By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (April 26, 2024) – In this edition of Fun with Maps we recall a huge disaster – of nuclear proportions.


One of worst man-made disasters started on April 26, 1986 in northern Ukraine.


Due to a series of missteps by folks in the control room following a routine test on Reactor 4, and not very good engineering design, the reactor melted down eventually. The resulting radioactive release impacted not only plant personnel, nearby residents, but a large portion of Europe.

Many thousands died over time due to radiation exposure. 

The accident also gave a large blackeye to nuclear power. And that is unfortunate as multiple countries have shied away from nuclear power in the age of efforts to limit reliance on fossil fuels. France is an exception as about 2/3 of their electricity is from nuclear power. The global average is about 10% of electricity from nuclear power.

This Peeters map from 1692 shows much different political borders among Ukraine, Poland and Belarus and Lithuania versus today.

Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Lithuania – Circa 1692 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.