On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian city of Pripyat melted down and changed the world forever.
This unprecedented nuclear disaster killed 31 people in the immediate aftermath and irradiated a large area around the former plant. Since the incident, the government has enforced an exclusion zone within an 18-mile radius of the site. Some visitation of the area is permitted, but due to consistently high radiation levels, entering certain areas is prohibited.
The area around the abandoned plant has become a huge attraction for urban explorers from all over the world. However, during a recent expedition to the old town, some explorers made a startling discovery: Someone had been logging the heavily irradiated forests around Chernobyl.
When the meltdown happened, it threw out massive amounts of radiation that was absorbed by people, buildings, vegetation, and wildlife.
Recently, a group of Ukrainian urban explorers who frequent the abandoned city found a whole section of deforested property. "The first time we saw [the forest], and the second time it wasn't there," said Artur Kalmykov, the group's leader.
Kalmykov wasted no time getting in touch with authorities to figure out what had happened. He fears that the radioactive wood could end up being part of someone's home.
"Stop Corruption made a film about [illegal logging]. They spoke with the manager of the exclusion zone. He told them he doesn't know who is cutting down the forest," Kalmykov told the press.
Not that many of us here in North America are buying wood from Eastern Europe, but if you are, maybe it would be a better idea to hold off until they figure out what's going on in that irradiated forest.