32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

On April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant, some 100 kilometers north of the capital Kiev, exploded during a botched safety test.

The reactor burned for 10 days, sending radioactive elements into the atmosphere that contaminated three-quarters of Europe, according to some estimates.

Soviet authorities tried to cover up the accident. Sweden was the first to raise the alarm after scientists detected a spike in radiation levels on April 28. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev did not make a public statement until May 14.

The number of deaths directly due to the accident is still a matter of debate, with estimates varying from around 30 to one hundred thousand.

In November 2016, a massive metal dome was erected over the remains of the reactor paid for with 2.1 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in international funding to stop future leaks and ensure the safety of Europeans for generations. (AFP)

Here’s a look at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant 32 years later.

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<p>An employee walks at the control center of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

An employee walks at the control center of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>A telephone is seen in a control center of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A telephone is seen in a control center of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>An employee measures the radiation level near a damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

An employee measures the radiation level near a damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>A control centre of the stopped third reactor is seen at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A control centre of the stopped third reactor is seen at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>An employee is seen in a pump room of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

An employee is seen in a pump room of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>A control panel is seen in a control centre of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A control panel is seen in a control centre of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>An employee walks through the corridor of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

An employee walks through the corridor of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>A worker checks the radiation level in the 3rd reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Friday, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/AP) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A worker checks the radiation level in the 3rd reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Friday, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

<p>A control panel is seen in a control centre of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A control panel is seen in a control centre of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>Workers in protective suits walk through a passage at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Friday, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/AP) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Workers in protective suits walk through a passage at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Friday, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

<p>A visitor holds a butterfly that was found in a pump room of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A visitor holds a butterfly that was found in a pump room of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>A water tanker sprays water on a road to prevent radioactive dust from being blown away in front of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A water tanker sprays water on a road to prevent radioactive dust from being blown away in front of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>Journalists walk through the corridor of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Journalists walk through the corridor of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>Workers sweep radioactive dust at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Workers sweep radioactive dust at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>An employee and journalists walk through the corridor of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

An employee and journalists walk through the corridor of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>A house is seen in the abandoned village of Zalesye near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A house is seen in the abandoned village of Zalesye near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>An employee measures the radiation level as journalists take pictures at a control center of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

An employee measures the radiation level as journalists take pictures at a control center of the stopped third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>Dogs are seen in front of a new Safe Confinement (NSC) structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Dogs are seen in front of a new Safe Confinement (NSC) structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 20, 2018. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

<p>A general view of the new Safe Confinement over the 4th block of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Ukraine, 20 April, 2018. (Photo: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A general view of the new Safe Confinement over the 4th block of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Ukraine, 20 April, 2018. (Photo: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

<p>A flower is placed at the memorial during a commemoration ceremony to honour victims of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 in Kiev, Ukraine, April 26, 2018. (Photo: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters) </p>
32nd anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A flower is placed at the memorial during a commemoration ceremony to honour victims of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 in Kiev, Ukraine, April 26, 2018. (Photo: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

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