On this day: April 26

Published On: Apr 25 2013 10:18:08 AM CDT   Updated On: Apr 26 2013 01:00:00 AM CDT

English settlers make their first landing in North America, John Wilkes Booth is shot and killed, an explosion rocks the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, and Lucille Ball dies, all on this day.

OTD April 26 - Chernobyl
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Reuters

1986: An explosion and fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union releases large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, creating the world's worst nuclear disaster. The nuclear accident is one of only two classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Even after the disaster, the plant continued to operate, with the damaged reactor sealed off, until 2000. An area extending 19 miles in all directions from the plant is known as the "zone of alienation" and is largely uninhabited. Ukrainian officials estimate the area will not be safe for human life again for another 20,000 years. Although the official death toll released by the Soviet Union was about 30 people, many more were sickened and died from health issues related to radiation exposure. Between 1992 and 2002, more than 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer cases were diagnosed among Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian children living in the fallout zone, according to Time magazine.

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