Topics » Science & Technology   March 30, 2011

Photo Essay: Miles O'Brien Visits Deserted Town at Chernobyl

Chernobyl From 2 Miles

17 of 17

Photo: Catherine Buell

Basketball CourtMiles O'Brien and David WatersWrecked ShipsDay Care FacilityTown Not Fit For HumansBumper CarsRadiation detectorDollPapersMilk BottlesFuse BoxAbandoned Town of Pripyat StairwellCooling Pond OuthousePoolFerris WheelChernobyl From 2 Miles

Chernobyl From 2 Miles

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant from a bridge about 2 miles away. The molten wreckage of Reactor #4 is covered by a steel and concrete structure known as the "Sarcophagus." It was built in only six months and is now falling apart. Ukraine is asking the west for $800 million to build a new enclosure designed to last 100 years. Among the isotopes inside the building is Plutonium-239, which has a half-life of 24,000 years. This site -- and for that matter every nuclear power plant in the world -- will be radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. What sort of legacy are we leaving future generations of humans -- or whatever species succeeds us?

Watch Miles O'Brien's report on his trip to Chernobyl.