PHOTOS: Abandoned city and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Bypass channel for cooling at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)

On April 26, 1986, reactor number No. 4 at the Chernobyl plant, some 100 kilometers north of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, exploded during a botched safety test.

The reactor burned for 10 days, sending radioactive elements into the atmosphere that contaminated three-quarters of Europe, according to some estimates.

Soviet authorities tried to cover up the accident. Sweden was the first to raise the alarm after scientists detected a spike in radiation levels. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev did not make a public statement until May 14. The number of deaths directly due to the accident is still a matter of debate, with estimates varying from around 30 to 100,000.

Here’s a look at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the abandoned nearby city of Pripyat — 33 years later. (AFP/Yahoo News)

See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.

See more photos below:

An abandoned main street in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned main central square in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
A view shows the amusement park in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
Sign of radioactive danger in front of "red forest" in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned the building of hotel "Polissya" in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned stadium in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
A view shows the amusement park in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned the building of culture "Energetic" in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An interior view in abandoned building of culture "Energetic" in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned stadium in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An interior view in abandoned building of culture "Energetic" in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An interior view in abandoned building of culture "Energetic" in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
A view shows the amusement park in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An interior view in abandoned building of culture "Energetic" in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned main street in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An interior view in abandoned building of culture "Energetic" in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned protection masks in the deserted building near bypass channel for cooling at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
Wall painting in abandoned the building of culture "Energetic" in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
Bypass channel for cooling at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An interior view in abandoned building of culture "Energetic" in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned building of the market in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned building of the shop in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
A view of the new safe confinement over the unit 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned restaurant in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
A view of the new safe confinement over the unit 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned building of the shop in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
An abandoned restaurant in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
Water for cooling of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
A view of the new safe confinement over the unit 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
A view on front of the electrical pylon's field of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)
A view shows the amusement park in the Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Exclusion Zone, Ukraine. (Photo by Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images)

_____

Read more from Yahoo News: