The Chernobyl 1986 nuclear disaster was argueably one of the worst nuclear accidents ever. The event wound up killing 28 people from either the explosion or radiation poisoning and killed an area of conifers, 10 square miles.
Unlike many disasters Chernobyl was a human caused disaster. The Chernobyl disaster was caused by a faulty reactor design and the lack of appropriately trained staff operating the reactor. During a test something in the reactor failed and steam eventually built up to such a degree it caused an explosion releasing at least 5% of the reactors radioactive material into the air.
Chernobyl plant after explosion
The impacts of the Chernobyl accident were phenominal. People in the nearby town of Chernobyl, Pripyat, and poliske had little time to flee often leaving behind belongings turning Chernobyl into a ghost town. The radioactive materials released into the air by Chernobyl spread like wild fire traveling through Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, even reaching as far as Scandinavia. The citizens of towns out side of the the exclusion zone had to evacuate but soon returned because the radiation impacts were less severe.
Of the 28 deaths caused 2 were workers who died from the explosion and the other 26 were from radiation sickness.
The environment suffered less than you might think. A total area of 10 square miles of conifers were killed consequently people cleared and buried these radiated areas. In this secondary succession small pioneer plants like grasses and weeds first started coming in. After this, small bushes started growing and animals returned. Taking us to today the bushes are now bigger and conifers are growing back into the area as the picture bellow shows.