the horrors of the deaths caused by drunk driving!

    March 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Who cares about nuclear power! We want Sarah Palin stories! CNN, where is your girlfriend! We miss her sooo much...

    March 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pronuke

    Hey Ashley Williams. Sorry to correct you but radiation is NOT safe. Time distance and sheilding help to mitigate the risk. To say it is safe is incorrect.

    March 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shebrez

      Pay attention – Ashley said nuclear power is safe NOT radiation

      March 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • GFreemanPHD

      What do you mean by the word "Safe"?
      safe
      adj 1: free from danger or the risk of harm; "a safe trip"; "you
      will be safe here"; "a safe place"; "a safe bet"

      If you mean absolute zero risk then nothing is safe (Crossing the street would be an unsafe act). If you mean the YOU expect no harm will come to you as result of your exposure to radiation then yes for YOU radiation is not safe because you expect harm. But if you mean the it is far more likely that you will NOT be harmed than be harmed as a result of your exposure then any reasonable person would call that exposure safe.

      March 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DaveDoesDallas

    what we SHOULD do is make a HUGE dam from Miami to Candin Mexico. A multinational project that could produce hydro electricity!

    March 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • maary

      And even while you speak the environmentalists are waging war on 'every' dam in the USA ....Why? Because "they are not natural"..
      WE better wake up and stop being stupid, and fight back.. They are ripping them out and with the money to back them, they are winning...
      One day we will need the water..We need the energy..
      Nuclear energy has to go..No two ways about it..
      Not the dam's.

      March 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveDoesDallas

      Hydro electricity is clean I think and a hydro plant that huge would generate massive power im sure

      March 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mon

    That picture of a doll's head makes me cry. A little girl got it to play with it, it was most likely her only doll and she had to leave it behind.

    March 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Maria

    What I find very interesting is that there are wild animals living in the area, apparently unharmed. Go and do search on Youtube.

    March 17, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • maary

      It's still a Big deal if an animal has a different hair pattern or if most their offspring don't survive..How do we know the effects on them internally..
      How they think, feel or function..
      Radiation has long term effects...And they are not all noticeable. And just becuase a few animals seem unharmed, means nothing.. Many survivors of Hiroshima are still paying and so are their off spring..
      Nuclear energy is a fools game.. Until we have one fail safe end to a situation like what is happening now.. We are not capable of dealing with it.. It's not some thing we have mastered.. And far to dangerous to keep playing with.

      March 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • GFreemanPHD

      The current level of radiation in the area does not cause acute injury or death. Any long term effects only affect a small segment of any animal or human population that lives in the area. For animals the greatest threat is man, so when you eliminate people from the area you see a thriving animal population.

      March 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maria

      Watch the youtube video(s). It says that the devastation predicted never happened. It has become an animal sanctuary. And those bears and cats look (born wild) pretty healthy to me.

      March 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Maria

    Chernobyl Reclaimed: An Animal Takeover pt 1-4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-UOHn9PvJ0&feature=related

    Watch this! It is fascinating!

    March 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maria

      This is part 1, go and search Youtube for Part 2,3,4.

      March 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ed Bailey

    Rush limbaugh a liberal hey. And Hannity is his lover!! Those small nuke generators were sensible except for the numerous security issues. Bin laden would glow with joy!

    March 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ron

    BOO !!!! How many of you idiots jumed up on the couch? At this stage in our evolution, nuclear power is the best source of energy for our planet. Throughout time man has had to journey into the night to find remedies and technology that will benefit man kind. their have always, and will always be accidents that cause deaths from new technologies.
    live with it !!! Do you want to live forever????

    March 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • maary

      What a totally lame thing to say.
      Life doesn't last forever..But having a quality existence does matter..
      Yeah, we all die.. But we also all deserve a decent life..
      Radiation is destructive to the quality of life.. Just let it effect YOU..or your children.. Then you might understand that being able to flip on a light switch seems much less important.. And the trade off isn't worth it.

      March 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • GFreemanPHD

      Worldwide it was estimated in 2004 that 1.2 million people were killed (2.2% of all deaths) and 50 million more were injured in motor vehicle collisions.
      Why are nuclear accidents intolerable while car accidents are accepted as normal risk of life?
      One reason is the systemic effects. When someone dies from a power nuclear reactor accident (or a major terrorist attack) the societal economic effects are immediate, server, and long lasting. This is not the case when someone dies in a car accident. For this reason technologies with have the potential to cause systemic effects have to be adopted with greater caution.

      March 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Vivian

    It's always great to be reminded of the ignorance of the American people...talking about COD...REALLY PEOPLE? Really? No matter how poorly written the article is, a VIDEO GAME is all that you can think of when you think of Cernobyl? Not of all the people who died either right after the accident or in the following years, not of all the kids borned with birth defects, not of the damage to the environment? This was indeed human error and the Soviet Union certainly had its blame, but it doesn't change the fact that explosion affected the life and caused the death of thousands of innocent people. Now go back to play COD you morons!!!!

    March 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
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