It was two full days after the April 26, 1986, explosion when the Soviet Union's tightly controlled news media acknowledged that anything had happened — and the reports' dishonesty was as bad as no news at all.
The Tass news agency called it an "unlucky accident" and said there was nothing to worry about.
The only reliable source of information was the Voice of America, but the KGB was jamming the signal.
If the signal got through, we heard doctors advising us to take a daily drop of iodine to protect our thyroids from radiation.
A friend, an Institute of Nuclear Physics engineer named Viktor Ivashchenko, called me a few days after the blast and urged more me to flee Kiev and never come back.
But I stayed, and went on to develop a photographic relationship with the ruined plant that lasts to this day.
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Efrem Lukatsky, a Kiev-based photographer for The Associated Press, recalls the confusion and anxiety of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion, the world's worst nuclear accident.
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion was only about 100 kilometers (65 miles) from my home in Kiev, but I didn't learn about it until the next morning from neighbor Natalia Finkel, a policeman's wife.In this photo taken in 1996, shows photographer Efrem Lukatsky, wearing protective clothes to reduce the radiation impact, standing in front of the sarcophagus that covers destroyed reactor No.4 in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine.The Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion was only about 60 miles from photographer Efrem Lukatsky's home, but he didn¿t learn about it until the next morning from a neighbor.Only a few photographers were allowed to cover the destroyed reactor and desperate cleanup efforts, and all of them paid for it with their health.I went a few months later, and have returned dozens of times.(AP Photo) There's radioactive dust, she said; close all the windows and plug all the cracks.