Explore the Abandoned City of Pripyat 30 Years After the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

On the anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion, explore what the evacuated town of Pripyat, Ukraine looks like 30 years later.

Photojournalist Jon Brack traveled to Pripyat to document what the town looks like today. From an abandoned amusement park that was scheduled to open just five days after the disaster to an empty classroom, maternity ward, and swimming pool, explore the haunting photos of a town whose residents’ temporary evacuation became permanent.

Beyond the empty buildings, Brack also captured images from inside the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, including the working control room of reactor #2, which is being decommissioned, and a pump room that’s identical to the one that exploded. Step inside the ruins and explore the aftermath of the worst nuclear power plant accident 30 years later with these 360-degree photos:

In your browser, click and drag to navigate through these photos. On your phone, tilt to explore and change perspectives.

And while much of the area remains a ghost town for people, the wildlife in the region has flocked to the site that’s virtually devoid of humans. Astonishingly, wolf populations are soaring–with levels seven times higher than in comparable, uncontaminated reserves.

Watch: Chernobyl Wolf Pack
Wolves have reclaimed the desolate radioactive city of Chernobyl and now rule this poisoned land.

Three decades later, it’s not certain how radiation is affecting wildlife–but it’s clear that animals abound. Surprisingly, dozens of species–including the rare European lynx and brown bear, which haven’t been seen in the region for nearly a century–are thriving inside the area evacuated after the Chernobyl disaster.

Learn More: Animals Rule Chernobyl 30 Years After Nuclear Disaster >>

The New Safe Confinement is a huge, movable structure that will replace the deteriorating sarcophagus built to contain radiation after the 1986 Chernobyl explosion. Here, the arch is shown in an early phase of construction in Pripyat, Ukraine. PHOTOGRPAH BY GERD LUDWIG, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE
The New Safe Confinement is a huge, movable structure that will replace the deteriorating sarcophagus built to contain radiation after the 1986 Chernobyl explosion. Here, the arch is shown in an early phase of construction in Pripyat, Ukraine.
PHOTOGRPAH BY GERD LUDWIG, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Thirty years later, the original sarcophagus that was built to contain the site’s radiation is crumbling, and a new replacement structure is nearing completion. Built by an international consortium of donors, the giant stainless steel arch with a price tag of more than two billion euros will slide into place over the reactor, sealing the radioactive contaminants for 100 years to come.

Learn more about the incomparable feat of engineering, which is designed to resist fire, ice, earthquakes, and tornadoes with winds up to 206 miles per hour: Chernobyl’s Radioactive Ruins Get a New Tomb >>.

To coincide with the 30th anniversary, we’re now streaming the documentary, Meltdown in Chernobyl.

Watch the full documentary: Meltdown in Chernobyl

After a routine test at Ukraine’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant goes wrong, the situation quickly spirals out of control.