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International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day

The United Nations (UN) has proclaimed April 26 International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day. The day was first observed in 2016, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the 1986 nuclear disaster.

Gas masks in Pripyat, following the Chernobyl disaster.

Gas masks in Pripyat, a ghost town in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

©bigstockphoto.com/Carso80

Raising Awareness

International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day includes events around the world dedicated to raising awareness of the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and the risks of nuclear energy in general.

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Adi Roche, the founder of the nonprofit organization Chernobyl Children International, called for efforts to bring about a “renewal and recommitment to discover new means, new initiatives to alleviate further the suffering of the people in the affected stricken lands.”

Public Life

International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

The Chernobyl Disaster

The Chernobyl disaster was arguably the worst nuclear accident in history. On April 26, 1986, a reactor in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in today's Ukraine experienced a catastrophic explosion and fire, releasing unprecedented levels of radioactive materials into the atmosphere.

Although the accident itself caused a relatively small number of casualties, its long-term effects are extensive and will continue to pose challenges for many future generations. Countless studies have documented the severe health and environmental problems caused by the accident, a sharp increase of thyroid cancer among children in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia constituting only one of many harrowing examples.

International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2016TueApr 26International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayUnited Nations observance
2017WedApr 26International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayUnited Nations observance
2018ThuApr 26International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayUnited Nations observance
2019FriApr 26International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayUnited Nations observance
2020SunApr 26International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayUnited Nations observance
2021MonApr 26International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayUnited Nations observance
2022TueApr 26International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayUnited Nations observance
2023WedApr 26International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayUnited Nations observance
2024FriApr 26International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayUnited Nations observance
2025SatApr 26International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance DayUnited Nations observance

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