In the 33 years since the Chernobyl disaster, that catastrophe has been used for many purposes.
It has been used by propagandists for political ends; it was initially shrouded in secrecy yet today a project to secure the site seems exemplary international co-operation.
On a micro level, the disaster was the catalyst for bringing young Ukrainians to Ireland for some decades.
The site was used as a massive open-air research laboratory in an effort to understand the impact of radiation on animals.
It was, and is, used by both sides in the nuclear energy argument.
The disaster was also used as a setting for films and a recent TV series — another later this year, one produced in Russia, is expected to implicate the CIA in the greatest nuclear accident in history.
Despite all that, however, Caroline O’Doherty’s report from Ukraine, which is published on these pages today, highlights two conflicting human traits: the absolute bravery of those who tried to contain the disaster and the voyeurism of today’s tourists — absolute selflessness attracting something cold and insensitive.
Man at his best and ghoulish worst.