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Land Rover Discovery enters Chernobyl

Thousands died in the world's worst nuclear disaster

Land Rover's Journey of Discovery expedition is one of the first western groups to enter Chernobyl since the nuclear disaster in 1986.

Thousands died in the world's worst nuclear disaster when reactor number 4 exploded on April 26, 1986 dousing the nearby town of Pripyat with deadly radiation.

Before the disaster Pripyat was a bustling city of 50,000 people, just three kilometres from reactor number four. Today it's a ghost town.

The Journey of Discovery expedition aims to raise 1 million  for Land Rover's Global Humanitarian Partner, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The money will be used to support a much needed water sanitation project in Uganda.

The team from Land Rover's Journey of Discovery was able to enter the exclusion zone that surrounds the reactor which is still leaking radiation today.

Before the disaster living standards in Pripyat were among the best in the Soviet Union. It was, for example, the only place in the country where Chanel perfume was available.

Wages were double the national average and life was good. Work was plentiful and with plans to ultimately build 12 reactors, it stood as a glittering testament to Soviet technological expertise.

The explosion changed everything. Today Pripyat is deserted. A desolate, crumbling place where the people left in a hurry, people who thought they were leaving only for a few days. Ascending the hotel's steps to the top floor is like entering the set of a horror movie, except the horror is very real.

It's a fact that this place is deeply contaminated, but it's hard to believe because this radioactive contamination is invisible. The team's final stop is next to the reactor itself, which now sits under a makeshift cover of concrete, steel, lead and metal sheeting.

A guide explains there are plans for a better cover, or sarcophagus to be built over the remains in a bid to bring this dreadful chapter in history to a close. The trouble is authorities have been telling the same story for more than 10 years -- it never seems to get any closer.