A Chernobyl Accident – The Number One Radiation Disaster in Europe
The Chernobyl accident was a major nuclear accident which happened on 26 April 1986 in the No. 4 Reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the city of Pripyat, in the north of the Ukraine. It’s the worst nuclear accident in history with fatalities and serious damages resulting from this accident. Since then there have been great efforts to clean up the site and stop it from happening again. It’s a huge task and the cost involved is also quite high, but fortunately all in all it’s well under control and we are very close to a full return to normality.
The cause of the accident was the poorly thought out safety guidelines and lack of preparedness on the part of the designers of the plant and their trust in workers. The radiation released from the explosions damaged the interior of the reactors’ containment vessels, which were designed to keep radioactive gases contained, dry and safe. When the first humans arrived on the scene the level of radiation was so high that they were diagnosed as death-proof. There were many errors made in how the clean up was done and by the end it was impossible to do safely. This is why the so called „Chernobyl disaster” has become a cause of great anger towards the Soviet government and especially the premier who ordered the build of the reactors.
How did the chernobyl disaster happen? A group of misinformed Soviet scientists mistakenly thought that a huge amount of a rare isotope was being produced by the most powerful Reactors at the time, so they figured if they injected this into the atmosphere; their organism would survive and their lives could continue as normal. The scientists were unaware of how dangerous this was and the mix of electricity and water vapor in the air combined with the heat produced during the refueling process started a chain reaction which ultimately destroyed the entire Reactor. No one saw this coming! The actual incident was reported only later when the residents of the areas which had the worst levels of contamination began to show symptoms of illness.
The actual accident itself was relatively small, but the aftermath caused by the accident was anything but minor. Over the following weeks and months the residents of the contaminated zones suffered from a variety of illnesses, including severe respiratory problems, eye and skin irritation, and became terribly anxious. The worst element of the whole situation was the fact that the workers were not even allowed to go home for several weeks as the contaminated zone was off-limits for anyone. The „Chernobyl disaster” is now infamous around the world as a major public health catastrophe.
To prevent a similar accident in future, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has enforced strict regulations covering the design and operation of emergency facilities. The radiation protection equipment used at the time of the accident has since been updated and improved, but it is not enough by any stretch of the imagination. The only safe level is still an evacuation chernobyl disaster – but this is something that can be achieved if the correct protocols are followed. By creating an exclusion zone, the IAEA has provided a lesson to those countries which do not follow their own safety regulations.
There is no need for anyone in northern Ukraine or the countries immediately surrounding it to ever experience a radiation disaster like the one which had befallen the residents of Chernobyl. The radiation levels emitted by nuclear energy are significantly lower than the levels released by the atom bomb dropped on Japan following World War II. There are no health risks whatsoever from spending time in the area, and furthermore the evacuation chernobyl plan has ensured that no people will ever again be exposed to traces of radiation from the nuclear reactor.
However, it is important to note that even if the evacuation chernobyl plan is entirely successful, there will still be a residual danger to people who are exposed to the radiation created by the power plant. This is because the reactors have continued to function at a low voltage and without maintenance for many years now. The radiation dose they emit still causes a residual damage which is more than compensated for by the fact that the amount of electricity generated by the plant is small. Over time, this residual damage can increase without fail causing an increasing risk to inhabitants of the area. Even so, the situation at the moment is being steadily stabilised with regular checks being carried out on the reactors and a reduced number of people being affected by radiation.
The Chernobyl accident was the largest peacetime disaster to strike Europe in over half a century. The disaster ended with a relatively small level of radiation and many more people escaped serious injury. However, thousands of people are still missing persons still living in contaminated areas of the Zone. In terms of numbers, the accident was much higher than the numbers recorded during the war, and still ranks as the world’s second largest peacetime nuclear incident.