Det indkapslede atomanlæg. Foto af Mick De Paola hos Unsplash

The Ukrainian government is pushing to get Chernobyl on the UNESCO world heritage list today, 35 years after the explosion.

35 years ago today the largest nuclear accident on planet earth happened, as Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Pripyat exploded during a test. Thousands of people are believed to have died from the accident.

It also left the entire town of Pripyat to wither and fade, as the Soviet Union did decide to evacuate the surrounding villages and cities. The towns and cities, and especially Pripyat, are still standing as a monument to the catastrophe and a reminder of the incompetence of the Soviet Union.

Today, the Ukrainian minister of culture, Oleksandr Tkachenko, wants the area to be put on the UNESCO world heritage list – a list of sites that should be protected as they have interest for not only a single people, but all of mankind.

“We believe that putting Chernobyl on the UNESCO heritage list is a first and important step towards having this great place as a unique destination of interest for the whole of mankind,” said Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, according to Reuters.

04/26-1986 1:23:40 

At exactly 1:23:40 in the night, 35 years ago, the worlds largest and possibly most deadly nuclear accident took place, as a reactor exploded because of a test run that was forced upon inexperienced staff members.

As people in the control room that night was not prepared for the test, and because the shift leader was of the opinion that the RMK reactors like the reactors in Chernobyl could not explode, the whole thing went terribly wrong.

In the following days, weeks and months, the Soviet Union tried to combat the effects of the spread of radioactive material without alarming the outside world to their massive failure or asking for help.

The outside world did notice though, as detectors as far away as Sweden started measuring increases in radiation. The Central Committee of the Soviet Union still refused to publicly admit defeat because the integrity of the Communist Party itself would be damaged.

According to Mikhail Gorbachev himself, who was the party leader at the time, the accident itself was the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union.

In a 2006 interview, Gorbachev said: “The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago this month, even more than my launch of Perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later.”

Other UNESCO sites

Chernobyl would not be the first object of interest in Ukraine to be put on the UNESCO world heritage list. Some of the places are shared with other countries, while some are completely unique to Ukraine.

The primeval forests are shared with a lot of other countries and regions in the Carpathian mountains and around, while the wooden Tserkvas are shared heritage with Poland. The Struve Geodetic Arc, is stretches from Norway to the Black Sea through 10 countries and over 2,820 km.

Ukraine also has sites that are only found in Ukraine: The historical city centre of Lviv, the Cathedral of Saint Sofia with the monestary and Pechersk Lavra in Kyiv and the Ancient Tauric City of Chersonese and it’s Chora.