Ten Most Polluted Places Named

Ten Most Polluted Places Named
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A cemetery of radioactive vehicles is seen near Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant in this November 10, 2000 photo. (See a map of Ukraine.)

More than 1,300 Soviet military helicopters, buses, bulldozers, and other equipment were usedand contaminatedwhile responding to the April 26, 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl.

The disaster's residual effects and its potential for future environmental and health damage has landed Chernobyl on the New York-based Blacksmith Institute's 2007 list of the ten most polluted sites.

A hundred times more radiation was released during the meltdown of Chernobyl's reactor than was contained in the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The event created a spike in thyroid cancers among children and led to innumerable respiratory ailments, infertility cases, and birth defects in local residents.

Today a 19-mile (31-kilometer) exclusion zone around the reactor remains largely deserted.

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—Photograph by Efrem Lukatsky/AP
 
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