Photographers Igor Kostin, Valery Zufarov and Volodymyr Repik Recall Chernobyl’s First Days

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KIEV (AP).- Wearing a lead protective suit and placing his cameras in lead boxes, photographer Igor Kostin made a terrifying and unauthorized trip to the Chernobyl danger zone just a few days after a nuclear power plant reactor exploded in the world’s worst atomic accident. He came back home with nothing to show for his determination to document the crisis — the radiation was so high that all his shots turned out black. But Kostin returned, and his work along with that of a handful of other daring photographers was critical to the world’s understanding of a catastrophe that Soviet authorities were reluctant to admit. A quarter-century after the April 26, 1986, blast that spewed radioactive fallout over much of Europe, Kostin’s memories are as vivid and terrifying as any photo. They carry an added chill as Japan struggles to bring its radiation-spewing