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25th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster

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25th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine, following the April 26, 1986 explosion. UPI/INS | License Photo

PRIPYAT, Ukraine, April 26 (UPI) -- The presidents of Russia and Ukraine took part Tuesday in ceremonies marking the 25th anniversary of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and the Ukraine's Victor Yanukovych are visiting the nuclear power plant along with the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency UNIAN reported.

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An explosion at the plant's No. 4 reactor on April 26, 1986 sent a cloud of radiation over large areas of Europe affecting some 9 million people.

It was the largest nuclear disaster in history.

GALLERY: The 25th anniversary of Chernobyl

An international conference in Kiev last week raised $803 million to help finance the cost of a new radiation containment shield for the No. 4 reactor, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

A sarcophagus built to cover the reactor is falling apart and a new containment structure has been designed to fit over it.

Yanukovych said that Ukraine will be able to complete the new structure by 2015, Pravda reported.

Improvements to the plant will also include a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel and a facility to recycle liquid radioactive wastes.

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