Without wishing to downplay the tragedy for the victims - especially the 300,000 people who were evacuated permanently - the explosion has even been good for wildlife, which has thrived in the 30km exclusion zone.
If ever there was a bit to cut from an article - on grounds of flimsiness as a defence of nuclear power, or for unnecessarily feeding into the stereotype of environmentalist misanthropy - it's that one. But it dredged something up for me, I remembered a website I saw a few years ago where a Ukrainian had taken a motorbike trip through the Chernobyl dead zone.
The site is still up, considerably expanded, and it's every bit as enthralling as I remembered. I'm not plugging this as any comment on the wisdom on future nuclear power, just as a bit of mesmerising travelogue and social history.
In the last few years Elena Filatova's made numerous trips into the dead zone. There are now hundreds of photos, needing only a little captioning, yet even in that she provides a great historic and poetic insight.
Usually, when they talk about the dead zone, they talk about area that is 30 kms around reactor.
What about this towns and villages? They are 60 kms from reactor.
The Wolves Land is bigger than many think and it keeps on growing. Now days, it spread on 300 kms from South to North and on 100 kms from East on West.
There are more than 2,000 dead towns and villages within a radius of 250 kms (155 miles) around Chernobyl reactor. Each year I travel, I see more and more ruined places.
This barbed wire marks the limit of the '30km' zone, but according to the site it's over 50km from the reactor.
She visits a sizeable ghost town, Pripyat. One of the spookiest aspects is the Sovietness of it.
Not only are there relics from the Soviet Union, but the accident happened in late April. The towns were evacuated on April 27th, four days before the Mayday celebrations.
At first glance, Ghost Town seems like a normal town. There is a taxi stop, a grocery store, someone's wash hangs from the balcony and the windows are open. But then I see a slogan on a building that says - "The Party of Lenin Will Lead Us To The Triumph Of Communism"......and I realize that those windows were opened to the spring air of April of 1986.
It is safe to be in the open air in Ghost Town. It is inside the houses where the real danger lies.
Taking such a walk with no special radiation detecting device is like walking through a minefield wearing snowshoes.
People had homes, garages, cars, country houses, they had money, friends, relatives cats and dogs. People had their lives. Each in own niche. And then in a matter of hours, their entire world fell to pieces.
After a few hours trip in an army vehicle, they stood under a shower, washing away radiation. Then they stepped in a new life, naked with no home, no friends, no dogs, no money, no past and with a very doubtful future.
Inside a school building there is the added eerieness of discarded toys and other childrens items
There are hundreds of little gas masks, a teachers diary and a last note saying that their walk on Saturday has been canceled due to some unforeseen contingency.
This is the highest building in town. On the day of disaster, many people gathered on this roof to see the beautiful shining cloud above the Atomic Power Plant.
She goes to the top herself and the power plant is clearly visible.
Away from the town, she passes through villages, towns and vast areas of reclaimed wilderness. The modern maps don't show the roads or deserted villages. Consequently, she doesn't know the names of many of the places she finds. Some of the larger towns have big concrete signs as you enter, but smaller places have metal signs with the placename rusted away.
Along the Ukraine/Belarus border area, the towns are not only often de-named, but you don't even know which country a town is in.
We are on the border and the sign welcomes us in all fifteen languages of former republics of Soviet Union
In one village she see a monument, a grave of the unknown soldier from the Great Patriotic War (known to us Westies as World War 2). How odd for a monument to spend its life unseen and unvenerated, stranger still that it's an unknown individual who's become part of a wider monument, an unknown town.
On previous visits she left a few logs across roads to see if anyone moved them. returning several years later they're in place, meaning nobody else has travelled the roads in the meantime.
Year after year it becomes more difficult to reach those distant towns and villages of Chernobyl; roads overgrown, trees falling and bridges collapse.
Nature is relentless at reclaiming the land. In some hundred years all signs of humanity will be gone from here. Radiation will stay long after that.
She's compiled pictures from several visitors into a book called Pluto's Realm. Proceeds go towards buying supplies for the few people who still live in abandoned villages in the dead zone.
It is really Plutonium that will reign here for thousands of years. It is extremely toxic and highly chemically reactive, half-life of Plutonium-239 is over 24,000 years. Plutonium is appropriately named after Pluto, god of the dead and ruler of the underworld.
The pictures here are a tiny fraction of what's on the site and by no means the most remarkable. You can spend hours being spooked, thinking about time, nature, industrialisation, politics, resilience and more.