Photos: The Price Of Chernobyl TweetShareGoogle+Email View Slideshow 1 of 9 The April 26, 1986, accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant created ghost towns in Ukraine. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from surrounding areas. Dozens of villages and properties remain empty, like this abandoned house, seen in 2006, in the deserted village of Redkova, about 22 miles from the plant. Sergey Ponomarev / AP View Slideshow 2 of 9 Ukrainian youngsters prepare a net for illegal fishing in contaminated waters in the village of Zorin, near the 19-mile exclusion zone around the Chernobyl plant, in 2006. The Chernobyl explosion spread a plume of radioactive smoke across thousands of square miles. Oded Balilty / AP View Slideshow 3 of 9 The Chernobyl power plant is still operational. Here, a worker waits on a train in Slavutich, Ukraine, on his way to the plant in 2006. After the 1986 accident, about 50,000 residents of the nearby city of Pripyat were evacuated. Slavutich, located about 37 miles from the plant, was built to house displaced workers and their families. Oded Balilty / AP View Slideshow 4 of 9 The control room of the damaged No. 4 reactor. Efrem Lukatsky / AP View Slideshow 5 of 9 Workers at the Chernobyl plant check their hands and feet for radioactive contamination at the end of the day before boarding the train home in 2009. Michael Forster Rothbart / AP View Slideshow 6 of 9 Viktor Gaidak with his wife, Lydia, in their apartment in the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine, in April 2007. Gaidak worked for 24 years as an engineer at the Chernobyl plant, including nine years after the accident. Here, he shows his scar from a 2004 surgery for colon cancer. Michael Forster Rothbart / AP View Slideshow 7 of 9 Zinayida Trofimivna Huzienko, 93, talks to her dog inside her home in the village of Ilintsi in 2006. She lives illegally inside the exclusion zone around Chernobyl. Scientists say the area around the plant will not be safe for human habitation for up to 900 years. Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images View Slideshow 8 of 9 Ivan Semenyuk, 75, and his wife, Maria, 73, stand outside their house in the largely abandoned village of Paryshiv, inside the exclusion zone, in March 2011. Sergei Supinksy / AFP/Getty Images View Slideshow 9 of 9 Ganna Zavorotnya, 78, carries her tools as she walks to her vegetable garden in Kupovate, inside the exclusion zone, in April 2011. Sergei Supinsky / AFP/Getty Images Originally published on May 23, 2012 11:57 am Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. TweetShareGoogle+EmailView the discussion thread.