Twenty-eight years ago today, a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant situated near the Ukrainian and Belarussian border, sent deadly nuclear radiation into the air and spread thousands of miles across Europe and Asia. It was the worst nuclear disaster in history and stands as a somber reminder of the dangers inherent in nuclear power.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon issued a statement remembering those who died after the disaster and showing support for continued recovery and long-term solution efforts.

“This is an opportunity to pay tribute to the emergency workers who responded, remember the more than 330,000 people who were evacuated from contaminated regions, and stand in solidarity with the millions who still live in the affected areas in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.”

“On this solemn occasion, the secretary-general calls upon the international community to further support the process of recovery and sustainable development in the Chernobyl-affected region, to optimize the knowledge gained for the common good, and to do everything possible to prevent any future nuclear disasters.”

The Chernobyl saga is far from over. Today, teams are still working hard to clean up and contain the area. Some in the international community worry that the current unrest in Ukraine may hamper efforts to seal away the exploded reactor once and for all. The New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure would cover the existing (and somewhat hastily built) concrete sarcophagus that Soviet workers constructed to contain reactor 4's deadly radiation.Tthe NSC is expected to be finished by 2015, barring any major setbacks.