In 1986, the world was shown what would happen in the event of a massive failure at a nuclear power plant when Chernobyl suffered a critical failure in Reactor 4 during a safety inspection. I was 5 and don’t remember it happening. But it’s terribly hard to get a history degree without learning about it (especially when your degree is 20th century military and political history of Europe). Chernobyl is located in Pripyat, Ukraine, although it was all part of the USSR when it happened.
One of my history classes was taught by this really amazing professor who was from the Soviet Union originally and moved to the UK as an adult around the time the USSR fell. One of his classes covered the decade prior to the fall of the Soviet Union. It was a very interesting class with lots of information I hadn’t learned in any of my other classes.
Interestingly, on the night of the failure, there was an increase in UFO sightings over Chernobyl. Three or four of the engineers dispatched to examine the problem at Chernobyl reported seeing a UFO hovering over the reactor. In the days that followed, more than 200 UFO reports were made to the Soviet government by people living near the reactor and people heading to the reactor to see if it could be saved.
The inclusion zone around Chernobyl was 12 miles. Nuclear scientist in both the USSR and the US later stated that it should have been larger. Many of the locals surrounding the inclusion zone believe the UFOs kept it from being a much worse disaster. Now, this isn’t to say that Chernobyl wasn’t a huge disaster anyway, it was. It took several decades for wildlife to return to the area and there are still genetic defects among people whose parents were exposed to the radiation fall-out of Chernobyl. And there are still occasionally, genetic defects found in the wildlife around the area.
On another note, Chernobyl ties into a much larger conspiracy theory involving radio waves. There was an experimental Soviet project called Duga-3. It’s a giant array of radio towers and wires meant to alert the USSR to incoming missiles. Duga-3 was more expensive to build than Chernobyl and surprisingly an even bigger failure. And it sits in the inclusion zone. Some have speculated that the Soviet Union intentionally destroyed Chernobyl so they wouldn’t have to admit Duga-3 was a disaster.
Also on a related side note, Duga-3 powered up in 1976 and within a short time the entire world knew it existed somewhere behind the Iron Curtain, because Duga-3 sent out a ticking sound that managed to interfere with radio signals around the world. However, it’s location was kept secret until they razed the forest that surrounded Duga-3 in the aftermath of Chernobyl.