"We buried the forest. We sawed the trees into metre-and-a-half pieces and packed them in cellophane and threw them into graves," says Arkady Filin in Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich’s arresting oral history Voices from Chernobyl. "The place was so beautiful … incredible. The horror was more horrible because it was so pretty. And people had to leave here. They had to run away, like evildoers."

At 1.23am on April 26 1986 a perfect storm, brought about by poor design, human error and circumstance, catapulted the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine to a macabre mark in history: the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

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