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.
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.
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.
The No. 4 reactor is now encased in a sarcophagus designed to keep radioactive material isolated. The government of Ukraine is trying to raise funds for the construction of a huge new building that will cover the aging sarcophagus.
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.
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.