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(chĭrnō`byēl), Ukr. Chornobyl, abandoned city, N Ukraine, near the Belarus border, on the Pripyat River. Ten miles (16 km) to the north, in the town of Pripyat, is the Chernobyl nuclear power station, site of the worst nuclear reactor disaster in history. On Apr. 25, 1986, during an unauthorized test of one of the plant's four reactors, engineers initiated an uncontrolled chain reaction in the core of the reactor after disabling emergency backup systems. On Apr. 26, an explosion ripped the top off the containment building, expelling radioactive material into the atmosphere; more was released in the subsequent fire. Only after Swedish instruments detected fallout from the explosion did Soviet authorities admit that an accident had occurred. The reactor core was sealed off by air-dropping a cement mixture, but not before eight tons of radioactive material had escaped. Subsequently, the damaged reactor building was enclosed in a concrete and steel "sacrophagus," a massive structure that was constructed around it.

Twenty firefighters died immediately from overexposure to radioactivity, while hundreds suffered from severe radiation sickness. Pripyat, Chernobyl, and nearby towns were evacuated. People who lived near the plant in Ukraine and Belarus at the time have seen a greatly increased incidence of thyroid cancer, and genetic mutations have been discovered in children later born to exposed parents. Nearly all thyroid cancer cases, however, were successfully treated. Ukraine has estimated that some 4,400 people died as a result of the accident and during its cleanup, but a 2005 report prepared by several UN agencies and regional governments indicated that some 50 deaths were directly attributable to radiation from the disaster and an estimated 4,000 deaths might ultimately result from it, mainly due to higher cancer rates. That prediction was challenged the following year by a Greenpeace report that said more than 90,000 deaths might result, roughly half of which would be due to conditions other than cancer. The agricultural economies of E and N Europe were temporarily devastated, as farm products were contaminated by fallout. One Chernobyl reactor remained in operation until Dec., 2000, when the complex was shut down.

An exclusion zone encompassing the areas of highest radiation and including some 1,000 sq mi (2,600 sq km) was ultimately established, but many population centers outside the area were also abandoned. More than 90,000 people were relocated, though a few illegally returned. Wildlife in the area, however, has reestablished itself, flourishing to some degree in the absence of human activity. In 2016 a new confinement structure was placed over the entombed reactor.


See S. Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl (2005).



a city (since 1841) and administrative center of Chernobyl’ Raion, Kiev Oblast, Ukrainian SSR. Situated on the Pripiat’ River, 18 km from the Ianov railroad station on the Chernigov-Ovruch line. Chernobyl’, a river landing, has an iron foundry, a cheese plant, a ship-repair dock, and a workshop of an artistic production association. The city has a medical school.


a town in N Ukraine; site of a nuclear power station accident in 1986
References in periodicals archive ?
Black Grass arrived in the UK with wheat and barley during the Bronze Age but was not considered to be a major weed until the late 1980s.
The meeting paid particular attention to black grass resistance problems and how important cultural control now is in the fight against the weed.
FOR a jungle theme of hostas, spiky yukka and black grass, the key is rapid summer growth - so enrich the soil with well-rotted manure or compost before you plant.
The black grass Ophiopogon Nirescens (above) is a good partner for the white and red spiny stems of Rubus thibetamus (silver fern).
Here Lyn and Peter use strap-leaved black grass, Ophiopogon Nigrescens, to contrast with the silver-grey succulent rosettes of echiveras - a combination which would work just as well in a shallow pot on the patio.
For a stylish contemporary look, go for a monochrome scheme by partnering stachys with a black grass called Ophiopogon Nigrescens.
The black grass, ophiopogon, black bamboo and black phormiums were used in the Garden of Night by Capel Manor College and the Longacres Landscape teams Yin and Yang garden for dramatic effect.
Great plants that make a striking statement are the black grass or Ophiopogon Nig rescens, and Viola Bowles Black.
THE deep foliage colour of the black grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens, makes a striking contrast to the bright flowers of Rudbeckia hirta Toto and soft green fronds of the fern.
GIVE a boring gravel bed a new image with a collection of blue glazed pots packed with spiky-leaved plants such as the purple flax, Phormium Purpureum, variegated yucca Golden Sword and the black grass Ophiopogon Nigrenscens.
Plant orange- coloured tulips in between clumps of the grassy-leaved bronze carex to re-fuel the tired embers of a winter display and pack a punch in your patio pots with yellow tulips poking through the black grass Ophiopogon Nigrescens.
The year's "in" colour promises to be black so give your patio a trendy look with light-coloured pots filled with black grass.