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Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Power Plant entombed in the concrete 'Sarcophagus' as it looked from 1986 to the late 2010s.
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The abandoned city of Pripyat, near Chernobyl.
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The New Safe Confinement covering the plant, completed in 2019.

"Look at this place. Fifty thousand people used to live here. Now it's a ghost town. I've never seen anything like it."
Captain MacMillan on Pripyat, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
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The site of what is often regarded as the worst disaster in nuclear power history, the Chernobyl (AKA Chornobyl or V.I. Lenin Memorial) Nuclear Power Plant was one of the Soviet Union's biggest and most modern nuclear plants, designed to give power to the city of Kiev / Kyivnote , Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine). The disaster was the first accident to score a 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, its highest rating (the only other with this rating is the Fukushima Daiichi disaster of 2011), and surrounding areas remain uninhabitable to this day.

The disaster, which happened on April 26, 1986 at 01:23 am Moscow time, was the result of several factors. The RBMK reactor designs used in Soviet plants were inherently flawed in two ways; firstly, if the connection to the main electrical grid was lost, the reactor's cooling systems would lose power, and the diesel-powered backup generators would take over a minute to provide sufficient power to cool the reactor, which could lead to a meltdown in the interim. Secondly, the reactor could heat up very quickly and had an (unknown to its operators and most nuclear scientists, thanks to the state suppressing the information after it was discovered in 1983) tendency to surge power levels when a SCRAM (AZ-5) button was pressed to stop the reaction. Reactor #4 (the newest of Chernobyl's reactors and the one in which the accident occurred), like all RBMKs had a strong containment structure on the side, but not on its roof.note  The plant personnel were also carrying out a dangerous test with Reactor #4 for power outage protocols at night (since they didn't want to interfere with citizens' electricity usage) with inexperienced workers. note 

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The test involved reducing the reactor's power to 700MW in order to simulate a blackout, and see if this was sufficient to power the cooling systems until the diesel generators could kick in. However, the reactor core had been "poisoned" by a build-up of xenon gas due to a delay in the test, causing the power to start dropping below the desired figure. Then, due to what has been variously attributed to either an error on the part of the inexperienced reactor operator, Leonid Toptunov, or a malfunction caused by the reactor systems not knowing how to handle operation with such high xenon levels, an attempt to stabilize the power level had the opposite effect and resulted in the reactor crashing down to a mere 30MW. By all rights the test should have been abandoned at this point, as it would have taken a whole day for the xenon to decay away. The test's supervisor, Anatoly Dyatlov insisted on trying to continue, however, and despite his best efforts, Toptunov was only able to restore the reactor to 200MW, which Dyatlov figured was still good enough to continue (the RBMK was notoriously unstable at low power levels, but operating it at such a low level technically wasn't against regulations).

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As they tried to maintain a delicate balance between cooling the reactor and powering it, things slowly got more and more out of hand. Then, communication between both sides got cut off. The explosion occurred when after several desperate corrections, the side controlling the graphite-tipped control rods (which had already taken out a dangerously large number of them to begin with) noticed that things were going wrong, and put too many back into the reactor all at once, triggering the disaster. The explosion wasn't like, say, a nuclear bomb explosion (where the relatively small bomb reaches millions of degrees), but more comparable to a boiler explosion (where the water temperature gets so high the vessel can't contain the pressure).

As this was still during the years of the Soviet Union, and Mikhail Gorbachev had only been in office for a year at this point, news about the disaster was slow to come out. The day after the disaster the people in the nearby company town of Pripyat were just minding their own business as usual, and it was not until the second day that action was actually taken: the government forces showed up at Pripyat and told everybody to pack only their essentials (they claimed the citizens of Pripyat could return later) and evacuate immediately. The radiation spread through Belarus, and the Kremlin remained tight-lipped. Then it spread to the Baltic states, and the Kremlin remained tight-lipped. Then the radiation reached the Capitalist bloc in Sweden... and that's where the cat got out of the bag and the Soviet Union had to admit that the accident happened. The international reaction led to a halt of almost all nuclear reactor development worldwide, with some (such as Italy) going so far as to close down their nuclear plants. Many neighboring areas to the plant were made instantly unsafe for habitation, with a 30 km Exclusion Zone established, with cities in the zone (most notably Pripyat, the city where workers of the plant lived) remaining ghost towns to this day.

The Soviets also had to contend with the plant remains, given that there was (and will be for the next several thousand years) enough plutonium inside Reactor #4 to potentially poison one hundred million people. Their initial response was to haphazardly have hundreds of thousands of men wearing lead suits each take a turn briefly pushing some of the debris on the top of the reactor building down into the reactor for three minutes each, since the radiation levels were so high that doing it any longer would be extremely dangerous, even in the best radiation protection suits available. Once this was done, they hastily built a temporary containment structure (the "Sarcophagus") around what was left of Reactor #4. The plant remained operational until they could safely decommission each of the other reactors, with the plant finally closing down in the year 2000. Since the containment structure was meant to only be a short-term solution, a giant moving arch structure called the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement was built next to the plant. After several delays, the arch was moved into place in November 2016, and the end wall was completed in late 2018.

Containment cost the Soviet Union 18 billion rubles,note  and has cost hundreds of billions of dollars in containment and treatment since. The disaster was also a major factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 — the immense cost of cleanupnote , the fact that attempting to cover up the incident only made it worse, Valery Legasov's testimony and his tapes coming to light after his suicide, the human toll of the disaster and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's push for more openness to the world (his glasnost policy) all cascaded and led to the superpower dissolving five years after the incident. The Chernobyl disaster led to 31 immediate deaths, with cancer deaths in Soviet Union estimated to be in the thousands, and estimations vary wildly on the effects and number of deaths the radioactive cloud caused throughout Europe (via thyroid cancers most notably). Cow milk in some parts of Ukraine still has five times the safe level of radiations as of 2019.

On February 24, 2022, the first day of that year's invasion of Ukraine by Russia, elements of the Russian army captured the Chernobyl exclusion zone and nuclear power plant, disturbing the rotation of the staff working on the decommissioning. The Russians would occupy the area for about a month. Against the warnings of the Chernobyl decommissioning staff, Russian forces took to using the Red Forest — still one of the most contaminated areas in the exclusion zone — as a route for convoys involved in the offensive against Kyiv. The resulting foot and vehicle traffic, as well as the digging of trenches, churned up large amounts of radioactive dust that gave a number of Russian soldiers radiation sickness. Russian forces began to withdraw from the Kyiv area after failing to take the capital and amidst the recapturing of territory by the Ukrainian army; Russian troops were reported to have left the Chernobyl nuclear power plant by April 1. The threat of another nuclear disaster has since been looming at another plant, that of Zaporizhzhia, in and around which Russian occupiers have installed weaponry.

Contrary to popular belief, the Exclusion Zone is not as unsafe as you might think, though the plant is still highly radioactive and it is not recommended to get very close to it. While travel into the Exclusion Zone is strictly controlled and usually available only through tour groups, Pripyat (which is closest to the plant) and Chernobyl are safe to visit and are fairly well preserved Soviet ghost towns, though staying there longer than with the tour groups would be unwise, and you would do well to listen to your tour guide's instructions while you're there. The Exclusion Zone has also become an unintentional wildlife preserve, with many scientists studying the effects of radiation on such life, though with few exceptions, animals in the area don't seem affected by it much note .

Due to being home to ghost towns, the impossibility of detecting radiation without proper tools until it's too late, the abandoned plant itself being incredibly ominous and foreboding and giving off a very unsettling feeling, Chernobyl and its surrounding area lends itself well to horror and post-apocalypse settings. You can actually wander the area yourself without leaving your home, as the city is recorded in "Street View" mode on various popular map programs.


Tropes associated with Chernobyl in popular culture:

  • Abandoned Area: An unfortunate result of the catastrophe. Families in Pripyat were told to pack only essential items with the implication that they would return (obviously, they never did), and as a result, there are still family pictures, furniture, and other assorted items you'd find around the house still lying around relatively untouched, with the exception of most valuables and useful items— either the families took them with them, or they were looted in the years since the accident.
  • Abandoned Hospital: The Pripyat hospital, which took in the first radiation casualties of the accident (most of them were firefighters). Their clothes are still piled in the basement, and make that building the most radioactive place in the area other than the actual reactor.
  • Abandoned Playground: The amusement park in Pripyat, with its Ferris wheel, Dodgem cars, Swingboats and Chair Swing ride, along with the remains of a carnival shooting gallery. It was scheduled to open shortly after when the disaster ended up occurring, and became one of the most famously photographed places in the ruins. There are also more conventional abandoned playgrounds in the area.
  • As the Good Book Says...: The following quote from the Book of Revelations has been oft cited in relation to the disaster (though the common wormwood, after which the town of Chernobyl was named, is not exactly the same shrub as the grand wormwood mentioned in the Bible).
    And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
    And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
  • Black Site: In connection to its Forbidden Zone status, some fiction portrays it as hiding something top secret. In fact, the somewhat secret Duga-1 over-the-horizon radar (also known as the "Russian Woodpecker") is located less than 10 km from Chernobyl, well within the exclusion zone.
  • Classified Information
    • The fault with the control rods had already been identified after an accident in a Leningrad RBMK reactor in 1975. Recommendations were made on how to correct the fault, but because news of the Leningrad accident was suppressed no-one knew why these recommended changes were important, meaning they weren't prioritized and the plant operators weren't warned of the dangers of SCRAMing the reactor.
    • Information on Soviet nuclear reactors was regarded as classified military technology. Legasov's frank report to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna caused him to be ostracized and denied official recognition for his efforts, even though he'd helped the Soviet Union regain some of the credibility they'd lost by initially suppressing news on the disaster, and had kept quiet about the faults of the reactor.
    • Doctors were forbidden to list radiation as a cause of death, making it impossible even now to establish the number of people who died as a result. Except for laudatory tales of the heroic liquidators, the Soviet media was pressured not to print stories on the environmental consequences— this included a report by a journalist that a town was being built inside the exclusion zone. The Soviet authorities were eventually forced to give way, partially due to glasnost but also because environmentalism had finally become an issue that affected even the Party elite due to the wide spread of radiation and the rift between Communist Party officials in Moscow and the Ukraine (who were stuck cleaning up the mess).
  • Creepy Basement:
    • The basement of Pripyat hospital is covered with Empty Piles of Clothing (which were worn by the firefighters, and are highly radioactive), and just walking into the room without adequate protection means significantly increased cancer risk.
    • The concrete room beneath the reactor, where the Elephant's Foot is located. The thing is a mass of corium ('nuclear lava' if you will) which has flowed and (not quite) solidified down there after eating the reactor's floor. It is so radioactive that it makes this room one of the most dangerous environments on Earth, people actually can't stand nearby too long without dying. Back in the first months and years after the disaster, it could kill a grown man in mere minutes. note  Nowadays it still only takes several hours of being exposed to it.
  • Forbidden Zone: Again, the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
  • Ghost Town: Pripyat is one of the most iconic (and creepy) examples in modern media.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The disaster could have been greater if not for the bravery of firefighters, engineers and military personnel deployed to the plant to deal with the fire and the meltdown. They are collectively known as Chernobyl liquidators. Many knew that the consequences of getting so close to the reactors was certain (and quite painful) death, but at the same time knew that if they didn't act, millions more could have died. At least 37 people died as a direct result of the disaster, and several went on to receive some of the highest bravery decorations the USSR granted at the time, including the Order of the Red Banner, the Order of Lenin (second highest) and the Hero of the Soviet Union (highest).
    • Special mention goes to Alexei Ananenko, Boris Baranov and Valeri Bezpalov, who volunteered to dive into the bubbler pools underneath the reactor to manually open the valves to drain the water that was dangerously heating up and threatened a steam explosion. The bubbler pools were flooded with radioactive water and they risked severe radiation poisoning. They went in anyway and averted a catastrophe.
    • Contrary to popular Western belief, all three men survived and continued to work in the industry. Ananenko and Bezpalov were alive in 2018, Baranov died of a heart attack in 2004. All three were awarded the Order for Courage in the Third Degree in 2018 (Baranov posthumously). Post-Rock band We Lost the Sea, having written a song about the three men called "Bogatyri", admitted they believed these rumors as well and acknowledged the mistake.
  • Driven to Suicide: Valery Legasov, a prominent chemist and member of USSR's Academy of Sciences. With the miscommunication going on, he was sent to investigate the then "small incident" at Chernobyl, only be horrified at the full-scale of the catastrophe; he worked frantically to avert a second steam explosion. He later hanged himself, leaving behind a series of recorded tapes, detailing how disillusioned he had become of the Soviet government's secrecy censoring key details of the Chernobyl disaster and its failure to confront the reactor design flaws. Legasov's suicide caused shockwaves through the industry. note 
  • Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: Reactor meltdown about to happen in your story? Use "X" Chernobyls to describe how bad it's going to get. Within the TV Series Chernobyl, the Hiroshima bomb is used as a unit by Legasov to hammer home just how bad the situation is: "The fire we're watching with our own eyes is giving off nearly twice the radiation released by the bomb in Hiroshima. And that's every single hour. Hour after hour, 20 hours since the explosion, so 40 bombs worth by now. Forty-eight more tomorrow. And it will not stop. Not in a week, not in a month. It will burn and spread its poison until the entire continent is dead!".
  • Irony: The purpose of the test on Unit 4 was to try to improve reactor safety in the event of an attack. The end result, however...
  • Nuclear Mutant: As a place of radioactive contamination, many stories portray the area as a source of these. While radioactivity has nasty effects on living bodies, monstrously mutated organisms are mostly averted in real life. Local animals are mostly not heavily affected by the radiation heavily (due to their normal lifespan being too short to see effects), and some even adapt to the radioactive environment.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale:
    • The reactor's power output right before the explosion is known to have been at least 30,000 MW— however, there's a very good chance it was even higher than that, because that value was as much as the instruments at the plant were designed to read. Many estimates have put it at around 300,000 MW at the moment of the explosion, and some even as high as 1,000,000 MW.
    • This was also part of the reason why so many workers were exposed to a lethal radiation dose in the immediate aftermath of the explosion— the only two radiation counters that were capable of registering readings as high as the radiation levels around the reactor were destroyed in the explosion, and the surviving ones could only register readings that were one five-thousandth of the actual radiation level. Worse still, by the time someone bought in a counter that could correctly read the radiation levels, the people in charge thought that it was broken and there was no way the levels could be so high (though, given how many people had already been fatally exposed, it would have made little difference if they had believed it).
  • Reclaimed by Nature: It only took a few years for vegetation to take over the city of Pripyat. More than 30 years later, the background radiation is still too high for humans to inhabit the area, though you can safely travel through the countrysides just fine, as you wouldn't begin to feel any effects of the radiation for close to two weeks. Scientific studies of various flora and fauna have shown that they adapted to the radiation (various birds have increased levels of antioxidants to counter the free radicals), and are thriving just fine, albeit with a shorter-than-average lifespan.

Chernobyl in Media:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mentioned in Gunslinger Girl, as Elisabeta/Petruskha had lived in a part of the Ukraine that had been heavily affected by Chernobyl, which ended up giving her cancer. This led to her leg getting amputated, ruining her dream of becoming a ballerina, and led her to attempt suicide, which brought her to the attention of the Agency that made her a cyborg. It's revealed near the end of the series that Chernobyl also gave her leukemia, which eventually kills her.
    Comic Books 
  • In Mortadelo y Filemón's "Chernobil, ¡qué cuchitril!", the main characters are ordered to travel to Chernobyl to investigate reports of animals near the power plant behaving strangely.
    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The Babushkas Of Chernobyl is a 2015 documentary about the elderly villagers (most of them women) who had returned to live in their homes within the Exclusion Zone despite the danger. It records their daily routines and thoughts on the disaster and includes short interviews with doctors and other experts on the evacuated area.
  • Chernobyl: Abyss is a Russian feature film about a fictional heroic Pripyat firefighter who wound up being a "liquidator" clearing the site of radioactive debris.
  • Chernobyl Diaries is a horror film following a group of American tourists who visit the Exclusion Zone. The trip goes downhill very quickly and ends with an accidental visit to the inside of the reactor itself and massacre by mutated humanoid zombies.
  • In Godzilla (2014), the ruins in the Janjira "death zone" were clearly inspired by photos of Pripyat.
  • In Godzilla (1998), Nick Tatopoulos is studying the effects of radiations on earthworms in Chernobyl when the US military summons him to study Godzilla.
  • The climactic fight of A Good Day to Die Hard occurs in Chernobyl.
  • The opening sequence of My Spy starts with a mission involving a plutonium deal in Pripyat, which quickly goes south before the spy makes a getaway. This gets him in trouble for derailing intelligence gathering.
  • The Marie Curie biopic Radioactive shows flash forwards to various applications and consequences of radiation, including the accident at Chernobyl.
  • A part of Transformers: Dark of the Moon takes place here; the protagonists discover some tech taken from the Ark (the Autobots' ship) and Shockwave (who, according to the prequel comics, had been sealed underneath Chernobyl for years) shows up and attacks the men investigating the tech.
  • Universal Soldier: Regeneration has the protagonist diffusing a hostage situation at the Chernobyl plant.
  • The environmental disaster that weakens the Klingon Empire at the beginning of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is widely considered to have been inspired by Chernobyl.
  • Zack Snyder's Justice League: the New God Steppenwolf builds his base in a Russian town that was abandoned following a disaster at the local nuclear plant circa 1986 (the heart of his base is inside said plant). The town and plant themselves have nothing in common with Pripyat and Chernobyl architecturally (such as a big draft wet hyperboloid cooling tower, Chernobyl has no such thing) and geographically speaking, but the inspiration is all too obvious. The town is not abandoned in the 2017 theatrical version, somehow.

    Literature 
  • Our Dumb World portrays the entirety of Belarus as being contaminated by radiation (truth in television, though it's turned up to eleven and pretty much the only thing mentioned about the country here).
  • The 1997 book Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster is a collection of interviews with survivors of the disaster compiled by Svetlana Alexievich. It was the first book to provide personal accounts of the accident's impact.
  • In Wolves Eat Dogs, Arkady Renko investigates an oligarch who was Driven to Suicide after someone poisoned him with highly-radioactive cesium chloride, due to his role in the disaster. Part of the investigation takes place in the dead zone around Chernobyl.
  • An Allohistorical Allusion in Worldwar: As the result of being hit by the Dora cannon, a Race starship explodes. By chance, this ship holds the majority of the fleet's nuclear ordnance, The bombs do not go off, but they do spread radioactive contamination across a wide area in Ukraine. When a joint Soviet-German mission captures some of the uranium, two of them are running close to an abandoned village. The German officer asks what the village is called; the Soviet partisan replies it is Chernobyl.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Chernobyl is a 2019 miniseries that covers the events that occurred before, during, and after the disaster. Jared Harris plays Valery Legasov, the scientist put in charge of putting out the fire and mitigating the fallout. Widely considered as the best depiction of the disaster.
  • Life After People used footage of Pripyat to illustrate how civilization's remnants would fall apart after two decades without any human presence.
  • In the Millennium (1996) episode, "Maranatha", it featured a Villain of the Week who was actually responsible for the Chernobyl disaster, as he was a religious psychotic who wanted to start the Apocalypse by creating wormwood.
  • One episode of River Monsters was shot in Pripyat and near Reactor #4, as Jeremy Wade was searching for supposed giant mutated fish. In the end, he caught nothing that was close to a mutant monster. It was a Wels catfish, which he'd previously caught in an earlier season in Spain, but the one from Chernobyl was less than half the size of an ordinary Wels of the same general age.
  • In episode 3 of Series 21 of Top Gear, The Final Challenge involves the hosts trying to run out of fuel so that they don't have to drive into Pripyat. Only Richard Hammond succeeds. The other two, Jeremy Clarkson and James May, end up having to drive into the exclusion zone, taking necessary precautions, and Clarkson runs out of gas in Pripyat. The duo had to go through Pripyat at night, an absolutely terrifying experience as it is almost pitch black.
  • In the The X-Files episode "The Host", Scully concludes that the Flukeman creature was created due to radioactive sewage from Chernobyl.

    Music 
  • David Bowie's 1987 single "Time Will Crawl" was directly inspired by the disaster. Bowie was residing in Switzerland— closer to the event than most other British musicians— when the news broke out, and wrote the song as an expression of his realization that "someone in one's own community could be the one responsible for blowing up the world."
  • The 1991 remix of Kraftwerk's "Radioactivity" includes references to Chernobyl and other nuclear disasters, as an expression of the band's increasingly anti-nuclear views. A variant of this version with an added mention of the Fukushima disaster would become a regular part of the band's repertoire from 2012 onwards.
  • Paul Simon's 1990 song "Can't Run But" was based in part on the Chernobyl disaster and the Soviet government's attempts at covering it up, directly describing the event in its first verse.
  • Huns and Dr. Beeker has "Ghost Town", which details the human cost of the disaster.

    Theatre 
  • One that became Harsher in Hindsight is Hello Pripyat, a play by Oleksandr Levada which portrays the impending construction of the nuclear reactor (still a couple of years in the future) as a good thing that's only opposed by backward peasants. One of whom turned out to be The Cassandra.
    “For people are saying, one to another, you know, that when that station starts working, in twenty-four hours they’ll take us all 50 versts [33 miles] away because some kind of atoms will start flying and butting heads like rams, and there’ll be no place for people here.”
  • Sarcophagus: A Tragedy is a play about Chernobyl by Soviet author and journalist Vladimir Gubaryev. Written the same year as the accident and first performed in Los Angeles in 1987, the two-act play is set in a fictional isolatory radiation hospital near the reactor as the first victims of the disaster are admitted and treated for ARS while an investigator attempts to piece together the cause of the explosion.
  • Wormwood, written and first performed in 1997 by Catherine Czerkawska, retells the story of the disaster through the experiences of one family: two scientists that work at the plant, a fireman and his schoolteacher wife, and their young son.
  • The focus of a joke in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), when a character mishears the play title The Two Noble Kinsmen as "Chernobyl Kinsman"

    Video Games 
  • The Arctic Thunder arcade game has a course called Chernobyl Meltdown. It references many of the other ways the Soviets used nuclear power, and ends with a drive through the plant. Artistic License applies heavily here.
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has two levels that take place here. Told in flashbacks set a decade after the meltdown, it involves sneaking through the containment and hot zones lovingly crafted and recreated to the smallest detail from the real place.
  • Chernobylite is a Survival Sandbox set in Pripyat. The protagonist is a scientist whose bride disappeared in the accident. Also focuses around a fictional material called Chernobylite that can defy physics and control flow of time, which has also attracted Russian interest and thus making them an antagonist force in the game.
  • CHERNOBYL: The Untold Story is a Russian game that was created in response to the HBO miniseries, as the latter generated controversy there.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, a codec reveals that Nastasha Romanenko used to live near the Chernobyl plant (implied to have been Pripyat) and her parents both died in the work to contain the disaster. This is the source of her strong anti-nuclear weapon stance.
  • In Snatcher, the Catastrophe involving an explosion at a nuclear facility in Chernoton, Russia, releasing a biotoxin called Lucifer-Alpha is similar to the Chernobyl disaster.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl takes place in a world where a second explosion occurs at the power plant twenty years after the initial disaster and results in the Zone (as the game calls the area) becoming a bizarre place of anomalies and mutants. Taken further with the sequel having the subtitle "Call of Pripyat". The scary thing being that a second explosion was a real threat during the initial containment of the disaster, the molten "corium", responsible for formations like the Elephant's Foot, could've hit cooling water in the basement and triggered an even bigger flash-steam explosion if not for a few brave workers that swam around said water in the dark in order to drain it.
  • The Strike Series entry Soviet Strike plays up the horror movie aspect of the setting while addressing the very real disaster through stock footage of the aftermath and potential terrorist threat of trying to gain access to the nuclear materials of the melted down reactor.

    Webcomics 
  • On top of Chernobyl being mentioned in a few strips in xkcd, the comic creator even made a chart chronicling radiation doses, which, naturally, refers to Chernobyl quite a bit.
  • In Polandball, Belarus is often depicted as having three eyes in reference to the Chernobyl disaster. (Chernobyl is located near the Ukraine/Belarus border, and Belarus suffered the majority of the contamination from the accident.)

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Referenced several times in The Simpsons, usually made in light that some kind of terrible accident was (barely) averted at the Springfield nuclear power plant.
  • Spiderman The Animated Series: In part two of The Six Forgotten Warriors arc, the Big Bad has a base of operations beneath the power plant. Inevitably, Spidey, Silver Sable and her mercs, Kingpin and the Sinister Six all end up outside as the base was falling apart around them. Just as it looks like another fight is about to start, Silver Sable quickly points out that it'd be a waste of time and to look around them, which is when they all take notice of their surroundings. Rhino doesn't see what the big deal is, Kingpin is nonplussed, while Scorpion, Vulture and Doc Ock are having a collective Oh, Crap!. note  The prospect of radiation poisoning steers both teams to call it a draw and leave pronto.

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